Saturday, October 13, 2012

The True Christian is a Warrior


Sin, to one who loves God, is nothing other than an arrow from the enemy in battle. The true Christian is a warrior fighting his way through the regiments of the unseen enemy to his heavenly homeland. According to the word of the Apostle, our homeland is in heaven; and about the warrior he says: we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph.6: 12)].

- St. Herman of Alaska

The True Christian


The true Christian tests himself every day. Daily testing to see whether we have become better or worse, is so essential for us that without it we cannot be called Christians. Constantly and persistently we must take ourselves in hand. Do this: from the morning establish thoughts about the Lord firmly in your mind and then during the whole day resist any deviation from these thoughts.

Whatever you are doing, with whomever you are speaking, whether you are going somewhere or sitting, let your mind be with the Lord. You will forget yourself, and stray from this path; but again turn to the Lord and rebuke yourself with sorrow. This is the podvig of spiritual attentiveness.

- Saint Theophan the Recluse

Turn to God


Why do you fall into the destruction of the devil through him and with him? Preserve the sublime nature with which you were born. Persevere just as you were made by God. Establish your soul with the state of your face and body. That you may be able to know God, know yourself first. Abandon the idols which human error invented. Turn to God, and if you implore Him, He comes to your aid. Believe in Christ whom the Father sent to quicken and restore us.

- St. Cyprian of Carthage

'' As I find you, so will I judge you "

St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom commented on the following saying of our Lord, “As I find you, so will I judge you,” (Ezekiel 33:20) saying that forgetting to practice the smallest of the Commandments of our Lord is all that is sufficient to send one to Gehenna and exclude us from the kingdom of heaven.

Think about this for a moment. How many of us are ignoring the reality of our sinfulness? How many blame others for our shortcomings? How much time to spend complaining about what others do? Do we spend the same amount of time thinking about our own actions?

Saint Basil of Poiana Marului says the following,
Yes, we sin every day, at times unconsciously or out of forgetfulness, without intending to or involuntarily, or because of weakness we sin every day willingly and unwillingly. Because of our human nature and weakness we sin every day willingly and unwillingly. Is this not what the apostle Paul refers to when he says, “I do what I do not want and what I do not want is what I do” (Romans 7:15)? All of us commit excusable sins without asking to be excused.
Or rather, we fall into sins that can be forgiven and yet we feel no contrition and thus become guilty of God's judgment and bring God's wrath upon ourselves. In the words of an ancient saying, “we have made a habit of sitting with her own free will”–– that is, we are consciously aware of committing sins and have developed the habit of sitting with our own free will.
The recognition of the reality of our sinfulness, the fact that we do sin many times each and every day, is the starting point for our salvation. It is important for us to recognize that we must continually ask the Lord for forgiveness as well as those whom we transgress. Saaint Basil tells us that “we should ask forgiveness of our fellow man face-to-face and beg forgiveness of God with the intellect and secret.”

We all have particular passions that we have grown up with, that have given us great pleasures, that we have continued to nurture and develop habitually. This passion will be different for each individual. For one person it may be an insatiable appetite for food, for another love of money, anger, self-esteem, arrogance or others. All of these increase over time through habit. St. Hesychios reminds us what the great lawgiver Moses teaches when he says, “Pay attention to yourself so that you have no secret thoughts in your heart” (Deuteronomy 15:9).
Needless to say, it is imperative that we learn to closely examine ourselves each and every day. It is a matter of recognizing that we have weaknesses and that we need to pray to God continually with a broken heart and the contrite spirit. We must avoid accusing others but instead forgive others as this is what is pleasing to God. With our forgiveness of others and our recognition of our own weaknesses God will forgive us through his great mercy.

Our challenge in the spiritual life is to live the Commandments that Christ has given to us; all of them all of the time. We need to work at this with the best of our ability, recognizing that we are not fully capable of doing this. Because of this imperfect condition, we need to always be repentant and seeking forgiveness from others and our Lord.

This is an issue of obedience. We must learn to become obedient to God's commandments not to our own self-gratification. Saint Basil points out that in these times there is a widespread practice of being obedient for human reasons. This is where we use our obedience to get a promotion or earn a favor of any kind. This is how we learn to survive in the modern workplace. We become obedient to the organizations rules and norms and learn to do what we are asked for the benefit of those who are paying us. We know about obedience and have the ability for it. Our challenge is to transfer this skill we have learned to use for our own benefit, to follow God's commandments in the same way.

Saint Basil points out,
“one who forces himself in obedience for Christ alone and submits themselves to his precepts will find relief from his passions. The one who forces himself for the things of the world hoping to obtain prestige and riches along with physical pleasures is unaware of his burden. This is why the fathers rightly say that there is obedience for God's sake and obedience for the devil's sake.... As for us, let us force ourselves to demonstrate the power of obedience for the sake of God."
He also shows us that the most powerful way to deal with this weakness is the practice of what we know as the Jesus Prayer. He says, if we turn to God saying with our mind,
"'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner,' beyond all doubt this will obtain forgiveness of sins for him, and with this prayer also he will fulfill his entire rule, following the example of that widow of the Gospel who used to cry out to the judge day and night claiming her do (Luke 18:1–8 ).
The Jesus Prayer had its beginnings in the days of the apostles. It has been practiced by the Saints since that time. Many of them have written much about this practice. It is a common practice within the Orthodox Tradition.

