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Sunday, June 21, 2009

St Isaac the Syrian

No one ascends to heaven with comfort.

(Quoted by Patriarch Bartholomew in his book Encountering the Mystery)

Friday, June 19, 2009

St Ephrem

Immaculate and pure Virgin Mary, Mother of God, queen of the universe, you are above all the saints, the hope of the patriarchs and the joy of the saints.

Through you we have been reconciled with God. You are the only advocate of sinners and the safe refuge of those who sail the sea of life.

You are the consolation of the world, the ransom of captives, the joy of the sick, the comfort of the afflicted, the refuge and the salvation of the whole world.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Prayer of St Basil the Great

O Lord Almighty, God of Angelic hosts and of all flesh, that dwellest in the highest, and carest for the humble, that searchest the reins and the heart, and clearly discernest the hidden things of men, Light from eternity and ever-existent, with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning : Do thou, O King immortal, receive our prayers which we, trusting in the multitude of thy mercies, offer to thee at this present time from our soiled lips; forgive us our transgressions which we have committed knowingly or unknowingly in thought or word or deed; and cleanse us from all stain of body or soul. Grant us to pass through all the night of this present life with vigilant heart and sober thought, in expectancy of the coming of the bright and manifest day of thy Only-begotten Son, our Lord God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in which shall come with glory the Judgement of all men, when to each shall be given the reward of his works : may we not fall away into sloth, but take courage and, being roused to action, be found ready and enter into the joy and the divine bride-chamber of his glory, where the voice of those that feast is never silent, and the delight of those that behold the inexpressible beauty of thy countenance passeth all telling; for thou art the true Light that enlighteneth and sanctifieth every manner of thing, and thee doth every creature hymn. Amen.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Prayer by St Antiokh

O Almighty Lord, Word of the Father, Jesus Christ, who art thyself perfect, for thy great mercy's sake do thou never depart from me, thy servant, but ever abide in me. O Jesus, Good Shepherd of thy sheep, let me not fall into the disobedience of the serpent, nor leave me to the will of Satan, for the seed of corruption is in me. Do thou, therefore, O Lord God whom we worship, O Holy King Jesus, preserve me while I sleep with thy unchanging light, thy Holy Spirit, wherewith thou didst sanctify thy disciples. Grant, O Lord, even to me, thy unworthy servant, thy salvation upon my bed; enlighten my mind with the light of the understanding of thy holy Gospel, my soul with the love of thy Cross, my heart with the purity of thy Word, my body with thy passionless passion; preserve my thought in thy humility, and rouse me at the fit time to glorify thee. For thou art glorified above all, with thy Eternal Father and with the most Holy Spirit for evermore. Amen.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Staretz Silouan of Mount Athos

It is one thing to speak of God; it is quite another thing to know God.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Points to Remember

(from Archbishop Paul of Finland's The Faith We Hold, p. 90)

When you pray you meet the holy God in person.

In order to succeed in your life of prayer, try sincerely to make your conscience clear in relation to God, your neighbour and earthly possessions.

Nevertheless, do not hesitate to approach God in prayer, however bad you feel yourself to be; all our sins are but a drop compared to the ocean of God's love.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Our Inmost Self

It is just as impossible for a man to prevent thoughts as it is to stop the wind by spreading one's cloak. That is what an elder told his disciple. Nevertheless there is something essential that can be done. The elder explained it in the following parable: "You are walking along a road and come to a place where there is a restaurant. Enticing odors of food come from the restaurant. But still it rests with you whether you go in and have a meal or pass by." By enticing odors the elder meant involuntary bad thoughts that enter our consciousness. We can stop to examine them: then we "go in"; in other words, we take a liking to them and admit them into our hearts. Thus we have already sinned in our thoughts and hearts. But we can also "pass by," in which case the evil thought or image that passed our consciousness is not considered a sin.

Archbishop PAUL of Finland, The Faith We Hold (SVS Press, 1980), p. 68