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A Pan-Orthodox ministry that displays Christian love, mercy and compassion to the individuals, families and facilities it serves.

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A Pan-Orthodox ministry that displays Christian love, mercy and compassion to the individuals, families and facilities it serves.

Prayer List for the Week of February 18, 2018

Gerald Largent

For healing: Metropolitan Joseph, Fr. Andrew, Fr. Goras, Fr. James, Fr. Vasiliy, Fr. Deacon Dmitri , Khouria Bonnie, Matushka Laryssa, Brother Demetrios, Ross, Justin, Steven, Marian, Paul, Dale, Roger, Nancy, Barbara, Claire, Maria, Victoria, Patricia, Mark, Nikolai, Anastasia, Joseph, Carrie, Nancy, Antoinette, Anne, Kevin, Sarah, Michael, Metodije, Annabelle, Alice, Kathleen, Walter, Jay, Denise, Denise, Leslie, David, Andrew, Anthony, Heather, Alexis, Robert, Dorothy, Harry, Donald, Joel, Nicholas, Gerald, William, Sylvia, Catherine, George, Alexander, Cassie, John, Patricia, Doug, Karen, Carol, Christine, Pamela, Heather, Katherine, Sabra, George, Jerry, John, George, Annie, Christina, Sid, Richard, James, Lee, Madeline, Mary, Erin, Robert, Emily, Benjamin, Mary, Alexandru, Arthur, Marianne, Samuel, Ryan, Daniel, Alexander, Helen, Joanne

For God’s protection: Archbishops Paul Yazigi and John Ibrahim; all captives; all persecuted Christians throughout the world

For God’s protection: all those in the military

For God’s mercy and peace: those who are in hospice care

For God’s mercy, direction and protection: those who are unemployed, poor, hungry and/or homeless

*** We pray for: those who love us; those who hate us; those who have no one to pray for them; those who have asked us to pray for them, even though we are unworthy. ***

Departed: Patricia, Olga, Ronald


 

Readings for the Week of February 18, 2018

Gerald Largent

2/18: Romans 13:11-14:4; Matthew 6:14-21
2/19: Isaiah 1:1-20; Genesis 1:1-13; Proverbs 1:1-20
2/20: Isaiah 1:19-2:3; Genesis 1:14-23; Proverbs 1:20-33
2/21: Isaiah 2:3-11; Genesis 1:24-2:3; Proverbs 2:1-22
2/22: Isaiah 2:11-22; Genesis 2:4-19; Proverbs 3:1-18
2/23: Isaiah 3:1-14; Genesis 2:20-3:20; Proverbs 3:19-34
2/24: Hebrews 1:1-12; 2 Timothy 2:1-10; Mark 2:23-3:5; John 15:17-16:2

Words from the Saints -- February 6, 2018

Gerald Largent

"Establish yourself in God and then you will be helpful to others." --St. Seraphim of Sarov

"If man remembered that it is written: 'By your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned,' (Matthew 12:37) he would choose to remain silent." --St. Poemen

"When a bad or gloomy thought, fear or temptation threatens to afflict you, don’t fight it to try and get rid of it. Open your arms to Christ’s love and he will embrace you, then it will vanish by itself." --St. Porphyrios

"Do not be always wanting everything to turn out as you think it should, but rather as God pleases, then you will be undisturbed and thankful in prayer." --St. Nilus

"Every Christian should find for himself the imperative and inventive to become holy. If you live without struggle and without hope of becoming holy, then you are Christians only in name and not in essence." --St. Philaret of Moscow

Words from the Saints -- January 30, 2018

Gerald Largent

"When pride retreats from a man, humility begins to dwell in him, and the more pride is diminished, so much more does humility grow. The one gives way to the other as its opposite. Darkness departs and light appears. Pride is darkness, but humility is light." --St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

"Cry out, O sinner, with all your might; for your Lord is merciful and loves those who repent. As soon as you return, your Father will come out to meet you. He will slaughter the fatted calf , clothe you in a fine robe, and rejoice in you." --St. Ephraim the Syrian

