“ This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” 1John 3:16
Sometimes, we need not to look far to understand God’s divine mysteries. A great example is that of God’s sacrificial love through Jesus Christ who was sacrificed on the Divine Altar to save humanity from death. In the body, on the cellular level, we find the NEUTROPHILE. The neutrophile’s function is imperative in the body’s defense mechanism against the invasion of potentially deadly viruses. What happens is, at a very critical moment, the neutrophile sacrifices itself for you, it dies in the process of killing bacteria, to “give you life”. This reflects, on a microscopic scale, God’s unending and amazing love; that His Only-Begotten Son died on the Cross in the process of conquering death on mankind’s behalf. He died, so that He may put to death sin. May God be magnified through His creation !
“The entire day, Father Joachim from St. Anne’s (on Mt. Athos) would pray without stopping. Whether at work or sitting or conversing with anyone, he managed to keep always in contact with God. He would say sweetly, “If you take away from a monk his prayer, then you deprive him of the right to feel that he is truly a child of God.”
Frequently he would visit us while we were working on our obedience tasks and would ask us if we were praying the Jesus Prayer or saying the salutations to Panagia[the Theotokos]. He rarely talked, and only then if it were necessary. But he was constantly praying. He had found a peaceful spot in a small forest behind his hut where he could raise his hands to heaven for hours at a time and so with joy communicated with Jesus privately in prayer. And if one were to ask him where he had been delayed, he would reply, “I was at Gethsemane’s Garden; that’s where I was.””
– From An Athonite Gerontikon
Our Beloved Father Arsanios. May God rest his pure soul.
sometimes we might get distracted with the superficial stuff, the traditions, our rules, don’t forget the basics. the essence of life. the very reason you breathe. GOD’S LOVE
“Blessed is he who has built his own altar and sanctified its holies within him” St.John Saba, the Spiritual Elder
I am the Temple of the Living God
Our Lady of Sorrows
“Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Lk 2:34-35)
O Mary . . . a terrible sword has pierced your holy soul. Except for God, no one knows of your suffering. Your soul does not break; it is brave, because it is with Jesus. Sweet Mother, unite my soul to Jesus, because it is only then that I will be able to endure all trials and tribulations, and only in union with Jesus will my sacrifices be pleasing to God. Sweetest Mother, continue to teach me about the interior life. May the sword of suffering never break me. O pure Virgin, pour courage into my heart and guard it. –Prayer of St. Faustina to the Sorrowful Mother (Diary 915)
Imitate the Publican and you will not be condemned with the Pharisee. Choose the meekness of Moses and you will find your heart which is a rock changed into a spring of water St. Syncletica
In the following, think of the simplicity of the earliest Christians. They lived the faith and this was how Christianity was spread. They had no scholarly papers, not even a Bible. They heard, believed and lived the truths that were taught them. It is worthwhile to reflect on this simplicity. It is the same simplicity exhibited by the life of Elder Porphyrios.
Matthew the Poor wrties,
If we look back to the early days of the Church, we are astonished at its power, especially that of the newly-founded Churches. In spite of the fact that the people were simple and ignorant of the Bible… their spiritual life and their demonstrations of faith, love, and zeal were fine examples of a powerful life lived according to the precepts of the Gospel… Even up to the present time, we still draw on their faith and tradition, and understand only with difficulty the letters that were written to them, which they understood easily and lived out.
Those simple people understood the Gospel. They understood the Gospel. They understood that it was a life to be lived, not principles to be discussed, and they refused to understand it on a purely academic level. Up to this day, faithful followers of Christ still draw life for themselves from the living spring of the understanding of those early Christians.
These early communities, burning with love for Christ, had no creeds, no patrology, no expositions of Scripture, but the few words of Christ that reached their ears immediately became their creed, needing no explanations or teaching or interpretation, but needing, as they saw it, to be experienced and lived. Through experience they would discover the power of the words and bring to light the mysteries they contained. And so their zeal and love and faith in Christ and the Gospel would grow.
When they heard “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” they sold everything and laid their money at the feet of the apostles.
When they heard “Blessed are those who mourn now,” they despised all suffering and weariness in the service of the Lord.
When they heard “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’sake,” they bore the cruellest humiliations and insults and attacks.
When they heard “Watch and pray,” they met in the catacombs to watch and pray all night.
When they heard “Love your enemies,” history recorded no resistance put up by the Christians, whether positive or negative, against their persecutors. And they bowed their necks to the sword in humility and obedience to honor the word of Christ.
This was for them the meaning of reading the Gospel and understanding it. There was born in them a hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God, and this is why the Holy Spirit was at His most active in working with them. He would give power to the word, strengthen their hearts, support them in weakness, lead them in the darkness, comfort them in distress, and accompany them along the way till they gave up their spirit into the hand of its Creator with great glory.
This is our challenge. We must learn to thirst after God, to love him with our whole hearts, to desire to follow His commandments, to have a feeling of contriteness when we cannot do as He wishes us, to ask forgiveness, to seek with zeal ways to change our behavior. With our love of Him comes His grace to aid us in loving others. This is what is necessary for an Orthodox Way of Life.
Reference: The Communion of Love, by Matthew the Poor.