Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal

Featured: St. Yeldho Mor Baselios

Volume 4 No. 240 October 3, 2014

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Yeldho Mor Baselios (St. Basil) of Kothamangalam, Patron Saint of Malankara World
Yeldho Mor Baselios (St. Basil) of Kothamangalam (1592-1684)
Patron Saint of Malankara World
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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1. Bible Readings for This Sunday (October 5)

Bible Readings For the 3rd Sunday After Sleebo Feast

http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Lectionary/Lec_3rd_sunday-after-sleebo.htm

2. Sermons for This Sunday (October 5)

Sermons For the 3rd Sunday After Sleebo Feast

http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_3rd-sunday-after-Sleebo.htm

3. Inspiration for Today

"Forget about the wrong things people do to you, and do not try to get even. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the Lord." ...

4. Lectionary Feature: The Lord of Sabbath

I would like you to see the vast difference between being religious and being spiritual. To be religious is to be like the Pharisees. Religious people seem to be very petty about all kinds of small things. There is something repulsive about religious people because they are always behaving in terms of not breaking this law and not breaking that law. It seems that you are always displeasing God whether you go in one direction or another. ...

5. Featured: St. Baselios Yeldo, our Patron Saint

St. Baseliose Yeldho, who is entombed at Kothamangalam Mor Thoman Cheriapally in Kerala, India is the Patron Saint of Malankara World. Dhukrono of this Saint is celebrated on Friday, October 3 this year. Here is a short bio of this popular saint. ...

6. Pope Francis: The Communion of Saints Is a 'Solidarity Between Heaven and Earth'

Through the communion of saints we experience a solidarity between heaven and earth in our intercessory prayer, Pope Francis said in one of his catechesis. ...

7. Love Above All - The Most Important Requirement for Saints And Disciples

Love for Christ knows no bounds, neither does love for your neighbor. It should extend everywhere, to the ends of the earth. Everywhere, to everyone. ...

8. You're Not Awesome but Jesus Is

When it comes to what makes someone awesome - which means, inspiring an overwhelming feeling of awe-inducing reverence, admiration, or fear - you don't have it. No one does. There is nothing you've ever possessed or accomplished that made God think, "How impressive!" And God sees you as you really are. Not the self-important, self-focused, inflated ego version of yourself, but the real you in all of your un-awesomeness. ...

9. Inspirational: You Are A Gift Worth Sharing

People who deliver every action and word with enthusiasm, passion and purpose all have one thing in common: They've clearly defined the purpose of their lives.

In knowing their purpose (I often call their purpose their "why" ... why they go to work, why they volunteer, why they cook for their spouse), they have a compass guiding them to take actions, speak words and do deeds that boldly move them toward their life's mission. ...

10. Health - Meditation: Healing the Scars from Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, PTSD and More

As a young adult I discovered meditation. It was my passage out of a deep depression and emotional despair, and I'm here to recommend it as a powerful and effective solution if you cannot get out of the mental patterns that keep you stuck, feeling a victim of past trauma.

Meditation was and still is a vital therapy for my continued survival and healing from a life of child abuse and domestic violence. I still practice it every day, having begun more than 38 years ago. ...

11. Family Special: Forgiving Each Other - The Acid Relief

Marriage was designed by God to be the union of two forgivers who have been forgiven. ...

12. Feast of Saint Yeldho Mor Baselios in Cleveland, Ohio

All faithful are invited to attend the feast of our saint, Saint Yeldho Mor Baselios (Kanni Perunnal) on Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 10:00AM. ...

13. About Malankara World

This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for This Sunday (October 5)
Sermons for This Sunday (October 5)
This Week's Features

Inspiration for Today
"Forget about the wrong things people do to you, and do not try to get even. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the Lord."
Leviticus 19:18 NCV

Some people see the negative in people, and let everyone know how how they feel. Some people bottle up their anger or disappointment. Either way, it's destructive. Let the Holy Spirit give you peace and patience so you can love people as He loves us!
Mike Huckabee

Lectionary Feature: The Lord of Sabbath

By Yves I-Bing Cheng, M.D., M.A.

Gospel: Matthew 12:1-8

Today, I would like us to fix our eyes on the Glory of the Lord Jesus. We want to fix our eyes on Him and pray that God will help us to see some measure of that glory. We want to learn to enter into a deep fellowship with the Lord Jesus so that we can see more of that divine glory.

The Glory of Christ

And for this, let's turn to Matthew 12:1-8. As I read this passage, just fix your eyes on the Lord Jesus and think about what you can see of that glory. Matthew 12:1-8.

Matthew 12:1.

At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath through the grain fields, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat.
2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, "Behold, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath."
3 But He said to them, "Have you not read what David did, when he became hungry, he and his companions;
4 how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those with him, but for the priests alone?
5 "Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath, and are innocent?
6 "But I say to you, that something greater than the temple is here.
7 "But if you had known what this means, 'I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent.
8 "For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

In this beautiful passage, we find that it begins with Jesus walking through the grain fields. The disciples were hungry and they took some of the grain of the corns. They plucked the heads of grain, rubbed the grain in their hands, blew away the chaff, and ate the grain. We saw in a previous lesson that in doing so, the disciples were perfectly within the bound of the law. They were not doing anything sinful.

