Posts Tagged ‘NB’

NB: Joseph the All-Comely, a type of Christ

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Holy Week Services: Holy Monday Matins

 

 

joseph-the-all-comely.jpg

 

 

Monday of Holy Week commemorates the blessed and Noble Joseph the All-Comely and the fig tree which was cursed and withered by the Lord.

 

Joseph is a type of Christ.  Cliff Notes Version about Joseph: [1]

 

 

Kontakion and Ikos Holy Monday Matins.

 

Tone 8:  Jacob lamented the loss of Joseph, /

but his righteous son was seated in a chariot and honored as a king.  /

For he was not enslaved to the pleasures of Egypt, /

but he was glorified by God who sees the hearts of men //

and bestows on them a crown incorruptible.

 

Ikos:   Let us now add our lamentation to the lamentation of Jacob, and let us weep with him for Joseph, his wise and glorious son who was enslaved in body but kept his soul free from bondage, and became lord over all Egypt.  For God grants unto his servants a crown incorruptible.

 

 

There are many parallels between Joseph and our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Joseph was a slave “in body”, and our Lord took on the form of a slave – humanity.

 

Joseph was sold into slavery because of the envy of his brothers for 20 pieces of silver –

Jesus the Savior was sold for thirty pieces of silver by his close confederate, the unworthy Apostle Judas, because of the envy of the Jewish rulers.

 

Joseph was cast in to a pit and later thrown into prison – our Lord Jesus Christ went into the gloomy pit of Hell to save imprisoned humanity.

 

Joseph did not complain about his lot, our Lord was silent in the face of His accusers.

 

Joseph was chaste when tempted by Potiphar’s wife, unlike the First Adam, who gave into temptation, and the Second Adam was perfectly sinless and showed us the way to perfect chastity.

 

Joseph became Lord over Egypt (which represents sin), and Jesus Christ is Lord over all of His human nature, making us capable of becoming Lords over our Egypt – our human nature.

 

Joseph was immersed in a land with many temptations (especially since he became the second greatest man in Egypt), an yet he remained chaste and good, and eventually saved all his people, and our Lord was immersed in many temptations, and did not sin once, and eventually made us capable of perfection.

 

He saved his people by feeding them bread in a time of famine. Jesus the Savior saves mankind, and feeds them with the bread of heaven – His body and blood.

 

 

 

“NB” is shorthand for “nota bene” ,which is Latin for “Note well”. These shorter posts are meant to be “noted well” more often because they are briefer than the usual blog posts. I have “noted well”  that many of my flock does do not read the longer posts. I have a lot of stuff to tell you, so there will still be longer posts, but I also plan to post shorter “snippets” which will have “NB:” in the title.

Priest Seraphim Holland 2010.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

This article is at: http://www.orthodox.net/journal/dailylent/holy-week-day-01_2010_03-29+joseph-the-all-comely-type-of-christ+holy-week-services-holy-monday-matins.doc

 

New Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

Journal Archive: http://www.orthodox.net/journal

 

Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church to join.

 

Redeeming the Time BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (seraphim@orthodox.net)

 



[1] The ”Cliff Notes” version of the story of Joseph. His story is told in Genesis. He was the penultimate of  Patriarch Jacob’s 12 sons, and his favorite. His father fashioned a “coat of many colors” for Joseph. This, in addition to Joseph telling his brothers about dreams that were not flattering to the brothers made them very envious.

 

One day, when out in the field, all the brothers  save Rueben (the eldest) and Benjamin, who was yet to be born, conspired to kill Joseph. Rueben suggested that instead they throw him into a pit, and wait to see what happened. He intended to come back later and rescue Joseph, in the meantime, Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt by some traders. The brothers killed a sheep, and put its blood on Joseph’s coat, which they had taken from him previously, and told their father that Joseph had been torn to pieces by a wild animal

 

He was in the employ of Potiphar, an important man in Egypt. Potiphar’s wife made many passes at Joseph, but he was chaste. One day, when Joseph was alone in the house, his wife grabbed him, and he fled away naked. She made up a story about his advances, and Joseph was thrown in prison. In prison, he interpreted the dream Pharaoh’s butler and baker, and his interpretation came true to the letter. The butler was restored to Pharaoh’s service, and the baker was executed. The butler had promised to bring Joseph’s case before Pharaoh, but forgot until Pharaoh  had a dream that none of his wise men could interpret. The butler then remembered Joseph, and he correctly interpreted the dream as prophesying seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine.