"The soul that loves God has its rest in God and in God alone. In all the paths that men walk in the world, they do not attain peace until they draw nigh to hope in God." --St. Isaac the Syrian

"Be ever more obedient to God and He will save you." --St. Pachomius

"So in every test, let us say, 'Thank you, my God, because this was needed for my salvation." --St. Paisios

Words from the Saints -- January 23, 2018

Gerald Largent

"Do not forsake prayer, for just as the body becomes weak when it is deprived of food, so also the soul when it is deprived of prayer draws nigh to weakness and spiritual death." --St. Gennadius of Constantinople

"The Lord Himself commanded that we pray unceasingly, not just with the tongue to be heard by men, but rather enclosed in the cell of the heart, so that the Lord can hear and see us." --St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"What I see around me would drive me insane, if I did not know that no matter what happens, God will have the last word." --St. Paisios

"A truly humble person never behaves like a teacher; he will listen, and, whenever his opinion is requested, he responds humbly. In other words, he replies like a student. He who believes that he is capable of correcting others is filled with egotism." --St. Paisios

"'Seek' (He says) 'and you shall find': but how can we find the Lord? Consider how gold is found - with much labor…that is, just as we seek what is lost, so let us seek God. Do we not concentrate our mind thereon? Do we not enquire of every one?" --St. John Chrysostom

"The beginning on the right path is knowing and recognizing one's own inabilities." --St. Porphyrios

Words from the Saints -- January 16, 2018

Gerald Largent

"As salt is needed for all kinds of food, so humility is needed for all kinds of virtues." --St. Isaac the Syrian

"Sin has reigned over us and the inventor and father of sin has lorded it over all who dwell under the sky, provoking the transgression of the divine laws. But in Christ we see human nature, enjoying freedom of access to God." --St. Cyril of Alexandria

"The rule of life for a perfect person is to be in the image and likeness of God." --St. Clement of Alexandria

"This is the mark of Christianity—however much a man toils, and however many righteousnesses he performs, to feel that he has done nothing, and in fasting to say, 'This is not fasting,' and in praying, 'This is not prayer,' and in perseverance at prayer, 'I have shown no perseverance; I am only just beginning to practice and to take pains'; and even if he is righteous before God, he should say, 'I am not righteous, not I; I do not take pains, but only make a beginning every day.'" --St. Marcarius the Great

"When you are insulted by someone or humiliated, guard against angry thoughts, lest they arouse a feeling of irritation and so cut you off from love and place you in the realm of hatred." --St. Maximus the Confessor

"Do not claim to have acquired virtue unless you have suffered affliction, for without affliction virtue has not been tested." --St. Mark the Ascetic

"Let not one think, my fellow Christian, that only priests and monks need to 'pray with out ceasing' (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and not laymen No, no; every Christian without exception ought to dwell always in prayer." --St. Gregory Palamas

"Whatever you may be seeking, seek it with all your strength, but do not expect your own search and efforts to bear fruit of themselves. Put your trust in the Lord, ascribing nothing to yourself, and He will give you your heart’s desire." --St. Theophan the Recluse

St. John Chrysostom: On the Feast of Theophany, Part 9

Gerald Largent

Here these also are in imitation of him, who leave before the final blessing! If he had not gone, then he would not have made the betrayal; if he did not leave his co-disciples, then he would not have perished; if he had not removed himself from the flock, then the wolf would not have seized and devoured him alone; if he had separated himself from the Pastor, then he would not have made himself the prey of wild beasts. Wherefore he (Judas) was with the Jews, and those (the apostles) went out with the Lord. Dost thou see, by what manner the final prayer after the offering of the sacrifice is accomplished? We should, beloved, stand forth for this, we should ponder this, fearful of the coming judgement for this. We should approach the Holy Sacrifice with great decorum, with proper piety, so as to merit us more of God’s benevolence, to cleanse one’s soul and to receive eternal blessings, of which may we all be worthy by the grace and love for mankind of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom with the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, power, and worship now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