But, it was a Sabbath day. And the Pharisees were there. They said, 'Look at your disciples. They are doing something that is against the law.' Eating is not the problem. The problem is about reaping the grain. Because it is work. And you are not supposed to work on the Sabbath. That was the charge of the Pharisees.

The Religious Person

I would like you to see the vast difference between being religious and being spiritual. To be religious is to be like the Pharisees. Religious people seem to be very petty about all kinds of small things. There is something repulsive about religious people because they are always behaving in terms of not breaking this law and not breaking that law. It seems that you are always displeasing God whether you go in one direction or another.

So one of the traits of the religious person is the negativeness. Everything is 'don't do this' and 'don't do that.' One has the impression that the religious person is always in bondage. His life is defined by the restrictions that he has or that he puts on himself. He is always on the defensive, fearing that he would pollute himself in some way or other. And so, everywhere he goes, he has to move in small circles because anything outside of that circle would be breaking the law.

It is a life that is so tiring. That's not the kind of life that God wants us to have. The Lord Jesus said, Come to Me … and I will give you rest. When you fellowship with a spiritual man, you sense that he is relaxed, spiritually relaxed. That he has freedom and power. That his soul is at rest in his relationship with Christ.

The Freedom of The Christian

And this brings about another element. The religious person always gives the impression that he has no great enjoyment in life, that he doesn't enjoy life very much. Life is a burden. He has to be constantly so careful about not breaking this law or that law. Paul says that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. I'm sure that if you had fellowship with Paul, you would feel in this man a great sense of freedom and liberation.

And it is the same with Jesus. When you look at Jesus, do you see in Him a sense of freedom as He moves through the fields and through the villages? Very often, He was involved with people and in situations that were considered as unclean by religious people. One amazing thing about Jesus is that wherever He advanced, the darkness retreated. He was not on the defensive against darkness. He advanced into the darkness and the darkness left.

Glory and Power

We can learn to do the same thing when we are in close and deep fellowship with Jesus. That is why in Acts, we see that the people took knowledge of the apostles, these ordinary fishermen. They were different because they have been with Jesus and their lives have been completely transformed. Their lives struck even the Sanhedrin, these learned Bible scholars, as something very unusual. This transformation happened because the disciples learned to commune with Jesus. That's what made the difference.

Now, we are expected to do the same thing. A Christian should be able to go to a place, wherever that is, and make the whole place different by his very presence. You are not constantly defending yourself from being crushed by the world. On the contrary, your life should shine with such power that it goes out and conquers the others for Christ. That's the power that is available when we carry the name of Jesus.

Now you cannot talk about power without talking about glory. Power and glory are closely related. Listen to this relationship. As a Christian, you will have power when you show forth the glory of Christ. I repeat. You will have spiritual power when you show forth the glory of Christ.

In this passage, there are three things that point directly to the glory of Christ. And I would like to show you, one by one, where we see them and in what way they speak of the glory of Christ. When the Pharisees condemned the disciples of Jesus, the first thing that the Lord Jesus says in v. 3 is this: …Have you not read what David did, when he became hungry, he and his companions…

Jesus and David

This incident about David and his men eating the showbread, the consecrated bread which is lawful only for the priests to eat, you can read it in the Bible in 1Samuel 21. Now, the point of quoting this passage has a purpose. It provides the basis of a comparison between Christ with David, and us with the disciples. For what is permitted to David, it does not automatically follow that it is permitted to us. Just because David could do it without being punished doesn't mean that anybody can do it.

Remember what was happening at that particular time in 1Samuel 21. David has been anointed by God as king of Israel. But he was not the king yet. Saul was still the king. However, God has rejected Saul as king. Because of his disobedience to God, God had to put Saul aside. It was a period of transition in the leadership of Israel. And so, in replacement of Saul, David was now appointed and anointed as king of Israel.

But at this point, he was only a refugee and an outcast. He was hiding in the mountains and in the caves because Saul and his army were looking for him with the intention of killing him. Before God was going to make David the true king of Israel, He was going to put him through many years of suffering in mountains and caves. And it was at this time that David wrote many psalms, psalms written in the midst of suffering.

Jesus, David's Lord

Now notice the comparison between David and Christ. At this time, David was a refugee in the mountains. At the time when Jesus was on earth, He was preaching the good news of salvation but the world does not recognize Him. The Lord Jesus is as it were an outcast, despised and rejected by men. The Lord Jesus is also God's anointed, despised and rejected by men. And just as Saul's men were looking everywhere for David to persecute him, to kill him if possible, so here we find that the Pharisees were doing the same thing. Anywhere Jesus goes, they are behind Him, looking for an opportunity to kill Him. And in the end, they did. And so, the comparison is this. Just as David was going about the task of establishing a new reign in Israel, so now Jesus is going about establishing a new kingdom, the kingdom of God. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:17).

