Love, even when slandered…

“Watch yourself, lest the vice which separates you from your brother lies not in him but in yourself. Be reconciled with him without delay, so that you do not lapse from the commandment of love.”

“Do not hold the commandment of love in contempt, for through it you will become a son of God. But if you transgress it, you will become a son of Gehenna.”

“Has someone vilified you? Do not hate him; hate the vilification and the demon which induced him to utter it. If you hate the vilifier, you have hated a man and so broken the commandment. What he has done in word you do in action. To keep the commandment, show the qualities of love and help him in any way you can, so that you may deliver him from evil.”
-St. Maximus the Confessor; Fourth Century on Love, The Philokalia

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“Fiery Sermon”

This post has been tweaked only slightly, as it was originally from a Protestant source. The truth contained in these few short sentences are powerful. We are part of a Holy Community, and outside of it, we are nothing.

With that said, our connections to one another -even without saying a word- are powerful. We mustn’t forget that we are all parts of the same body, and that we must love one another with the understanding that we cannot be truly One without each other.

“A member of the church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the priest decided to visit him.

It was a chilly evening. The priest found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.

Father made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, he took the fire tongs, carefully picked up the rightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone then he sat back in his chair, still silent.

The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.The priest glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the priest reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, ‘Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I will be back in church next Sunday.”

The world we live in tries so hard to pull us away from one another, we who gain strength from the love and support of our brothers and sisters. Sometimes the best sermons are the ones left unspoken.

Be Strong!

“Whoever fears the Lord will not fear the sickly attacks of demons or the threats of evil people. Like a flame or a burning fire, he goes about day and night through dark and hidden places, and instead of fleeing from the demons he makes them flee from him, so as not to be scorched by the flaming rays of divine fire that pour from him.

Whoever goes in the fear of God is not afraid when surrounded by evil men, for he has the fear of God within him and wears the invincible armour of faith. This gives him strength to do all things, even those that seem to most people difficult or impossible. Like a giant among monkeys or a roaring lion among dogs and foxes, he is resolute in the Lord, unnerving his enemies with the constancy of his purpose and filling their minds with terror; for he wields God’s wisdom like a rod of iron(cf.Ps.2 :9).”
~St. Symeon the New Theologian
A Century of Practical and Theological Texts
The Philokalia, Vol. 4

And this is why we fast and pray so often and for long periods of time. This is why we cross ourselves constantly, and hold the Saints near and dear to our hearts! -Fr. P

Worry

We all worry. We all say we have faith that God will provide, yet when it comes time to ‘put our money where our mouth is’, we fall short. No?

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:25-34)

“If you believe that God makes provision for you, why are you anxious and concerned about temporal matters and the needs of your flesh? But if you do not believe that God makes provision for you, and for this reason you are at pains to provide for your needs apart from Him, you are the most miserable of all men. Why even go on living? ‘Cast thy care upon the Lord’ (Psalm 54:23) and you will never be afraid of any terror that overtakes you (cf. Proverbs 3:25). Insofar as you have dedicated yourself to God, you may go through life with peace of mind.” ~Abba Isaiah, from The Evergetinos

Abba Silouan said: “I am a servant, and my Lord said to me: ‘Do my work, and I will nourish you, but do not inquire how.’ Therefore, if I work I am nourished by my wages, that is, by the mercy of God.” ~ from the Evergetinos

What This Is About

I manage the Facebook page of my Parish, but when posts get too long, even on a web-based browser it can get muddy and hard to read. Fifteen lines here become thirty very compressed lines on a phone, and can turn one off from reading, sadly. As well, Facebook  while it has the virtue of allowing people to communicate more easily, is also full of spiritual garbage and poison. I want to step away from that as much as possible.

I am not full of wisdom. The Saints and Righteous Fathers and Mothers of the Orthodox Church certainly were, and it is here that I would like to share with you some of the things they said. I hope the things I posthere inspire you as much as they have inspired me.

I will also be posting -though very occasionally- some of my meager homilies. Compared to so many other great homilists that I know, my homilies are childish and simplistic. But occasionally, God permits me to do something right, and only as an acknowldegement of God’s grace, I will share them with you. I am simply a poor servant doing what his Master has bidden.

As some are aware, I am an Iconographer as well. I may share some pictures of progressing projects if God allows. My Flickr site is: https://www.flickr.com/photos/32367061@N02/

I will not entertain arguments here. I will not allow trolls. I am assuming that if somone comes here to read, they are of a spiritual, if not Orthodox, mindset. Come here, read and if you  don’t like it, don’t read any more. Simple. There are hundreds of other Orthodox sites with quotes you can go read. They likely have better content, so if you don’t want to read here, then by all means read there, no matter what your reasoning.

God be with you.

Christ is Risen!