St. John Chrysostom: On the Feast of Theophany, Part 8

Gerald Largent

Having made mention about the Body of the Lord, I shall also say a little about this, and then the conclusion of the talk. Many now will approach the Holy Table on the occasion of the feast. But some approach not with trembling, but shoving, hitting others, blazing with anger, shouting, cursing, roughing it up with their fellows with great confusion. What, tell me, art thou troubled by, my fellow? What disturbeth thee? Do urgent affairs, for certain, summon thee? At this hour art thou particularly aware that these affairs of thine that thou particularly rememberest, that thou art situated upon the earth, and dost thou think to mix about with people? But is it not with a soul of stone naturally to think, that in such a time thou stand upon the earth, and not exult with the Angels with whom to raise up victorious song to God? For this Christ also did describe us with eagles, saying, “where the corpse is, there are the eagles gathered” (Matthew 24:28)—so that we might have risen to heaven and soared to the heights, having ascended on the wings of the spirit.  But we, like snakes, crawl upon the earth and eat dirt. Having been invited to supper, thou, although satiated before others, would not dare to leave before others while others are still reclining. But here, when the sacred doings are going on, thou at the very middle would pass by everything and leave? Is it for a worthy excuse? What excuse might it be? Judas, having communed that last evening on that final night, left hastily as all the others were still reclining.

St. John Chrysostom: On the Feast of Theophany, Part 7

Gerald Largent

Consider, that the commandments of the law are the main point of the two denarii.  Our race needed to pay this debt; but we did not pay it, and we, falling under such an accusation, were embraced by death. Christ came, and finding us afflicted by it, paid the debt, fulfilled the necessary and seized from it those who were not able to pay. Wherefore He does not say: “It is necessary for us to do this or that,” but rather “to fulfill every righteousness.” “It is for Me, being the Master,” says He, “proper to make payment for the needy.” Such was the reason for His baptism—wherefore they should see that He had fulfilled all the law—both this reason and also that, about which was spoken of before. Wherefore also the Spirit descended as a dove, because where there is reconciliation with God—there also is the dove. So also in the ark of Noah the dove brought the branch of olive—a sign of God’s love of mankind and of the cessation of the flood. And now in the form of a dove, and not in a body—this particularly deserves to be noted—the Spirit descended, announcing the universal mercy of God and showing with it, that the spiritual man needs to be gentle, simple and innocent, as Christ also says: “Except ye be converted and become as children, ye shalt not enter into the Heavenly Kingdom” (Matthew 18:3). But that ark, after the cessation of the flood, remained upon the earth; this ark, after the cessation of wrath, is taken to heaven, and now this Immaculate and Imperishable Body is situated at the right hand of the Father.

St. John Chrysostom: On the Feast of Theophany, Part 6

Gerald Largent

Thus, since they were kinsmen, in order that it should not seem that John would testify concerning Christ because of kinship, the grace of the Spirit organized it such, that John spent all his early years in the wilderness, so that it should not seem that John had declared his testimony out of friendship or some similar reason. But John, as he was instructed of God, thus also announced about Him, wherein also he did say: “and I knew Him not.” From whence didst thou find out? “He, having sent me that sayeth to baptize with water, [is] the One [Who] did tell me” What did He tell thee? “Over Him thou shalt see the Spirit descending, like to a dove, and abiding over Him, that One is baptized by the Holy Spirit” (John 1:32-33). Dost thou see, that the Holy Spirit did not descend as in a first time then coming down upon Him, but in order to point out that preached by His inspiration—as though by a finger—it pointed Him out to all. For this reason He came to baptism.

And there is a second reason, about which He Himself spoke.  What exactly is it? When John said, “I have need to be baptized of Thee, and Thou art come to me?” He answered thus: “Stay now, for thus it becometh us to fulfill every righteousness” (Matthew 3:14-15). Dost thou see the meekness of the servant? Dost thou see the humility of the Master? What does He mean, “to fulfill every righteousness?” By righteousness is meant the fulfillment of all the commandments, as is said: “both were righteous, walking faultlessly in the commandments of the Lord” (Luke 1:6). Since fulfilling this righteousness was necessary for all people—but no one of them kept it or fulfilled it—Christ came then and fulfilled this righteousness.