There we see the beauty of this parallel between the Lord Jesus and David. But there is a difference. Jesus is not David. Jesus is David's Lord, and therefore He is greater than David. Many times in the OT, you will find that David is spoken of as a messianic title. It is not referring to the David in history, but to a David who will come later on. For example, you will notice that the prophet Ezekiel is speaking about David in chapter 34. How can he still be speaking about David when David has died and gone already? Well, because the prophet is speaking about another David, a greater David, the messianic David, who will establish a kingdom that will last forever. That is why the Lord Jesus can quote this passage and apply it to Himself and His disciples. He is showing that He is fulfilling a prophecy of the prophets. And He is also showing that God's anointed ones and those who fear Him are found to be blameless when they have their needs met even by using the bread of the altar.

Greater Than The Temple

So the first point that demonstrates the glory of Jesus is the fact that Jesus is David's Lord. The second point is even more explicit. It is the fact that Jesus is the Lord of the temple. This is the next thing that He says in this passage. Matthew 12:6

Matthew 12:6.
But I say to you, that something greater than the temple is here.

Notice this interesting word. The Lord Jesus says 'something greater', not 'someone greater' than the temple is here. In the Greek text, this one thing is a neuter. What is this 'something' that is greater than the temple? Some commentators will say that Jesus Himself was greater than the temple and they will prefer the translation that the New King James Version offers, …there is One (with a capital O) greater than the temple, the word 'One' obviously referring to the Lord Jesus.

Now, that is quite true, but not accurate enough. In expounding the Bible, it is important for us to be very accurate otherwise we might miss some important points that God wants to tell us in His Word. The Greek language of course has a masculine. If the Bible wanted to say that Jesus' person was greater, then it would have used the masculine, not a neuter. If the neuter is used here, we have to look for the reason. Here the Lord Jesus is referring to something very specific. The reason why He wants to use the neuter is because He is referring to His own body. You see, in the Greek, the word for 'body' is a neuter. And in John 2:19, the Lord Jesus speaks about His own body as the temple. He says, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Two verses later, we read the explanation that He was speaking about the temple of His body. Jesus' body was going to be crucified but on the third day, He will raise from the dead.

Something is greater than the temple. The temple was at the center of Israel's religious activity. It was a place of atonement and reconciliation. And Jesus makes this striking statement, that He is greater than the temple. How can that be? Because all the blood of bulls and goats inside the temple could never atone for the sins of man. That's what Hebrews 10 tells us. …every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices (Hebrews 10:11)… but it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). But now, the Lord Jesus, with His own blood in this temple, takes the sins of man. Hebrews 10:10 tells us that By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ one for all. That is why Jesus is greater than the temple. That is why Jesus is the Lord of the temple.

Lord of the Sabbath

So Jesus is David's Lord. Jesus is the Lord of the temple. And the third thing, we read it in v. 8. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. He is greater than the Sabbath. Now think about it. This is a staggering statement to make. Because it implies that He is greater than the law since the Sabbath is part of the law. Who can be lord of the law?

What is revealed here is that Jesus is Lord in the sense that He is the lawgiver. Nobody else can be Lord of God's law unless He is God Himself. And this is exactly what we see in the Sermon on the Mount. We read several times, It was said to you before, but now I say to you. Only Jesus could say that. Because He is God, He can say it with the same authority than the One who gave the law.

The Son of Man is Lord. He is the Lord of David. He is the Lord of the temple. He is the Lord of the Sabbath. Do you see the glory of Jesus in this passage? The world doesn't see it. The world does not recognize Jesus as Lord, just as David was not being acknowledged though he was anointed king of Israel at that time. But one day, David became king of Israel. And the day is not too far when the Lord Jesus will be Lord in this world too. One day, the Bible tells us, every knee in this world is going to bow to Jesus.

This process has already started. And we, as the disciples of Jesus, play a key role in this process. Because if you are truly a servant of the King of kings and of the Lord of lords, even the worldly person will see and notice it. You carry on your person a certain strange fragrance from heaven, a certain strange majesty and glory, strange in the eyes of the world. And this is what draws people.

As I said earlier in this message, people took knowledge of these simple men who were with Jesus. They noticed that there was something about Jesus in these fishermen. And this fragrance from heaven comes from communing with Jesus. Here we need to know what it means to commune with Him in spirit. And I will conclude this lesson with this topic.

Learning to Commune With God

We can define four kinds of contact with people. There is a physical contact. When you shake hand with someone, you have a physical contact with that person. There is also a mental contact. You have a mental contact, for example, if you are discussing something with somebody. Then there is an emotional contact. When you share the same emotions as your spouse or your best friend, you have an emotional contact with him or her. So there is a physical contact. There is a mental contact. There is an emotional contact. But there is also a spiritual contact. Do you know what it means to have a spiritual contact? This is where we go blank.

When a child first grows up, he is mostly physical. The most immediate need that he has is food. But gradually, as he grows up, we see a change. He looks at his fingers, he recognizes people, he laughs when you laugh. And as he goes on, he becomes more and more sophisticated.

