Monday, February 20, 2017

Great Lent Fraction

The Great Fast

For those who celebrate the Coptic Rite, the Great Fast begins today.  I have attached the Gospel below for the Monday of the First Week of the Great Fast.

"And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! 
"Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 
"Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 
"And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven. 
"Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say."

-Saint Luke 12:4-12

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Wisdom of St. Paul

"Brethren, you gladly suffer the foolish: whereas yourselves are wise. For you suffer if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take from you, if a man be lifted up, if a man strike you on the face. I speak according to dishonor, as if we had been weak in this part. Wherein if any man dare (I speak foolishly), I dare also. They are Hebrews, so am I. They are Israelites, so am I. They are the seed of Abraham, so am I. They are the ministers of Christ (I speak as one less wise), I am more: in many more labors, in prisons more frequently, in stripes above measure, in deaths often.

Of the Jews five times did I receive forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I was in the depth of the sea: in journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils from my own nation, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils from false brethren: in labor and painfulness, in much watching, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness; besides those things which are without, my daily instance, the solicitude for all the Churches.

Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is scandalized, and I am not on fire? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things that concern my infirmity. The God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is blessed for ever, knoweth that I lie not. At Damascus the governor of the nation under Aretas the king, guarded the city of the Damascenes, to apprehend me: and through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and so escaped his hands. If I must glory (it is not expedient indeed) but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, whether in the body I know not, or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth, such a one caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man, whether in the body or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth: that he was caught up unto paradise, and heard secret words which it is not granted to man to utter.

For such a one I will glory: but for myself I will glory nothing but in my infirmities. For, though I should have a mind to glory, I shall not be foolish: for I will say the truth: but I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth in me, or anything he heareth from me. And lest the greatness of the revelations should exalt me, there was given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan, to buffet me. For which thing, thrice I besought the Lord that it might depart from me. And He said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee: for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me."

-Epistle for Sexagesima Sunday 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Such Glory and Such Magnificence

 "When we stood in the temple we hardly knew whether we were in heaven or on earth. For in truth it seems impossible to behold such glory and such magnificence on earth. We could not possibly relate to you what we saw in that place. But one thing we know, there God dwells among men, and all the worship of other countries is to us, forevermore, as nothing. We cannot forget that beauty which we saw. Whoever has enjoyed so sweet a sight will never be satisfied with anything else; nor will we consent to remain any longer in paganism as we are now.”

-The Russian Emissaries on their experience at the Hagia Sophia.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Way

"The impediment to action advances action.  What stands in the way becomes the way."

-Marcus Aurelius

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Thank you, Captain

"If just a few words were used to describe Alastair Cook in his role as England's captain, "honesty", "integrity" and "resolve" might lead the way. In this age of unflagging self-promotion, he has remained private and discreet, whispering not a word of his own journey or, more particularly, of the hurdles that have made it more difficult and emotionally draining than anyone on the outside could possibly imagine.
On a personal level, he keeps clear of social media, but the general noise is unavoidable and he has frequently been aghast at the vitriol pumped his way. During the early part of the summer of 2014, when his team was losing matches it should not have, the freewheeling and generally irresponsible criticism all but finished him off. Somehow he found the strength to carry on, displaying perhaps the most impressive of his abilities - where he rolls up his sleeves and gets on with the job."

-Mark Nicholas on Alastair Cook's legacy as England Captain

Cook might not have been the most successful skipper, however with him, you always felt like the club had a strong stoic leader who would perform his duties even in the face of great adversity.   

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Heart

"Notice the way in which Zacchaeus confessed his sin. He did not say: “Lord, I am a sinful man!”, or “Avarice is my sickness!” No; but, showing the fruits of repentance, he thus confessed his sin and his sickness: “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor.” is not this a clear confession that riches are his passion? “And if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” Is not this a clear confession that his riches were acquired in a sinful manner? He did not, before this, say to the Lord: “I am a sinner, and I repent.” He confessed this silently to the Lord in his heart, and the Lord silently received his confession and repentance.
It is of more importance to the Lord that a man acknowledge and confess his sickness and cry for help in his heart than with this tongue, for the tongue is capable of deception, but the heart is not."
-St. Nikolai Velimirovich