The practice of the Jesus prayer, does not come without effort. We have to commit ourselves to a daily prayer rule were we repeat this prayer over and over and over each and every day. By doing this this, prayer becomes ingrained, etched, programed in our physical brain, so that when it's needed, it is instantly available to us. Living a life with this prayer at the tip of our tongue is the easiest way to constantly be reconciled to our God.

The first step that we must make is to recognize of our nature. We must acknowledge that we are continually, both willfully and unknowably, using our free will to act against the Commandments of our Lord. We also must recognize that our Lord is most merciful and wants to give us help. The only way that we will receive this help is through a life of continual repentance. He has given to us the Jesus Prayer as a powerful way for us to learn to practice obedience to his commands.

Christ and the End of Satan’s Dominion ( St. Nikolai Velimirovic )

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich
"O thou enemy, thy destructions are come to a perpetual end, even as the cities which thou hast destroyed; thy memorial is perished with a roar" (Psalm 9:6).
The enemy of the human race, the murderer of men from the very beginning, has used every weapon and intrigue against man. He thinks up new weapons and new intrigues day and night, in order to destroy someone as a roaring lion, "seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8). He hides like a poisonous snake and awaits his prey; he stretches his webs everywhere, like a spider, with the sole purpose of ensnaring some human soul and entrapping it in his foul kingdom.
Pagan peoples were his cities. Until the coming of Christ, he ruled untroubled and absolutely in them. When they served idols, they served him; the practices of soothsaying and fortune-telling served him; he protected, directed and enhanced men’s unbridled licentiousness; human sacrifice, fiery passions, discord, war, evildoings of all descriptions – this was all pleasure for him. But in the end, no weapons remained in him; his "cities" were destroyed and his memorial is perished with a roar.

This "end" of which the prophet speaks is the coming of Jesus Christ the Lord into the world. The Lord manifested His power over the devil when He overcame his temptations on the mountain. He manifested His authority in driving demons out of men, commanding them to go this way or that; He manifested His invincible lordship over sin and death by His suffering and Resurrection. And, what is perhaps most important, He harrowed hell and scattered the demonic power. He did not desire to utterly destroy the demons, but to disperse them and smash their weapons; He smashed them and scattered them as He later did the Jews, but more terribly than He did the Jews. He freed the people from their domination; and even more importantly, He gave men authority over the demons, such that they can drive the demons out by the power of His name.
 Do you see how the Lord linked His victory over the demons with His mercy toward men? He so weakened and broke them, He so confused and dispersed them, that He placed them under the authority of men. Even so, the Lord did not grant authority over demons to all men, but only to those who believe in Him and who follow His commandments. He gave them authority, and He also gave them a weapon. That weapon is the Cross.
O Lord our God, our Savior from the dominion of the devil, help us also to do that "least part" that Thou hast left us to do. To Thee be glory and praise forever.  Amen.

How often our church life is just a matter of habit! ( Fr. Seraphim Rose )

Every Orthodox Christian is placed between two worlds: this fallen world where we try to work out our salvation, and the other world, heaven, the homeland towards which we are striving and which, if we are leading a true Christian life, gives us the inspiration to live from day to day in Christian virtue and love.

But the world is too much with us. We often, and in fact nowadays we usually forget the heavenly world. The pressure of worldliness is so strong today that we often lose track of what our life as a Christian is all about.

 Even if we may be attending church services frequently and consider ourselves “active” church members, how often our churchliness is only something external, bound up with beautiful services and the whole richness of our Orthodox tradition of worship, but lacking in real inner conviction that Orthodoxy is the faith that can save our soul for eternity, lacking in real love for and commitment to Christ, the incarnate God and Founder of our faith.

 How often our church life is just a matter of habit, something we go through outwardly but which does not change us inwardly, does not make us grow spiritually and lead us to eternal life in God.

- Fr. Seraphim Rose

Θεραπεία της μοναξιάς (ΑΝ ΕΙΣΑΙ ΜΟΝΟΣ...)




- ν εσαι μόνος…

ν εσαι μόνος δελφέ, ρπαξε τν εκαιρία. νάπεμπε μνους στν Τρισάγιο Θεό μας. Δόξαζέ Τον πολλς φορς στν διάρκεια τς μέρας, διότι κάποιοι λλοι Τν βρίζουν κα Τν βλασφημον (καθημερινς). μνει τν Παναγία μας, λέγε τος Χαιρετισμούς της. Εναι ργο γγελικό. Τώρα δν χεις πλέον λλες μέριμνες κα φροντίδες οκογενειακές. σως εσαι κα συνταξιοχος. κμεταλλεύσου τν περίστασι. γίαζε τ
ν χρόνο σου.