It is the same with spiritual activity. When we are born again, when we have the life of Christ coming into our soul, we begin to have spiritual activity. We begin to communicate with God. Of course, don't expect to make a speech to God. Our communication with God is a very elementary one at the beginning. At first, it sounds more like noises. But then, you are able to say a few words. If you can just say, 'Abba, Father', I tell you, in God's ears, it sounds so beautiful. It's like the baby who says 'mommy' or 'daddy' for the first time. Spiritual activity is about what comes straight from the heart to God. When you commune with God, you don't have to make a long speech. Just say something from your heart to God, even if it is only one word that comes from the depth of your heart.

Without being too dogmatic about it, we can say that physical contact has to do with my body. Mental contact has to do with my mind. Emotional contact has to do with my heart. Spiritual contact has to do with my spirit. When we pray to God, these four kinds of contact can be active at the same time. But I think that the most active one should be the spirit.

Praying With the Spirit

Paul says in 1Corinthians 14:15, … I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also … Notice that the difference between praying with the spirit and praying with the mind is clearly stated. These are two different things. Do you know when you are praying with the mind and when you are praying in the spirit? We tend to pray only with the mind because our spirit is undeveloped. Like the baby's undeveloped mind, our spirit is very undeveloped. And so we make incoherent spiritual sounds. And from there, as we advance more and more spiritually, we begin to say words and sentences that make sense. We are able to communicate with God at a much deeper level.

And when you learn to communicate with God in spirit, you will also learn to receive His response. There are things of God that you might not understand at this moment. But as you go on, as you commune with Him, God begins to make more and more sense to you. So the key to a sweet fellowship with God is to learn to pray in spirit.

And as you commune with God in this way, God will empower you with His righteousness. People will begin to see the beauty, the majesty and the glory of Christ in you. And when they see that, our hope is that they will come to acknowledge that Jesus is the Lord of lords and the King of kings.

Source: meetingwithchrist.com

Featured: St. Baselios Yeldo, our Patron Saint
St. Baseliose Yeldho, who is entombed at Kothamangalam Mor Thoman Cheriapally in Kerala, India is the Patron Saint of Malankara World. Dhukrono of this Saint is celebrated on Friday, October 3 this year. Here is a short bio of this popular saint.

Tomb of St. Baselios Yeldho at Kothamangalam
Saint's Tomb at Kothamangalam Cheria Pally

Maphriyono Mor Baselios Yeldo was born at Karakosh near Mosul in Iraq. He become a monk in Mor Bahnan monastery in Mosul. The saint came to India via Basra to Surat, after consecration as Maphrian (Catholicos / Maphriyono) by the Patriarch Mor Ignatius Abdul Messiah I, arriving at Thalassery in North Kerala, then by hill route to Kothamangalam in AD 1685 at the request of Marthoma II of Malankara Church.

There are several stories of the miracles that happened during the saint's hazardous trip to Kothamangalam. This was the time of extreme persecution by the Portuguese; so they had to be vary careful. Portuguese have already said to have murdered a Patriarch. So, for their safety, the saint travelled from Thalassery to Tamil Nadu and then travelled westward to Kerala.

He said to have saved several villagers from heavy flood at Pallivasal near Munnar.

From there the saint, accompanied by the Episcopo Ivanios, came to Kozhippilli village near Kothamangalam. When they realized that they had reached populated areas, Bava decided that it was unwise for both to travel together any further. He asked the Episcopo to climb a tree and hide himself while the Saint proceeded on foot. He eventually reached the banks of Kothamangalam river at Chakkalakudy. He saw a Nair (Hindu) man tending cattle there. Through symbols they communicated and the man conveyed to Bava that there was a Church nearby.

Bava asked him to show the way to the church. The man expressed his inability to do so since he could not abandon the cattle. The Saint is said to have taken his walking stick and drew a big circle on the ground. Then he asked the man to take all the cattle into that circle and told him that they will save safe inside the circle. The Hindu man realized that Mor Baselios Yeldho was a man of God. The man's sister was at that time in severe labor pains. He told the Bava about this. The Saint asked him for some water. The man thought that he was asking for water to drink. He tried to climb a coconut tree nearby. The coconut tree is said to bend so he could pick the coconuts easily without climbing!

The man is said to have taken two tender coconuts from the tree and gave them to the Saint. The Saint blessed one of the tender coconuts and asked him to rush home and give it to his sister. Bava waited for him there. After about one hour, the man returned with the good news that his sister had given birth to a boy. He also noticed that all this time, the cattle haven't strayed out of the circle drawn by the saint.

The Hindu man gladly accompanied the Saint to the Kothamangalam church. To this day, during the perunnal celebrations in Kothamangalam, the rasa (procession) is led by the descendants of the Hindu family.


Kothamangalam Cheria Pally Ready for the Kanni Perunnal

The saint reached the church premises on 'Kanni 11th' in the Malayalam calendar (end of September), AD 1685. It is believed that the church bells began to toll when the saint arrived at the church.