 

Pharaoh put Joseph over all of Egypt, in order to prepare for the famine. When the famine struck, Jacob sent his sons to get food in Egypt. Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not know him. After Benjamin also came to Egypt, much to the consternation of Jacob, Joseph made himself known to his brothers in an incredibly emotional scene. Soon thereafter, all of Jacob’s family moved to Egypt.

 

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NB: Just one resolution for Great Lent. Fasting and prayer

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Many people make some sort of resolution when they enter Great Lent. Usually it is something we have not done before, or perhaps done poorly. The one who has fasted poorly in the past may decide to keep the fast better – to not eat any meat or animal products, and some may even be zealous to keep the fast from oil and wine and fish. The one who keeps the fasts may be zealous to not eat anything at all for the first three days of Great Lent, or eat only one meal a day, which, according to the strict typikon, is “after the ninth hour” (about 3 in the afternoon).

In my pastoral experience, most people make some sort of fasting related resolution. I applaud their intentions, but sometimes their emphasis on fasting obscures for them the real purpose of the fast (it is not fasting!), and trying something that is beyond their spiritual and physical capabilities sets them up for failure, and sometimes, despair. Even if they succeed in their fasting goal, they miss out on improving themselves in more important ways.  Remember: Nobody is saved because of fasting (but those who are being saved fast).

 

There is only ONE important resolution to make for the Great Fast. It is mentioned (in so many words and images) constantly in our services. We will mention that one in a little bit.

 

It is very important to fast, especially for the one who has rarely fasted, but there are more pressing things. It would be better if a person prayed the Prayer of St Ephrem [1] with attention in the morning and the evening. How many think about fasting, and even buy cool new vegan food from the local yuppie grocery, and do not increase their prayer? This is more important. We need to become more regular at prayer, and pray with more attention. The prayer of St Ephrem is a great place to start.

 

Also, there are extra services in any serious parish during the fast [2], especially in Clean week and Holy week. If you are not in the habit of going to church except on Sunday, or sometimes on Saturday too, it would be better for your soul if you made the effort to change your habits and attend at least one of the extra services each week regularly. This is much more meaningful (and difficult!) for those who are not in the habit of so much “church prayer” than “not eating till 3”, or “trying to not use oil” during the week.

 

Great Lent is a time when we are trying to change the way we think, and act. We are trying to get less selfish.

 

Many people rarely or inconsistently pray for others. This is the perfect time to decide to give our supplications to God for our loved ones (and especially our not loved ones!), our family, friends, and our pastor. Praying for others is demanded in the scriptures. We must do it; we need to get very good at it. Our prayer will not be fruitless, even though it may be distracted and not seem to us to be very effectual. We are in training to not think of ourselves, and to love, truly love, others. Prayer with attention is the greatest expression of love.

 

How do we go about this is we are undisciplined in prayer? We must have two things – real honest desire (which will be shown by our effort) and a little planning and organization.

 

Get a notecard and write a few important names on it. You can also use the prayer list we publish and change frequently- it is here: http://docs.google.com/View?id=dzgvjb6_16f2pcdrhn.  

 

Do not try to be eloquent or lengthy. All you need do is pray “Lord have mercy” for (N)”; do this for each person. You may also pray the Jesus prayer for each person. This blog has written at length about intercessory prayer for others: here: “ Christian Life Skills: Praying for others. Praying for enemies. The Jesus Prayer. [3]

 

Of course, we should plan to fast from various foods, but in comparison to our prayer, it certainly must take second place. In fact, the scripture teaches that fasting is in order to increase our prayer [4], so merely fasting without making other changes is nonsensical from a spiritual point of view.