And what righteousness is there, someone will say, in being baptized? Obedience for a prophet was righteous. As Christ was circumcised, offered sacrifice, kept the sabbath and observed the Jewish feasts, so also He added this remaining thing, that He was obedient to having been baptized by a prophet. It was the will of God, then, that all should be baptized—about which John speaks: “He having sent me to baptize with water” (John 1:33); so also Christ: “The publicans and the people do justify God, having been baptized with the baptism of John; the Pharisees and the lawyers reject the counsel of God concerning themselves, not having been baptized by him” (Luke 7:29-30). Thus, if obedience to God constitutes righteousness, and God sent John to baptize the nation, then Christ has also fulfilled this along with all the other commandments.

St. John Chrysostom: On the Feast of Theophany, Part 5

Gerald Largent

Now it is necessary to say, for whom was Christ baptized and by which baptism? Neither the former, the Jewish, nor the last—ours. Whence hath He need for remission of sins, how is this possible for Him, Who hath not any sins? “Of sin,” it says in the Scriptures, “worked He not, nor was there deceit found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:22).  And further, “who of you convicteth Me of sin?” (John 8:46). And His flesh was privy to the Holy Spirit.  How might this be possible, when it in the beginning was fashioned by the Holy Spirit? And so, if His flesh was privy to the Holy Spirit, and He was not subject to sins, then for whom was He baptized? But first of all it is necessary for us to recognize, by which baptism He was baptized, and then it will be clear for us. By which baptism indeed was He baptized? Not the Jewish, nor ours, nor John’s. For whom, since thou from thine own aspect of baptism dost perceive, that He was baptized not by reason of sin and not having need of the gift of the Spirit.  Therefore, as we have demonstrated, this baptism was alien to the one and to the other. Hence it is evident, that He came to Jordan not for the forgiveness of sins and not for receiving the gifts of the Spirit, but so that some from those present then should not think that He came for repentance like others.  Listen to how John precluded this:  What he then spoke to the others then was, “Bear ye fruits worthy of repentance.” But listen to what he said to Him: “I have need to be baptized of Thee, and Thou art come to me?” (Matthew 3:8, 14). With these words he demonstrated, that Christ came to him not through that need with which people came, and that He was so far from the need to be baptized for this reason—so much more sublime and perfectly purer than Baptism itself. For whom was He baptized, if this was done not for repentance, nor for the remission of sins, nor for receiving the gifts of the Spirit? Through the other two reasons, of which the one the disciple speaks, and about the other He Himself spoke to John. Which reason of this baptism did John declare? Namely, that Christ should become known to the people, as Paul also mentions: “John therefore baptized with the baptism of repentance, so that through him they should believe on Him that cometh” (Acts 19:4).  This was the consequence of the baptism. If John had gone to the home of each and, standing at the door, had spoken out for Christ and said: “He is the Son of God,” such a testimony would have been suspicious, and this deed would have been extremely perplexing. So too, if he in advocating that Christ had gone into the synagogues and witnessed to Him, this testimony of his might be suspiciously fabricated. But when all the people thronged out from all the cities to Jordan and remained on the banks of the river, and when He Himself came to be baptized and received the testimony of the Father by a voice from above and by the descent of the Spirit in the form of a dove, then the testimony of John about Him was made beyond all questioning. And since he said: “and I knew Him not” (John 1:31), his testimony put forth is trustworthy. They were kindred after the flesh between themselves, “wherefore Elizabeth, thy kinswoman, hath also conceived a son”—said the Angel to Mary about the mother of John (Luke 1: 36).  If, however, the mothers were relatives, then obviously so also were their children.