On the feast of the Holy Cross, ('Kanni 14' as per the Malayalam calendar), Episcopo Mor Ivanios Hidayatulla was consecrated as Metropolitan after the Qurbono by Mor Baselios Yeldho Bava. Because of the tedious journey and the old age, Bava was totally exhausted by then. Three days later he became seriously ill. On Kanni 17th, he received the last sacraments of anointment with oil and extreme unction.

On Saturday, Kanni 19 (September 29) in the afternoon, the saintly father left his mortal self for his heavenly home at the ripe age of 92. The huge granite Cross on the west side of the church miraculously lit up at the time of the Saint's demise. The saint's mortal remains were entombed on the next day (Kanni 20) in the western side of the Madbho of the Kothamangalam church.

Though the Holy Father had lived in Malankara for only a few days,his name has spread far and wide leaving a lasting mark in the history of Malankara Syrian Church.

Kothamangalam St Baselios Feast Rasa

Kothamangalam St Baselios Feast

Procession during the Dhukrono of the Saint at Kothamangalam

Dhukrono of St. Baselios Yeldho Bava is celebrated in the Mor Thoma Cheriapally with spiritual grandeur every year on October 2 and 3 and this feast is popularly known as 'Kanni 20 perunnal'. Fulfilling the wishes of multitude of faithful, the Holy Church in 1987 included the name of the holy father in the 5th Tubden (Holy diptych).

Source: St. Basil's Syriac Orthodox Church, Ohio (Baselios.org) and Jacobite Syrian Church

Pope Francis: The Communion of Saints Is a 'Solidarity Between Heaven and Earth'
Through the communion of saints we experience a solidarity between heaven and earth in our intercessory prayer, Pope Francis said in one of his catechesis.

The Pope began his catechesis by explaining the meaning of the expression of the "communion of saints", saying that it relates both to the communion with holy things and the communion among holy persons. Choosing to reflect on the second aspect of this expression, the Holy Father stated that no one is alone but, rather, there exists a communion of life between all who belong to Christ.

"A communion that is born of faith; in fact, the term "saint" refers to those who believe in the Lord Jesus and are incorporated to Him in the Church through Baptism," the Pope said. Speaking on the Gospel of John, which relates Jesus' prayer that his disciples "may be one, just as your are in me and I am in You", the Pope said that Christ explains the profound bond that exists between God and the Church.

"The Church, in its most profound truth, is a communion with God," the Pope explained. "This relation between Jesus and the Father is the "matrix" of the bond between us Christians: if we are intimately inserted in this "matrix", in this fiery furnace of love that is the Trinity, then we can become truly one heart and one soul, because the love of God purges our selfishness, our prejudices, our internal and external divisions."

The Pope went on to say that this fraternal communion among Christians, rooted in the love of God, leads to the individual communion with God. This second aspect of the communion of saints is fundamental, the Pope stressed, saying that our faith needs the support of others, particularly in life's most difficult moments.

"How beautiful it is to sustain one another in the wonderful adventure of the faith!" the Pope exclaimed. "I say this because the tendency to close oneself in private has influenced even the religious sphere, thus many times it is hard to seek spiritual help from those who share with us the Christian experience."

Pope Francis told the crowd that within the communion of saints exists a great family where each one helps and sustains the other.

A final aspect of the communion of saints, he continued, is the spiritual bond that exists between those who continue their pilgrimage on earth and those who have passed the threshold of death into eternity.

"All who are baptized down here on earth, the souls of Purgatory and all the blessed already in Paradise form one big Family," Pope Francis said. "This communion between heaven and earth is realized especially through the intercessory prayer," he concluded, calling it the "highest form of solidarity."

Source: Zenit

Love Above All - The Most Important Requirement for Saints And Disciples
Love for Christ knows no bounds, neither does love for your neighbor. It should extend everywhere, to the ends of the earth. Everywhere, to everyone.

Let me give you an example. There was a monk who had two disciples. He tried very hard to bring them up to scratch and make them better. But he was worried about whether they were really making any progress in the spiritual life, if they were making headway, and if they were ready for the kingdom of God. He waited for a sign from God about this, but did not get an answer. One day, there was going to be a vigil in another skete that was a good few hours away from theirs. They'd have to make their way through the desert. He sent his disciples off early, so that they'd get there early and get the church ready, while the Elder himself was to leave later in the afternoon. The disciples were well on their way when suddenly they heard groaning. There was a man there, badly hurt and asking for help;

- Take me with you, please. I'm stuck out here in the desert. Nobody ever comes by. I'll never get any help. There's two of you. Pick me up and carry me to the nearest village.
- We cannot. We're in a hurry to get to the vigil. We've been told to get it ready.
- Please! Take me with you. If you do not, I'll die and get eaten by wild animals.
- We cannot. Sorry, but we have to do what we've been told.

And they left. In the afternoon, the Elder left for the vigil. He went along the same path. He got to the place where the injured man was lying.

