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Posts Tagged ‘Orthodox Church’

0413-450x600It has been cold here.  The whole city is covered under a thick blanket of ice.  For many the ice and cold is a nightmare.  For me I see it as therapy.  Much needed at that.   I love this weather.  I find the cold calming.  I long for the brutal cold wind of the North.  I long to hear it whip around my house.  The rattle of the windows.  The sting on my face as I work outside.   The cold and ice is gone now.  Still in my heart it remains

The Nativity of our Lord is just around the corner.  I am looking forward to it, and dreading it at the same time.  Physically I am not ready.  My house is not prepared.  Emotionally I am all over the place.  Spiritually I am anxious.  I guess this is a good way to be.

I once was the one with answers.  I was the one people went to for direction.  A pillar in the church.  Now I am none of these things.  Just a shadow.  A phantom of my past.  I hope Nativity will a new beginning.  The start of something beautiful.  At the same time I am ok if this is as good as it gets.

I am no longer the hopeless optimist.  I am not a pessimist either. Whatever is will be.  I am not looking for some sort of false reality.  Or living on hope of something better.  I am trying to live in the present.  To accept it and grow in it.

Lord have mercy on me.  I came into this new place in life very arrogant.   I didn’t see it at the time.  Who am I?  What exactly did I expect? I don’t know if I have any answer.  What I do know is that I am so done.  I am over worrying about what family might think of me.  I am over preconceived ideas of who I am suppose to be.  I just want to live.  Truly live.

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72750_1603573401531_4403968_nDoes the Lord’s command about ceaseless prayer that men ought always to pray (Luke 18:1), apply only to monks or to all Christians in general?

If it applied only to monks, the Apostle Paul would not have written to the Christians in Thessalonica “to pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17).

The Apostle repeats the Lord’s command, word for word, and issues it to all Christians without distinction, whether monks or laymen.

St. Gregory Palamas lived a life of asceticism for some time as a young hieromonk in a monastery in Beroea. The elder Job, a well-known ascetic whom everyone respected, lived in that monastery. It happened that, in elder Job’s presence, St. Gregory quoted the Apostle’s words, asserting that ceaseless prayer is the obligation of every Christian and not just for monks.

However, elder Job replied that ceaseless prayer is the obligation of the monk only, and not for every Christian. Gregory, as the younger of the two, yielded and withdrew in silence. When Job returned to his cell and stood at prayer, an angel in great heavenly glory appeared to him and said: “O Elder, do not doubt the truthfulness of Gregory’s words; he spoke correctly and you should think likewise and pass it on to others.”

Thus, both the Apostle and the angel confirmed the commandment that all Christians must pray to God without ceasing.

Not only without ceasing in church, but also without ceasing in every place and at all times, and especially in your heart.

For if God does not for a moment tire of giving us good things, how can we tire of thanking Him for these good things?

When He thinks of us without ceasing, why do we not think of Him without
ceasing?

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candleSo finally I have found what I just want to do with this blog.  I am going back to my original idea.  This blog will mainly be thoughts, reflections, and possibly some humor.

So much has happened in my life over the past few years.  I have ran the the gambit of churches.  I have had dreams of being a missionary, pastor, and a slew of professional carriers.  The only thing that has been consistent since I was 18 is my wife.   Through the bad times, and the good she has stood beside me.  We have survived maturing and growing into adulthood.  She still loves me, and I look forward to growing old with her.

Work has been interesting.  I have worked for the same company for 13 years.  Mainly in the same department the whole time.  Last year I was transferred to a new job.  To keep it short.  It is a good move, and I enjoy it very much.  It has been challenging, but I think that is a good thing.

This year at Christmas my family and I will be received into the Orthodox church.  Finally we are home.  I am finally in the place I always wanted to be.  No more playing around.  I have looked hard at myself, and asked what am I truly looking for.  I always thought it was the Roman Catholic Church.  After much prayer, and visiting many parishes.  I found that in fact this is not the place for me.  I decided to take a long hard look at Eastern Orthodoxy.  In this church I found what it is I was looking for within the Catholic Church, but I also found the monastic / prayer aspect that I was longing for in regular catholic circles.

I am sure I will talk more on all of these things in greater detail in the future.