St. John Chrysostom: On the Feast of Theophany, Part 4

Gerald Largent

But what does “with the Holy Spirit and with fire” mean? Call to mind that day, on which for the Apostles “there appeared disparate tongues like fire, and sat over each one of them” (Acts 2:3). That the baptism of John did not impart the Spirit and remission of sins is evident from the following [words of] Paul, [who] “found certain disciples, and said to them: received ye the Holy Spirit since ye have believed? They said to him: but furthermore whether it be of the Holy Spirit, we shall hear. He said to them: into what were ye baptized? They answered: into the baptism of John. Paul then said: John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance”—repentance, but not remission of sins; for whom did he baptize? “Having proclaimed to the people, that they should believe in the One coming after him, namely, Christ Jesus… they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus: and Paul laying his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them” (Acts 19:1-6).

Do you see, how incomplete was the baptism of John? If the one were not incomplete, would then Paul have baptized them again, and placed his hands on them?  Having performed also the second, he showed the superiority of the apostolic Baptism and that the baptism of John was far less than his. Thus, from this we recognize the difference of the baptisms.

Words from the Saints -- January 9, 2018

Gerald Largent

"Nothing equals the mercy of God or surpasses it. To despair is therefore to inflict death on oneself." --St. John Climacus

"The aim of prayer is that we should acquire from it love of God, for in prayer are to be found all sorts of reasons for loving God." --St. Isaac the Syrian

"Faith requires obedience, and not curiosity; and when God commands, one ought to be obedient, not curious." --St. John Chrysostom

"My God, I do not know what you will do, but I surrender myself to you completely so that you will make me into a human being." --St. Paisios

"God is not known by science, but by the Holy Spirit. Many philosophers and learned men came to the belief that God exists, but they did not know God. It is one thing to believe that God exists and another to know Him. If someone has come to know God by the Holy Spirit, his soul will burn with love for God day and night, and his soul cannot be bound to any earthly thing." --St. Silouan of Mt. Athos

"What is it to be a fool for Christ? It is to control one's thoughts when they stray out of line. It is to make the mind empty and free..." --St. John Chrysostom

"From humility it is known that a man is a true disciple of Jesus, meek and humble of heart. If we wish to show evidence that we are true Christians, let us learn from Christ to be humble as He Himself enjoins us, 'Learn of Me; for I am meek, and lowly in heart'" (Matthew 11:29). --St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

"Death is, properly speaking, separation from God, and 'the sting of death is sin.' In taking it on, Adam was banished at once from the Tree of Life, from Paradise, and from God, whereupon there followed, of necessity, the death of the body. On the other hand, life is, properly speaking, the One who says 'I am the life.' By His death He brought back to life again the one who had died." --St. Maximos the Confessor

St. John Chrysostom: On the Feast of Theophany, Part 3

Gerald Largent

Why then is this day called Theophany? Because Christ made Himself known to all—not then when He was born, but when He was baptized. Until this time He was not known to the people. And that the people did not know Him, Who He was, listen to what John the Baptist says: “Amidst you standeth Him Whom ye know not of” (John 1:26). And is it surprising that others did not know Him, when even the Baptist did not know Him until that day? “And I—said he—knew Him not: but He that did send me to baptize with water, about this One did tell unto me: over Him that shalt see the Spirit descending and abiding upon Him, this One it is Who baptiseth in the Holy Spirit” (John 1:33). Thus from this it is evident, that there are two Theophanies, and why Christ comes at baptism and on whichever baptism He comes, about this… it is necessary to know both the one and equally the other. And first it is necessary to speak your love about the latter, so that we might learn about the former. There was a Jewish baptism, which cleansed from bodily impurities, but not to remove sins.  Thus, whoever committed adultery, or decided on thievery, or who did some other kind of misdeed, it did not free him from guilt. But whoever touched the bones of the dead, whoever tasted food forbidden by the law, whoever approached from contamination, whoever consorted with lepers—that one washed, and until evening was impure, and then cleansed. “Let one wash his body in pure water”—it says in the Scriptures—“and he will be unclean until evening, and then he will be clean” (Leviticus 15:5, 22:4). This was not truly of sins or impurities, but since the Jews lacked perfection, then God, accomplishing it by means of this greater piety, prepared them by their beginnings for a precise observance of important things.