He saw him, went up to him and said:

- What's the matter, man of God? What is it? How long have you been here? Did not anybody see you?
- This morning a couple of monks came by and I asked them to help me, but they were in a hurry to get to a vigil.
- I'll take you. Do not worry.
- You cannot. You're an old man. You cannot lift me. No way!
- No, I'll take you. I cannot leave you.
- But you cannot lift me '
- I'll bend over and lift you on top of me. It'll take time, but I'll get to the nearest village. A little bit today, a little bit tomorrow, but I'll get you there.

So he lifted him, difficult though it was, and started to trudge through the sand. He was sweating freely and thought: 'Even if it takes three days, I'll get there'. As he was tramping along, he began to feel that the burden was becoming lighter, and then, at one point, he seemed not to be carrying anything at all. He turned his head to see what was going on and, to his amazement, saw he was carrying an angel.

The angel said to him:

- God sent me to tell you that your two disciples do not deserve to enter the kingdom of God, because they do not have any love.

Source: AgiaZoni, Periodical of the Church of the Holy Girdle, Patisia, vol. 19, 2010; Pemptousia.com

Courtesy of: Spiritual Help Devotional - Rev. Fr. John Brian

You're Not Awesome but Jesus Is

by Doug Ponder

Everyone Is Awesome?

According to several national surveys, Millennials are more than twice as likely as previous generations to rate themselves as "gifted," "special," "talented," and "likely to change the world" - despite the reality that Millennials score the same (and sometimes worse) than previous generations in several areas, even after accounting for testing differences and other known biases.

Much has been made of these surveys. Perhaps this is just what youthful arrogance looks like in every generation. Or perhaps Millennials really are overly self-confident. Who knows?

What I do know is this: you're not awesome, but Jesus is.

That's the message that everyone, whether eighteen or eighty-five, desperately needs to believe and remember and feel in the depths of their soul. It's so important that you ought to consider tattooing it on your arms. You should make it the background on your smart phone. You could adopt two dogs and name them, "You're Not Awesome" and "But Jesus Is," respectively. Whatever you do, just find some way to get that message into your skull and pray that it sinks into your heart.

Why You're Not Awesome

When it comes to what makes someone awesome - which means, inspiring an overwhelming feeling of awe-inducing reverence, admiration, or fear - you don't have it. No one does. There is nothing you've ever possessed or accomplished that made God think, "How impressive!" And God sees you as you really are. Not the self-important, self-focused, inflated ego version of yourself, but the real you in all of your un-awesomeness.

Our un-awesomeness should be blatantly apparent. Indeed, the world is full of problems that we have created. And when it comes to our own lives, we are better are messing up things than we are at fixing them. Even the smartest, handsomest, strongest, and most influential human beings are woefully, embarrassingly, and thoroughly un-awesome. Just minutes spent with anyone will show this.

Yet when faced with our un-awesomeness, what do we do?We keep telling each other how great we are. We even tell ourselves how amazing we are: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!" We have become our own parodies.

The internet is littered with graphics, quotes, and pithy sayings telling us how great we are, as if our problems can be fixed with a little "self-esteem." What we fail to realize is that this course of action is precisely what got us into this mess in the first place.

It was the decision to be awesome - to become like God (Gen. 3:5) - that brought about the current, miserable state of affairs. This is why self-centered flattery and praise, even when it is offered to us by others, will never make us well. We cannot make ourselves better simply by telling ourselves how great we are. That is, in fact, a recipe for making already un-awesome people a whole lot worse.

The One Who Is Awesome

Jesus is the only way out of our spiral of death, in which we feel our un-awesomeness, and then despair and try to cover it up with self-defeating flattery and praise.

That is because the message of the Bible is essentially this: you are not awesome, in any way or shape or form, but Jesus is. His undeserved love, his complete justice, his perfect obedience, his tender compassion, his utter hatred of evil, and his radical commitment to your good is truly awesome. And, amazingly, Jesus' love for us, and his willingness to forgive us, cleanse us, and reunite to the God we have turned away from, is not based on anything that we possess or earn or accomplish. It is offered to us freely as a gift (Rom. 6:23).

Don't you see what this means?

How well you sing doesn't matter.
How good you look…
How many friends/followers you have on social media…
Your relationship status…
Your intelligence (or lack thereof)…
Your successful Etsy account…
Your urban garden and its organic produce…

None of these ultimately matter.

Those things don't make you awesome if you have them or do them well. God is not impressed with any of it, and we shouldn't be either. And here's why this is such good news: since having certain things or doing certain things can never impress God, then we have nowhere to turn except to the one who earned God's approval for us. That's the point of the gospel. We're not awesome, but Jesus is.

Those who believe this are set free from the otherwise never-ending desire to justify yourself in the eyes of others. "What will they think of me? Would they like me? Would I be accepted? What will I think of myself?" All those questions melt to nothingness when who Jesus is and what he has done for you is clearly seen and embraced with the heart of faith. You are loved. You are forgiven. You are clean. You are a child of God. It's all true - not because you are awesome, but because Jesus is and it was his pleasure to lay down his life in order to save thoroughly un-awesome people (Rom. 5:8).