 

The Most important Resolution.

 

Above, it was said that “Great Lent is a time when we are trying to change the way we think, and act.” This should be our “resolution” during the Great Fast. If we need to have an actual resolution, let us have the one St Herman of Alaska [5] has taught us:

 

"For our good, for our happiness," … "at least let us give a vow to ourselves, that from this day, from this hour, from this minute, we shall strive above all else to love God and to do His Holy Will!"

 

 

 

“NB” is shorthand for “nota bene” ,which is Latin for “Note well”. These shorter posts are meant to be “noted well” more often because they are briefer than the usual blog posts. I have “noted well”  that many of my flock does do not read the longer posts. I have a lot of stuff to tell you, so there will still be longer posts, but I also plan to post shorter “snippets” which will have “NB:” in the title.

Priest Seraphim Holland 2010.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

This article is at: http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2010-02-18-just-one-resolution-for-great-lent-fasting-and-prayer.doc

And on our BLOG

 

New Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

Journal Archive: http://www.orthodox.net/journal

 

Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church to join.

 

Redeeming the Time BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (seraphim@orthodox.net)

 



[2] There are RARE exceptions, when a pastor is unable to support himself without a very inflexible job, and cannot serve services during the week, but for the most part, when you see a church with just weekend services, and even only Sunday services, you would be better off finding another one.

 

[4]  “Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” 1 Corinthians 7:5

 

“But I, when they troubled me, put on sackcloth, and humbled my soul with fasting: and my prayer shall return to my own bosom.” (Psalm 34 , Brenton Septuagint)

 

“And I set my face toward the Lord God, to seek him diligently by prayer and supplications, with fastings and sackcloth. “(Daniel 9:3  , Brenton Septuagint)

 

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NB:The Baptism of the Lord and the Legion

Friday, January 15th, 2010

“Of old the prince of this world was also called king of those in the waters; yet he is drowned by thy cleansing and cast down, as once was legion in the lake, O Savior; and by Thy mighty hand Thou hast vouchsafed liberation to the work of Thy hands, which was enslaved by him” (Canon at Compline, Jan 5, Eve of Theophany, Ode 6)

 

“And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.” (Mark 5:13)

 

Theophany (Baptism of the Lord) icon feasts-of-the-lord-theophany.jpg

Theophany is just around the corner (this coming Tuesday, Jan 6/19 2010) .

 

This sticheron shows that we can consider the drowning of the demons in the story of the demonic of the Gergesenes (or “Gadarenes”) to be a “type” (like a prophesy) of baptism.

 

The casting out of demons is part of the Orthodox baptism service.

 

Demons are real, and the effect of baptismal waters is real. Just as the sea drowned the Gergesenes demons, our baptismal water drowns our passions. In the former case, the effect was immediate, in our case, the drowning of our passions is begun with baptism, which gives us the ability to become holy, and completed only by our efforts and the grace of God.

 



“NB” is shorthand for “nota bene” ,which is Latin for “Note well”. These shorter posts are meant to be “noted well” more often because they are briefer than the usual blog posts. I have “noted well”  that many of my flock does do not read the longer posts. I have a lot of stuff to tell you, so there will still be longer posts, but I also plan to post shorter “snippets” which will have “NB:” in the title.

Priest Seraphim Holland 2010.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

This article is at: http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2010-01-15-baptism-of-the-lord-and-the-legion.doc


http://orthodox.net/redeemingthetime/2010/01/15/nb-baptism-of-the-lord-and-the-legion.html

New Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

Journal Archive: http://www.orthodox.net/journal

 

Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church to join.

 

Redeeming the Time BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (seraphim@orthodox.net)

 

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NB:“They departed into their own country another way.”

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Our encounter with the Nativity of Christ must change our way.