Thus, Jewish cleansings did not free from sins, but only from bodily impurities. Not so with ours: it is far more sublime and it manifests a great grace, whereby it sets free from sin, it cleanses the spirit and bestows the gifts of the Spirit. And the baptism of John was far more sublime than the Jewish, but less so than ours: it was like a bridge between both baptisms, leading across itself from the first to the last. Wherefore John did not give guidance for observance of bodily purifications, but together with them he exhorted and advised to be converted from vice to good deeds and to trust in the hope of salvation and the accomplishing of good deeds, rather than in different washings and purifications by water. John did not say, “wash your clothes, wash your body, and ye will be pure,” but rather, “bear ye fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8). Since it was more than of the Jews, but less than ours, the baptism of John did not impart the Holy Spirit and it did not grant forgiveness by grace.  It gave the commandment to repent, but it was powerless to absolve sins. Wherefore John did also say: “I baptize you with water… That One however will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11). Obviously, he did not baptize with the Spirit.

St. John Chrysostom: On the Feast of Theophany, Part 2

Gerald Largent

Why is not that day, on which the Lord was born, considered Theophany—but rather this day on which He was baptized? This present day it is, on which He was baptized and sanctified the nature of water. Because on this day all, having obtained the waters, do carry it home and keep it all year, since today the waters are sanctified.  And an obvious phenomenon occurs: these waters in their essence do not spoil with the passage of time, but obtained today, for one whole year and often for two or three years, they remain unharmed and fresh, and afterwards for a long time do not stop being water, just as that obtained from the fountains.
 

St. John Chrysostom: On the Feast of Theophany, Part 1

Gerald Largent

We shall now say something about the present feast.  Many celebrate the feast days and know their designations, but the cause for which they were established they know not. Thus concerning this, everyone knows that the present feast is called Theophany; but what this is, and whether it be one thing or another, they know not. And this is shameful—every year to celebrate the feast day and not know its meaning.

First of all therefore, it is necessary to say that there is not one Theophany, but two: the one actual, which already has occurred, and the second in the future, which will happen with glory at the end of the world. About this one and about the other you will hear today from Paul, who in conversing with Titus, speaks thus about the present: “The grace of God hath revealed itself, having saved all mankind, decreeing, that we reject iniquity and worldly desires, and dwell in the present age in prudence and in righteousness and piety.”  And about the future: “Awaiting the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13). And a prophet speaks thus about this latter: “The sun shalt turn to darkness, and the moon to blood at first, then shalt come the great and illuminating Day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31).

Words from the Saints -- December 26, 2017

Gerald Largent

"In order to learn praying, pray more often and with more zeal and you will learn it: you would not need anything else. If you work hard and patiently, you will acquire the skill of unceasing prayer with time. Make it your goal—to seek and do seek. The Lord is close to you. Keep God always in your mind and always try to see the Lord before you and to venerate Him." --St. Theophan the Recluse

"Nothing causes such exceeding grief as when one calls to mind that he has fallen because he turned aside to carnal and earthly things, instead of directing his mind in the beautiful ways of the knowledge of God." --St. Ambrose of Milan

"Doctrine listened to is a light in darkness, a road home to the lost traveler, an illumination for the blind. A discerning man is a discoverer of health, a destroyer of sickness." --St. John Climacus

"Of course, it would be easier to get to Paradise with a full stomach, all snuggled up in a soft featherbed, but what is required is to carry one’s cross along the way, for the kingdom of God is not attained by enduring one or two troubles, but many!" --St. Anthony of Optina

"Afflictions, illnesses, ill health and the pains that our bodies experience are counted for the remission of our trespasses. They are the furnace in which we are purified." --St. John Chrysostom

"Fire does not blaze among fresh wood, and enthusiasm for God does not break forth into flames in a heart that loves comfort." --St. Isaac of Syria