About The Author:

Doug Ponder has contributed to several published works and is the author of 'Rethink Marriage & Family'. His interests include the intersection of theology, ethics, and the Christian life.

Note: The Pew Research Center defines "Millennials" as anyone born since 1980, with some sociologists saying the end point for Millennial births is somewhere between 1995 and 2000.

Inspirational: You Are A Gift Worth Sharing

by John O'Leary, www.RisingAbove.com

Have you ever been with someone so passionate about life that it's contagious?

Have you ever met someone so fired up about what they do, what they say and who they are that it actually ignites you, too?

You've likely experienced this in the nurse who gave you astounding care, the teacher who gave your child extra attention during a difficult time or the volunteer who makes giving of self look effortless.

My friend, there is no secret code in their DNA that makes them more passionate then the rest of us. Today, I challenge you to own the truth that you can live with contagious passion too.

Let me explain.

People who deliver every action and word with enthusiasm, passion and purpose all have one thing in common: They've clearly defined the purpose of their lives.

In knowing their purpose (I often call their purpose their "why" ... why they go to work, why they volunteer, why they cook for their spouse), they have a compass guiding them to take actions, speak words and do deeds that boldly move them toward their life's mission.

This fall I met a person like this. Today, I am sharing her story as a reflection for the Rising Above community as we dive further into our topic for December: Living the holiday season with the end in mind and focusing on living real, authentic success each day [read my blog that kicked off this topic here].

Sarah Endline is the "Chief Rioter" at sweetriot, a New York City chocolate company. She and I met this fall at an event I spoke at and from our brief time together, I was taken by the clarity with which she lives her life and manages her business.

Sarah grew up next to a cornfield in a small Michigan town, she has travelled the world singing, working and volunteering, she has worked for Yahoo!, Microsoft and the World Bank. Through these experiences Sarah got clear on a number of her priorities in life and, in doing so, created a business around these priorities that allow her to do the work that she "loves best" each day. Here are a few of her priorities:

Sarah has a passion for cacao and it's rich flavor, story and history rooted in Latin America Sarah is committed to being socially responsible in life and in business.
Sarah wants to create a more just world for all; she empower others to do the same through her products.
Sarah believes that companies are really just the people who work there - and it is the unique character of those people that will make the company successful.

In hearing Sarah's story today, I challenge you to ask yourself: What are my actions creating today? Am I creating a life in which I can give of myself each day? How am I impacting the world? Sharing history? Letting others express themselves in my company, on my team and in my family so that we can reach greater success together?

The gift of that possibility awaits you today. Open yours now. 

Health - Meditation: Healing the Scars from Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, PTSD and More

By Tom North, Author of True North: The Shocking Truth About "Yours, Mine and Ours"

Meditation saved my life.

My father, Richard North, died in a Navy jet test flight crash when I was six years old. Fifteen months after his death, my mother, Helen North who had eight children, re-married a man named Frank Beardsley who had ten, making us one of the largest families in the country. We became famous, and our story was featured in the movie, Yours, Mine and Ours. But it wasn't one big happy family. We had to hide the fact that we were living a lie.

My stepfather was abusive on every level; physically, emotionally and sexually. His constant rage, disapproval and controlling personality left deep emotional scars. And, to make matters worse, our family hid this from the outside world, so we each suffered in silence. The toll I paid was enormous. Lacking any sense of self-worth, it drove me to depression and drugs. I imagine many people will identify with the feelings, even if their home life was not as extreme as mine. But trauma is trauma--whether suffered in a living room or the theatre of war.

As a young adult I discovered meditation. It was my passage out of a deep depression and emotional despair, and I'm here to recommend it as a powerful and effective solution if you cannot get out of the mental patterns that keep you stuck, feeling a victim of past trauma.

Meditation was and still is a vital therapy for my continued survival and healing from a life of child abuse and domestic violence. I still practice it every day, having begun more than 38 years ago.

Meditation is indeed a powerful tool for health and healing on all levels. Research shows that group meditation can produce a radiating influence of peace in society. Recently, Dr. Deepak Chopra sponsored and conducted an online Global Group Meditation for Peace with over 100,000 people participating from around the world. I was happy to be a part of this important event.

This was a tremendous service Dr. Chopra was delivering to the audience, for as he explained, meditation is the key to our connection with ourselves: Our Divine Selves. It is also our connection to the collective consciousness. Studies show that everything in the universe is connected and it is possible to unite people in heart-focused care and intention to facilitate the shift in global consciousness from instability and discord to balance, cooperation and enduring peace.

The Health Benefits of Daily Meditation are Many

The scientific evidence documenting the benefits of Transcendental Meditation, especially for PTSD, which includes child abuse, is conclusive. While there may always be skeptics, it is irrefutable that meditation delivers improvements on every level of life, from stress management to emotional, physical and spiritual balance.