MATTHEW 2:12

Adoration of the Magi. From http://www.atelier-st-andre.net/en/pages/gallery/enicon13.html. Used with permission<br />
adoration-of-the-magi-www-atlier-st-andre-net.jpg And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. (Matthew 2:12)

 This scripture describes what we must do if there is to be a “nativity” in our hearts. As we celebrate the season of the Nativity of the Lord, we must also be continually having a nativity occurring in us. It is described in a previously commented upon hymn regarding the feast:

  Be glad, O human nature, thou barren desert, for the master hath come to make thee bear many children.

 For the event of our Lord’s nativity to have ANY personal meaning for us, our human nature must bear many children – it must give birth to many virtues. This begetting of children by us is the reason why our Lord became incarnate.

 This is only possible if we live according to the spiritual meaning of the historical event of the departure of the wise men; it is an imperative to our soul: we must live in “another” way. This way is published all over the Prophets, and especially in the Gospel. It is the way of truth, and light. This way is a difficult one, and not natural to us in the beginning. As we give birth to the virtues, they become easier for us to perform. Make no mistake – we must perform them. Today’s Epistle makes that plain enough:

 

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:17) [1]

 

 May God help us to live in “another way”, which He showed to us, taught us, and enabled us to perform.

 

 

“NB” is shorthand for “nota bene” ,which is Latin for “Note well”. These shorter posts are meant to be “noted well” more often because they are briefer than the usual blog posts. I have “noted well”  that many of my flock does do not read the longer posts. I have a lot of stuff to tell you, so there will still be longer posts, but I also plan to post shorter “snippets” which will have “NB:” in the title.

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2010.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

This article is at: http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2010-01-11-nb-they-departed-into-their-own-country-another-way+matthew2-12.doc

&

 

 

New Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

Journal Archive: http://www.orthodox.net/journal

 

Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church to join.

 

Redeeming the Time BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (seraphim@orthodox.net)

 



[1] From James 2:14-26, read on the 32nd Monday after Pentecost.

 

 

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NB:The barren desert will bear many children.

Friday, January 8th, 2010

Eve of Nativity

Christ cometh to be born, bestowing a strange regeneration upon the descendents of Adam, in that He is God. Be glad, O human nature, thou barren desert, for the master hath come to make thee bear many children. (Matins, Eve of Nativity, December 24, Canon, Ode I)

 

desert flowers http://www.desertusa.com/images/anza-113.jpgThe great power of the holy services of the church and especially the deeply theological and devotional content of matins is that it presents the important dogmas of our faith in startling and understandable ways. In every matins service, there is something that is too beautiful for words, and yet, the words being sung warm the soul and comfort it.

 

This sticheron above contains such words. A dogma of our faith is that Christ came so that human nature could change, be renewed, become holy. We know this (or should know this – many Christians do not understand this dogma), but in order for it to be completely active in us, we must experience it.

 

Here, the bearing of many children is used as a beautiful metaphor to sum up the entire good news of our salvation.

 

Human nature without God becoming man to change it is a “barren desert”. With the coming of the God-man, His teaching, example and His changing of human nature so that it can, if it chooses and desires, be completely changed into holiness and peace is represented by the exclamation ”the master hath come to make thee bear many children.”

 

These “children” are the virtues. They are the same virtues that our Lord Jesus Christ has, and that we are capable of obtaining.

 

The joy of a barren woman who has a child is profound. So is that of the barren soul which becomes clothed in the virtues. This is the real “nativity story”.



 

A comment to this post quoted the entire  35th chapter is Isaiah. Obviously, this sticheron is based on this passage. So, a little bit outside of the "letter of the law" regarding the "nota bene" posts) (all are meant to be short, so they are read more, and therfore more beneficial to our readers), here is that amazing chapter:

Be glad, thou thirsty desert: let the wilderness exult, and flower as the lily.  (2)  And the desert places of Jordan shall blossom and rejoice; the glory of Libanus has been given to it, and the honour of Carmel; and my people shall see the glory o the Lord, and the majesty of God.  (3)  Be strong, ye relaxed hands and palsied knees.  (4)  Comfort one another, ye fainthearted; be strong, fear not; behold, our God renders judgement, and he will render it; he will come and save us.  (5)  Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear.  (6)  Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the stammerers shall speak plainly; for water has burst forth in the desert, and a channel of water in a thirsty land.  (7)  And the dry land shall become pools, and a fountain of water shall be poured into the thirsty land; there shall there be a joy of birds, ready habitations and marshes.  (8)  There shall be there a pure way, and it shall be called a holy way; and there shall not pass by there any unclean person, neither shall there be there an unclean way; but the dispersed shall walk on it, and they shall not go astray.  (9)  And there shall be no lion there, neither shall any evil beast go up upon it, nor at all be found there; but the redeemed and gathered on the Lord’s behalf, shall walk in it,  (10)  (35:9B) and shall return, and come to Sion with joy, and everlasting joy shall be over their head; for on their head shall be praise and exultation, and joy shall take possession of them: sorrow and pain, and groaning have fled away. (Isa 35:1-10 Brenton Septuagint)
 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

New Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

Journal Archive: http://www.orthodox.net/journal

 

Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church to join.

 

Redeeming the Time BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (seraphim@orthodox.net)

 

 

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NB:The Dayspring from on high – a little about the Nativity Troparion

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, *

Hath shined upon the world the light of knowledge; *

for thereby, they that worshipped the stars *

were taught by a star *

to worship Thee, the Sun of Righteousness, *

and to know Thee, the Dayspring from on high. *

O Lord, glory be to Thee. (Nativity Troparion, Tone 4)

 

Adoration of the Magi, from http://www.iconsexplained.com/iec/lib/02892_adoration_of_the_magi_marice_sariola.jpg

“Dayspring” means a rising of light from the East.

 

The Persian wise men were astrologers. The star of Bethlehem (actually an angel) arose in the East and was seen by them in the West, in Persia (modern day Iran). They had been awaiting the fulfillment of Baalam’s prophesy:

 

“I will point to him, but not now; I bless him, but he draws not near: a star shall rise out of Jacob, a man shall spring out of Israel; and shall crush the princes of Moab, and shall spoil all the sons of Seth.” (Numbers 24:17 Brenton)

 

The East is associated with the Lord Jesus Christ, and in His second coming, He will appear from the East.

 Here “light” is referred to four  times, and refers to:

  1. Enlightenment              (“the light of knowledge”)
  2. The star of Bethlehem (“were taught by a star”)
  3. The Lord Jesus Christ  (“the Sun of Righteousness”)
  4. The Lord Jesus Christ  (“the Dayspring from on high”)

 

 

It would be entirely appropriate to sing or chant this troparion daily during the festal Nativity season (the Twelve days of Christmas).  If you cannot sing, just ask Jenny or Deacon Nicholas or even me to chant it for you. It is not so hard to learn! The Serbian melody for this troparion is particularly beautiful and easy to sing.

  

For a catechetical audio discussion on the Nativity Troparion and Kontakion, go here: http://www.orthodox.net/catechism/prayers-of-the-church_2008-01-08+nativity-of-the-savior,-troparion-and-kontakion.mp3

 

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NB: Interpreting the Nativity Icon.

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010


Nativity of the Savior from Iviron Monastery.  http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/nativity-savior-iviron-monastery-01.jpg

 

Ikons are not only “Windows to Heaven” – they also tell a story, if one understands the symbolism. A few things about the Nativity Ikon:

 


 

The Christ child is shown wrapped in a burial shroud from head to toe – NOT swaddling clothes! This reminds us that He was born in order to die for us.

 


In the lower left corner, Joseph is sometimes shown. He is being tempted by the Devil concerning Mary’s pregnancy:

 
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.  (19)  Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.”   (Mat 1:18-19)

 

An entire homily recently given (audio) was based mostly on this event


 

 

 

“NB” is shorthand for “nota bene” ,which is Latin for “Note well”. These shorter posts are meant to be “noted well” more often because they are briefer than the usual blog posts. I have “noted well”  that many of my flock does do not read the longer posts. I have a lot of stuff to tell you, so there will still be longer posts, but I also plan to post shorter “snippets” which will have “NB:” in the title.

 

 

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