The Lord’s Sweetness

“I tell you, laborers in Christ’s vineyard who are working out your salvation in the Lord, do not think that you will ever exhaust all the Lord’s sweetness. No! He is an inexhaustible abyss of sweetness. If the entire heavenly and earthly worlds were to strive persistently to know Him, even then He would only reveal to them, more and more, His Wisdom and Love, which would ascend from strength to strength, from perfection to perfection; and out of rapture and reverence, people would cry out eternally like the angels: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord; heaven and earth are full of His glory. Alleluia!…” …A heart that is broken and humbled takes place of all rules for him and, walking in the light of God, he directly draws closer to God, to His embrace, which reaches out to men. Let us soften our hearts and humble them – and they will teach us everything. Amen”       — St. Gabriel of the Seven Lakes Monastery

My God, My God

“My God, my God, great and wondrous areThy works.  Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest Light inaccessible.  My fathers trusted in Thee, and Thou didst deliver them. They cried unto Thee, and were delivered. But I am a worm, and no man;   A reproach of men, and despised of the people. But Thou art He that took me out of the womb;                   Thou art my God from my mother’s belly. Be not far from me and I will declare Thy name unto my brethren.”    — St. Sophrony of Essex —

In His Image

Every human person, created in the image of Christ, is unique and unrepeatable. We must strive to see the eternal worth of everyone – every single soul – no matter how difficult the character, extent of personal failings, or depth of spiritual flaws: “Perfect love presupposes that you love all men equally. (St. Maximus the Confessor)”            

— Dr. Boosalis (Theology professor, St. Tikhon’s Seminary)

Like Christ

Let us become like Christ, since Christ also became like us. Let us become gods because of Him, since He also because of us, became human.”                        

+ St. Gregory the Theologian+

Prayer at Daybreak

O Eternal King without beginning, Thou who art before all worlds, my Maker, who hast summoned all things from non-being into this life: Bless this day that Thou, in Thine inscrutable goodness, hast given to me. By the power of Thy blessing, enable me at all times in this coming day to speak and act for thee, to Thy glory, in Thy fear, according to Thy will, with a pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage, wisdom and prayer, aware everywhere of Thy presence.

 Yea, Lord, in Thine immense mercy, lead me by Thy Holy Spirit into every good work and word, and grant me to walk all my life long in Thy sight without stumbling, according to Thy righteousness, which Thou hast revealed to us, that I add not to my transgressions.

 O Lord, great in mercy, spare me who am perishing in wickedness; hide not Thy face from me. And when my perverted will would lead me down other paths, forsake me not, my Savior, but force me back to Thy holy path.

 O good One, to Whom all hearts are open, Thou knowest my poverty and my foolishness, my blindness and my uselessness, but the sufferings of my soul are also before thee. Wherefore I beseech thee: Hear me in my affliction and fill me with Thy strength from above. Raise me up who am paralyzed with sin, and deliver me who am enslaved to the passions. Heal me from every hidden wound. Purify me from all taint of flesh and spirit. Preserve me from every inward and outward impulse that is unpleasing in Thy sight and hurtful to my brother.

 I beseech thee: establish me in the path of Thy commandments and to my last breath let me not stray from the light of Thine ordinances, so that Thy commandments may become the sole law of my being in this life and in all eternity.

 O God, my God, I plead with Thee for many and great things: do not disregard me. Cast me not away from thy presence because of my presumption and boldness, but by the power of Thy love lead me in the path of Thy will. Grant me to love Thee as Thou hast commanded, with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind, and with all my strength: with my whole being.

 For Thou alone art the holy protection and all-powerful defender of my life, and to thee I ascribe glory and offer my prayer.

 Grant me to know Thy truth before I depart this life. Maintain my life in this world until I may offer thee true repentance. Take me not away in the midst of my days, and when thou art pleased to bring my life to an end, forewarn me of my death, that I may prepare my soul to come before Thee.

 Be with me then, O Lord, on my great and sacred day, and grant me the joy of Thy salvation. Cleanse me from manifest and secret sins, from all iniquity hidden in me; and give me a right answer before Thy dread judgment-seat. Amen.

Dejection into Joy

“Many of our saints changed dejection into joy through their love for Christ. In other words, they took this spiritual force which the devil wished to destroy and gave it to God, transforming it into joy and exultation. Prayer and the worship of God gradually transforms dejection and turns it into joy.”     – Venerable Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia

Treasure in Faith

What a great treasure our faith is! It brings us peace, consolation and delight in all circumstances! A faithful Christian will always say with the holy apostle: “Being reviled, we bless, being persecuted, we suffer it, being defamed, we intreat.” Glory to God for all things!

      – St. Afanasy (Sakharov)   

Plenteous Mercy

Definitely, we ought to remember our sins, our unreadiness to give the answer; we ought to be contrite, but we should not be despondent. With God, there is plenteous mercy.                        – St. Afanasy (Sakharov)  

Elder Sophrony – Memory Eternal

“My dear brethren, Christ our God is the sign of God for all the generations of this age, because in His word we find salvation and the solution of every human problem. But the saints of God are also a sign for their generation. Such a Father God gave us in the person of Fr. Sophrony. In his word we found the solution to our problems. And now we must do as the Liturgy teaches us, that is, “to give thanks” and “to make entreaty”, “to supplicate”. Therefore, let us give thanks to God who has given us such a Father…”

      – Archimandrite Zacharias

(speaking at the end of Divine Liturgy after hearing of Elder Sophrony’s repose)                    

Mother of God

Today the faithful celebrate the feast with joy illumined by thy coming, O Mother of God. Beholding thy pure image we fervently cry to thee: “Encompass us beneath the precious veil of thy protection; deliver us from every form of evil by entreating Christ, thy Son and our God that He may save our souls.

      Troparion for Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos –

Celebrated on October 1