Dr. Norman Rosenthal, senior research scientist at the National Institute of Health (NIH), has published his studies of over 300 experiments that prove the importance and benefits of meditation. This is in addition to the many thousands of published reports that have become available over the last 40 years that have come out of Maharishi University of Management, Harvard University and many others.

In my own experience, and in the experience of many meditators who have been culturing a daily meditation practice over time, the ongoing result has been a steadily growing expansion of awareness and appreciation for all of life. This takes the form of improved relationships with those around me, connection with the entire human race and seeing the divine intelligence in the simplest life forms.

I would be remiss if I didn't include experiencing an overwhelming sense of love for everyone and everything I encounter. As one friend and former college classmate of mine said, "I was stopped in commuter traffic on the 405 freeway in L.A. I looked around me at the thousands of cars and people and was feeling an unbounded love for all of them!"

If this is the outcome of consistent meditation, then it certainly is worth trying for anyone whose long-ago trauma-related or trauma-triggered emotions frequently get the better of them. For those who simply cannot see their way out of their own personal darkness, meditation is even more important. I encourage you to make the commitment.

Eight Steps to Help You Develop Your Daily Meditation Practice for Trauma Healing

1. Give yourself permission to get better, understanding that meditation can provide healing and relief.

2. Seek out a meditation teacher. Meditation is like walking in an unfamiliar forest. It is best to have a guide.

3. Commit to regularity. Research shows that 20 minutes twice a day is optimal.

4. Create a space that is just for you to meditate each day. Unplug the phone(s) and put your silenced cell phone where you cannot see it. No cheating!

5. Get your mediation checked regularly by your teacher. This is very important.

6. If you absolutely have to miss a session, do not be hard on yourself - it is OK to renegotiate with yourself, recommit and pick up where you left off.

7. Wait two months, and then check in on your memories of pain and trauma...do you feel better able to just let them go, to allow them to NOT MATTER anymore?

8. Congratulate yourself for staying with it! You're on your way to true healing.

Disclaimer: Please remember that meditation is not a substitute for professional care or psychiatric help if that is what is needed. Many physicians and psychologists recommend meditation in conjunction with standard therapies.

About The Author:

Tom North is the author of True North - The Shocking Truth About "Yours, Mine and Ours" They appeared to be the blissful Beardsleys, the happily blended family-eight of Helen North's, ten of Frank Beardsley's, and two children from their union. ...Tom North, Helen's second eldest son, is now revealing how he survived the ordeal of living with a horrifyingly abusive stepfather that drove him to depression and drugs, and deprived him of his self-worth-and a mother who protected the image of the "perfect" family at all costs. But True North is much more than an inspiring and powerful account of a man who rose to success against all odds. It's a story of how Transcendental Meditation (TM) brought peace to Tom North and saved his life. For more information, go to http://truenorthbytomnorth.com/  

Family Special: Forgiving Each Other - The Acid Relief

by Dennis and Barbara Rainey

Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; . . . forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you. - COLOSSIANS 3:12-13

A number of years ago, there was a person in my life who had hurt and wronged me, and every time his name came up, my stomach did a sort of little twist. I thought the problem was that this person never recognized how deeply he had hurt me. He never apologized. But the real problem was that I hadn't forgiven him. No matter what he had or hadn't done, God's expectation was for me to forgive him regardless.

Forgiveness is not conditional. It is a command of God - "just as the Lord forgave you." This means you stop blaming. You stop pouring on guilt, and you stop referring to the offense as a trump card to win an argument.

You may not feel like forgiving. But by an act of your will, you need to operate out of a spiritual mandate: To forgive a friend - or a spouse - means giving up the right to punish that person.

For some offenses, there may always be a twinge of pain involved that never goes away. But when you say, "I can't forgive you," what you're really saying is, "I choose not to forgive you. I'm hurt so deeply, I can't move to forgiveness." In some cases you may need to seek out a wise counselor to help you deal with your pain. But if you ever want your stomach to stop churning, you have to obey.

Marriage was designed by God to be the union of two forgivers who have been forgiven.

DISCUSS

Now would be a good time to put this principle into practice. Whatever it is, whatever it was, look your spouse in the eyes and tell him or her, "I forgive you."

PRAY

Our Lord knows this isn't easy. How well He remembers the cross. Lean on Him today, letting Him help you take this beyond words and into action. As you pray, open your hand as a symbol of releasing the punishment, and then take your spouse's hands in yours to signify your forgiveness.

Source: Moments with You Devotional

Feast of Saint Yeldho Mor Baselios in Cleveland, Ohio
Saturday, OCTOBER 4 at 10:00 AM

All faithful are invited to attend the feast of our saint, Saint Yeldho Mor Baselios (Kanni Perunnal) on Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 10:00AM.

After the service, we will have the traditional rasa (procession), a public meeting and a short entertainment program followed by lunch.

Venue:

St. Basil's Syriac Orthodox Church
Monica Hall, Lower level at St. Dominic's School
St. Monica Church Campus
13623 Rockside Road
Garfield Heights, OH 44125

More details at http://www.baselios.org/

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