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Today we celebrate the feast of the assumption of Mary. This has long been a significant day within Christ’s church. Sometime in the fifth century Byzantine Emperor Mauricius Flavius ordered this holy day to be celebrated on the 15th of August. He also had a basilica built over her tomb. This church was at some point destroyed, and then rebuilt by the crusaders in the 11th century.

What we know about the Blessed Mothers death has been handed down to us from tradition. Officially the Roman Catholic church has never said if Mary died or not. This in itself really has no effect on the celebration or belief of the assumption. It is note worthy that most in the western church do believe she died. Pope Pius XII, in Munificentissimus Deus (1950), defined that Mary, “after the completion of her earthly life was assumed body and soul into the glory of heaven.”

More so it is the understanding that like Enoch and Elijah, that Mary was taken up into heaven. It is important to know that the church never in history or now believed that she did this by her own power. She did not ascend like Jesus into heaven, but assumed by the power of God.

This feast like many feasts of Mary do not point to her holiness. Which she was holy. Mary’s assumption is a reminder of the promises of Jesus. That we the faithful will live in Christ forever. That death cannot hold us. We are again pointed to the cross, and to Jesus who payed the price for our sins. By his death and resurrection we are not only freed from sin, but from death.

So today is a day of celebration. A reminder of the great honor given to our Blessed Mother. A hope for us of what is to come.

It is my prayer that you all will find yourself a bit closer today to our mother Mary, and to her most precious son our Savior Jesus.

For those who are interested here is some scripture that talks about the possibility of a bodily assumption before the Second Coming. It is suggested by Matthew 27:52–53: “[T]he tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” Did all these Old Testament saints die and have to be buried all over again? There is no record of that, but it is recorded by early Church writers that they were assumed into heaven, or at least into that temporary state of rest and happiness often called “paradise,” where the righteous people from the Old Testament era waited until Christ’s resurrection (cf. Luke 16:22, 23:43; Heb. 11:1–40; 1 Pet. 4:6), after which they were brought into the eternal bliss of heaven.

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Early this morning I was looking around online for a new prayer book. I have given away my only 1979 BCP to a friend who has none. I still have my trusty pocket 1928 and COE BCP. Still I have nothing to use at various services were one would bring a prayerbook with. Or for a special time at home were I might look up various prayers.

So today I settled on a nice 1979 Book of Common Prayer Gift Edition from Oxford University Press. It is leather bound, and a steal on Amazon for like $20. I have a larger then expected paycheck coming in. The timing is right, and I am excited!

except…… I have one problem. You see I was looking at The Monastic Diurnal that some day I hope to have, and I saw a link for Book of Common Prayer. I forgot this printer made a copy of the BCP. I also forgot how striking a book it is. What! can this be it is on sale for $15? Why that is 50% off!

This prayer book is published by Lancelot Andrews Press. They are a Orthodox printing company. http://www.andrewespress.com/ They have made some changes to this book. Mainly to make it work with their calendar. They also made dome changes to the Daily Office that I for one would really enjoy and benefit from. So what do I do now you ask? Time for me to sell off a few more books to make room for a new one.

Blessings

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St. Sylvester Bishop of Rome from 314 to 335

Today we remember St. Sylvester (Silvester) the Bishop of Rome. Not much is known about St. Sylvester. We do know that he was given the best of Roman educations, and also was instructed in the ways of Christ and the Bible by a priest named Timothy.

St. Sylvester witnessed the martyr of his faithful priest. Seeing this example of self-sacrifice did nothing but fuel the fire of faith in young Sylvester. It became his calling to share Christ to all who he encountered.

In the Year 314 during the rule of Constantine St. Sylvester became Bishop of Rome. By this time Constantine has legalized Christianity. Constantine Gave Sylvester the Lateran Palace which was used as a cathedral for the newly legalized religion.

St. Sylvester was known for his never failing stand for truth, justice, and faith. Many struggles arose during his time as Bishop. The most famous was the council of Nicea in 325. This is were the church decided what do to with the new Arian theologies.

We can look at St. Sylvester as a pillar during times of uncertainty. Like now as the church is under continual attack from the outside as well as from the inside. We can be encouraged that we have great intercessors like St. Sylvester. So when you find yourself in need of guidance turn to St. Sylvester. He has been there, and knows your struggle.

Prayer
O God, our Heavenly Father, who raised up your faithful servant Sylvester to be a bishop and pastor in your Church and to feed your flock: Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit, that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ and stewards of your divine mysteries; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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