by Fr. Dmitri, New Zealand
Saturday 24 July 2010 (17 Epip; 17 Abib)
Olga (Helen) Princess of Russian (969AD)
That whosoever believeth in Him should not
perish, but have eternal life.
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart;
and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Do not desire a multitude of usless children; nor
rejoice in ungodly sons.
John the Baptist was a radiant light in the midst of
Judea, as it was said: "I have ordained a lamp for
mine anointed." Psa. 132:17
(Cyril the Great)
Jesus rises from the dead, in me only if the one who
I was ceases to exist, giving way to the new man.
(The Holy Psalmody)
A person eating, drinking, working, or even if he is
in deep sleep, his heart will enjoy the sweet aroma
(Isaac the Syrian)
He took the five loaves and the Two fish, and looking up to
heaven. He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the
disciples to set before the multitude.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
I will run the course of Your commandments.
For You shall enlarge my heart.
The choice is yours. Either you love the worldly things
and live with it. Or do not love it and live with God forever.
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
Always ask for the love of God for it is the completion
of the Commandments.
(The Spiritual Elder John Saba)
Faith is in no way a burden or a yoke imposed on human
beings. Far from it! Faith is an immense benefit because
it commences life in us even on this earth.
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the gift of
faith. Help us to remain firm in our faith throughout
our lives and to strive to increase it day by day.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:10)
This (say Augustine & Aquinas) is a summing-up of all the previous seven Beatitudes; and that is why the reward mentioned is the same as for the first one. A summing-up, because the seven Beatitudes are such a reversal of the world's standards that we must expect the world to give a rough time to those that practice them.
'He leads thee to a climax, He brings thee as far as martyrdom, and He fixes on that as the palm of all Blessedness.' (St. Ambrose)
St. Augustine pictures Jesus Christ as a Merchant:
"I have something for Sale!"
'What is it, O Lord?'
"The Kingdom of Heaven."
'How is it to be bought?'
"The Kingdom by poverty,
joy by sorrow,
rest by labor,
glory by wretchedness,
life by death!"
The Jews were sure that, once the Kingdom of God was established, they would suffer no more oppression. They would rule. If anybody was to be persecuted, it would be the wicked and Gentiles.
But Christ says: "Blessed are they that suffer persecution." Then He amplifies it and make it personal to His followers: "Blessed are ye when they shall revile you and persecute you and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven; for so they persecuted the Prophets that were before you."
Our Lord is loyal to His friends. If they work for Him and suffer for His sake He will see they do not lose by it. Persecution like war brings out many beautiful virtues - courage, perseverance, forgiveness. It raises ordinary virtue rapidly to heroic degree: the martyrs all canonized by their blood.
'If you be reproached for the name of Christ, you shall be Blessed.' (1 Peter 4:14)
We should offer ourselves for anything; as Our Lord did at the Last Supper, on the thresh-hold of His Passion.
To Thee be glory and praise, now and ever, unto Ages of Ages.
Evening: Psalm 68:25-26; Matt.26:6-13.
Morning: Psalm 8:2-3; John 14:15-24.
Liturgy: Ephes.5:8-21; 1 Peter 3:5-14; Acts 21:5-14;
Psalm 45:14-15; Gospel Matt.25:1-13.
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