σελθε ες τ «ταμεον» σου [σε ένα ήσυχο σημείο ή "στην καρδιά σου"] κα προσεύχου, δελφέ μου, μν μελες ατ τ καθκον. χομε εθύνη γι τν κατάστασι πο πικρατε
γύρω μας.

Προσεύχου γι
λο τν κόσμο, γι τν ταλαίπωρη πατρίδα μας πο τν συκοφάντησαν, ν᾿ ναστηθ κα πάλι. Γι τν μετάνοια κα συντριβ τν ρθοδόξων

᾿ ατος πο γωνίζονται στν πρώτη γραμμ —γι ν κρατήσουν τν ρθόδοξη πίστι λώβητη π τος ποικιλώνυμους χθρούς της κα διαιτέρως π τν παναίρεσι το οκουμενισμο— κα πολεμονται λυσσωδ

᾿ ναδειχθον κι λλοι μολογητα τς ρθοδόξου πίστεως κα εράρχες ξιοι «πόμενοι τος
γίοις πατράσι».

σε τν τηλεόρασι· δν σο
προσφέρει τίποτε.

προσεύχου, δελφέ μου, κάνεις πολ σπουδαο

τν λληνορθόδοξη οκογένεια, ν μ χάσ τν δομή της· ν μν σαλευθον τ
θεμέλιά της.

τος σθενες, γι τος γέροντες κα τος διακονητές τους, γι δύναμι κα

τος νοσηλευομένους στς ντατικς κλινικές, γι

τος γιατρος κα νοσηλευτάς, ν τος φωτίζ Θες ν δίνουν τς κατάλληλες διαγνώσεις, ν κάνουν σωστς

Προσεύχου γι
τος κπαιδευτικούς μας, ν μεταφέρουν τ λληνοχριστιανικ δεώδη, τ δανικ τς φυλς, στ παιδιά μας. Ν μείνουν ρθιοι στς πάλξεις, στ καθκον, στν ποστολή τους.

Γι τος ργαζομένους, γι τος πολλος νέργους, γι τος πογοητευμένους, ν μ χάσουν τν λπίδα τους στ Θε κα λθουν σ πόγνωσι.

Γι τος φυλακισμένους, μάλιστα δ δι τος δίκως φυλακισμένους, γι᾿ ατος πο το
ς συμπαραστέκονται.

τ γκαταλελειμμένα, γι τ παραβατικ παιδιά. Γι τος νέους μας, γι τος ναρκομανες, γι τος πλανεμένους, ν βρον τν δ τ
ς σωτηρίας.

τος πολυτέκνους, γι το
ς χρεωμένους.

Προσεύχου γι
τν φύπνισι κα νότητα το ρθοδόξου λληνικο λαο

τ μικρ
ποίμνιο [δηλ. τους λίγους και απομονωμένους πιστούς].

τν προστασία πάντων μν π τ
περχόμενα δεινά!

τος μοναχικος νθρώπους, που κι ν βρίσκωνται, στν λλάδα στ

τν ερ κλρο· γι τος ργαζομένους πρ τς δόξης το Κυρίου μν ησο Χριστο

Κάνεις πολ

διαιτέρως γι τος κεκοιμημένους δελφούς μας, γι τν νάπαυσί τους· τ περιμένουν. Εναι καλύτερη λεημοσύνη κα

—Μελέτα τ
ν λόγο το Θεο, τν γία Γραφή! διαιτέρως τν Καιν Διαθήκη. μβάθυνε σ᾿ ατήν. Θ γλυκαίνεται « λάρυγξ» σου, θ φωτίζεται νος σου, θ ρεμ ψυχή σου. Καθς κα τ

ν εσαι μόνος, δελφέ, ν χς αλ μπαλκόνι, ρίξε λίγα ψίχουλα σ᾿ να σκεος, γι νά ρθουν περιστέρια λλα πετειν το ορανο· θ χς πολ καλ συντροφι κα θ
χαίρεσαι. Μίλα μαζί τους.

Φύτεψε κα
λίγα λουλούδια δένδρα, ν χς χρο, κα δόξαζε τ
ν Θεό.

γαθή Του Πρόνοια στν δυσκολία ρρώστια σου δν θ σ᾿ φήσ. Θ προνοήσ γι σένα. Πς εναι δυνατν ν σ᾿ γκαταλείψ; φο φροντίζει γι τ πετειν το ορανο· γι σένα τ πλάσμα τν χειρν του, τν λογικ νθρωπο, γι τν ποο χυσε τ αμα του πάνω στν σταυρό, θ᾿ διαφορήσ

σύ, μόνο, λπιζε ες Α

ν εσαι μόνος, δελφέ, χεις πολλ ν κάνς.


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