"He who repents rightly does not imagine that it is his own effort that cancels his former sins, but through this effort he makes his peace with God." --St. Hesychios the Priest

"There is the sin that is always 'unto death': the sin for which we do not repent. For this sin even a saint’s prayers will not be heard." --St. Mark the Ascetic
 

A Nativity Sermon by St. Leo the Great, Pope of Rome (5th century)

Gerald Largent

    Dearly beloved, today our Savior is born; let us rejoice. Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life. The fear of death has been swallowed up; life brings us joy with the promise of eternal happiness.
    No one is shut out from this joy; all share the same reason for rejoicing. Our Lord, victor over sin and death, finding no man free from sin, came to free us all. Let the saint rejoice as he sees the palm of victory at hand. Let the sinner be glad as he receives the offer of forgiveness. Let the pagan take courage as he is summoned to life.
    In the fullness of time, chosen in the unfathomable depths of God's wisdom, the Son of God took for himself our common humanity in order to reconcile it with its Creator. He came to overthrow the devil, the origin of death, in that very nature by which he had overthrown mankind.
    And so at the birth of our Lord the angels sing in joy: Glory to God in the highest, and they proclaim peace to men of good will as they see the heavenly Jerusalem being built from all the nations of the world. When the angels on high are so exultant at this marvelous work of God's goodness, what joy should it not bring to the lowly hearts of men?
    Beloved, let us give thanks to God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit, because in his great love for us he took pity on us, and when we were dead in our sins he brought us to life with Christ, so that in him we might be a new creation. Let us throw off our old nature and all its ways and, as we have come to birth in Christ, let us renounce the works of the flesh.
    Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in God's own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God's kingdom.
    Through the sacrament of baptism you have become a temple of the Holy Spirit. Do not drive away so great a guest by evil conduct and become again a slave to the devil, for your liberty was bought by the blood of Christ.
 

Words from the Saints -- December 19, 2017

Gerald Largent

"Christians are destined to bear a heavy cross in their life. It’s a difficult thing to say you believe in the Lord and also that you have ease of life in this life. Because, when you are having ease of life on earth, there is something wrong with yourself; you care about the gold of the land and not for the treasures of heaven. But when you think like this, you are far away from the will of God. Christian life and having ease in life do not go together; they are different things". --St. Paisios the Athonite

"The true Christian is a warrior fighting his way through the regiments of the unseen enemy to his heavenly homeland." --St. Herman of Alaska

"Think nothing and do nothing without a purpose directed to God. For to journey without direction is wasted effort." --St. Mark the Ascetic

"Prayer is a great weapon, a rich treasure, a wealth that is never exhausted, an undisturbed refuge, a cause of tranquility, the root of a multitude of blessings and their source." --St. John Chrysostom

"He who strives for honor has honor running away from him, while he who runs away from honor has it chasing him." --St. Isaac the Syrian

"Do not grieve if you do not at once receive from God that which you ask. He wishes to benefit you still more by making you persist longer in your patient prayer before Him. For what can be higher than to address one's converse to God and be in communion with Him?" --St. Nilus of Sinai

"A person can become a saint anywhere... At your work, whatever it may be, you can become a saint through meekness, patience, and love. Make a new start every day, with new resolution, enthusiasm and love, prayer and silence." --St. Porphyrios

"Though God knows all our needs, prayer is necessary for the cleansing and enlightenment of our soul. It is well to stand in the sunshine; it is warm and light; likewise, when standing in prayer before God, our spiritual Sun, we are warmed and enlightened." --St. John of Kronstadt

Words from the Saints -- December 5, 2017

Gerald Largent

"Do not become a disciple of one who praises himself, in case you learn pride instead of humility." --St. Mark the Ascetic

"A sign of self-esteem is an ostentatious manner; of pride, anger and scorn of others." --St. Thalassios the Libyan

"Don’t wage your Christian struggle with sermons and arguments, but with true love". --St. Porphyrios

"In order to fulfill the commandments of Christ, you must know them! Read the Holy Gospel, penetrate its spirit and make it the rule of your life." --St. Nikon of Optina