by Fr. Dmitri, New Zealand
Saturday 12 December 2009 (3 Koiahk; 3 Kiahk)
Vigil of Sveti Andrej
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being Fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Col.1:10)
Joseph bought the Shroud 'the fine linen' (Mark 15:46) and Nicodemus came with the spices,' a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about 100lb.weight.'(John 19:39). 'Then took the body of Jesus and wound it up in linen with the spices.'( John 19:40). The Shroud remained in the Sepulcher as a witness to the Resurrection. Tradition has it that the Spices were used to make the first Holy Chrism. (Heguman Pishoy Kamel)
It is folly to abstain all day long from food, but not folly to abstain from sin and selfishness. (S. John Chrysostom)
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.' (Isa.30:21)
It is worthy to remember God more than the breath we take. (Gregory the Theologian) Accept these prayers from us, O our God, who hast descended to us. Accept the tears of sinners and show mercy to the guilty. (Ephraim the Syrian)
My Lord Jesus, here I keep the door of my palace open for Your Greatness.
Open the door of Your Mercy to me. (Anna Simon)
Living with wild birds is better than living with greedy people. (Isaac the Syrian)
My beloved children, do not be weary or bored from loving one another, but make this body that you are wearing, a censer in which you place all your evil thoughts and counsel. (Anthony the Great)
Strive unceasingly to be pleasing to God and ask Him to accomplish His will in you. Love Him with all your might: you owe Him a great deal.
God of Power and Might, let us do always the things that are pleasing to You. For You are our Greatest Benefactor and Sole Good. (John of the Cross)
A PLACE OF SAFETY:
But she was given two wings like those of a Great Eagle. This allowed her to fly to a place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be cared for and protected from the devil for a time, times and half a time. (Rev.12:14)
Before we look at the implications of this passage, let us consider something which could lead up to this. The Prophet Ezekiel warned of these times: "Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence."(Ezek.7:23)
Why is this so? No matter where in the World you look, it is the same. Never a day goes by in New Zealand that some crime or another has been committed and one of our cities is like unto Sodom & Gomorrah. People are turning their back on God and no longer make Him their habitation?
The young people are not being nurtured in the Faith. In some areas it is thought not politically correct to erect a Crib Scene in the town Centre.
Ezekiel again tells us that 'Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and their shall be none.'(Ezek.7:25). Let us look at peace efforts around the world, they are man made and not God centered. If they were God centered they would not fail. We are told that unless we turn to God in repentance, destruction comes! (Remember Sept.11,2001)
We are near the time when the Devil will have his way on Earth through the Man of Sin. But God has prepared a place of safety for His people. In Prophecy a "Woman" is generally symbolic of the Church, the symbolism of an Eagle means swiftness. If they did not move swiftly they would be caught in the flood that was sent after her by Satan. But in the wilderness water would not be able to follow, as it happened the Lord caused the earth to open up and swallow the flood.
The figure of Eagle Wings was familiar to God's ancient people. The deliverance from Egypt, Pharaoh and his hosts is referred to by this. (see Ex.19:4 and Deut.32:11). God cares for His own. Even though the Church is persecuted and driven into exile, the Lord nourishes it like He did with the Manna in the Wilderness.
During this time the Great False Church and the Anti-Christ hold sway as agents of the devil, who do their best to wipe out the Church. Satan's wrath knows no bounds as he knows he has but a short time and uses everything that he can to achieve his end. Beware of those in Sheep's clothing as they could be ravening wolves. 'Little Red Riding Hood' is a good analogy for this.
The True Church are those who keep the Commandments of God and uphold the Testimony of Jesus Christ, which is the Spirit of Prophecy. We are in an era of Great Apostasy where Paganism and Christianity has merged to form a sort of churchianity, If you do not follow the dictates of this regime you are out on your neck and could suffer other things as a result of it. In Matt.24:22, we are told the days were shortened for the Elect's sake.
However we must not be complacent, we must be on our guard at all times and put on the Whole Armor of God and ward off the fiery darts of Satan and be ready to flee to a Place of Safety at a moments notice.
To Thee be glory and praise, now and ever, unto Ages of Ages.
Evening: Psalm 86:3-7; Gospel Luke 10:38-42.
Morning: Psalm 47:1-2&9; Gospel Matt.12:35-42.
Liturgy: Heb.9:1-12; 2 John 1:1-13; Acts 1:1-14;
Psalm 44:13-14; Gospel Luke 1:39-56.
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