Tuesday, February 3 / January 21 (Church Calendar)
Saints of the Day
January 21 / February 3. St. Maximus the Confessor [Heb 11:33-40; Lk 12:8-12]. Martyr Neophytus of Nicaea. Martyrs Eugene, Candidus, Valerian and Aquila at Trebizond. Martyr Anastasius, disciple of St. Maximus the Confessor. Virgin Martyr Agnes of Rome. St. Neophytus of Vatopedi (Mt. Athos). St. Maximus the Greek. Synaxis of the Church of the Holy Peace by the Sea in Constantinople. Repose of desert-dweller Timon of Nadeyev (1840).
Thought for the Day
Many years ago I taught in a small college, and can still remember, with great fondness, many of my students. Although I loved them all, I did have my favorites, especially those who challenged me with their inquisitive minds. These students kept me on my toes, and forced me to be fully prepared for each class. They came to class prepared, having read their assignments, and finished their papers. It was a joy to teach a class wherein students would push my own limits. Their enthusiasm, sparked my own. These were the students who expected more from their professors than simply someone who repeated material from the textbook. They wanted a lecture that challenged them, and would stretch their minds.
I respected them, and they knew I respected them. I never talked down to them, and always listened to their ideas and suggestions. They knew I valued them as individuals with good minds and good hearts, and because of the good relationship we shared, we all learned together, and grew together. Since I came fully prepared for all my classes, I was always able to impart information they did not know. Yet, because they also had insights to share with me, we all came away, having learned something.
Young people are filled with ideas, dreams, goals, and their youthful exuberance is full of hope and vitality. It is with this very energy and vitality, hope and dreams, and even innocence, that young people will be bringing to the table, as they begin to replace the present generation, as leaders of this world.
What will they have received from us, that will enable them to be the very best leaders for the future? I believe the most important gift we can impart to these young people, is the gift of Faith. I believe the best way to impart this gift, is by loving them, respecting them, and, most importantly, demonstrating the truth of our faith, by living it! We must be authentic Christians, before they will want to emulate us. If they see not Christ in us, but only posturing, they will see nothing they want. They must see, in us, a people who are changed by their relationship with Christ. They must see Christ in us, loving them, and reaching out with respect and hope. They must see us as prayerful people, who truly have a relationship with Christ.
It is not enough to be regular church attenders, if we do not fully live our Orthodoxy throughout the week. If our Orthodoxy does not extend beyond the door of the temple, we will have failed them. If our Orthodoxy is no deeper than an “ethnic preservation society”, we will have failed them, and they will not want what we have.
We are all living in very difficult times, with economic hardship all around us. The economy is failing, institutions are collapsing, unemployment is spreading, and many are loosing all hope. Respected corporate leaders have been exposed as thieves, men driven by greed. Political leaders are seen as self-serving, do nothings.
The day of reckoning is upon is, and we must step up to the challenge. Nothing new is happening in our present age, that has not happened in ages past. And, just as it was men and women, saints even, who brought past generations out of darkness and despair, so too must this older generation come forth with hope and faith, bringing the light of Christ to an age that is fast loosing hope. Since many of our young are being forced to drop out of college, due to economic hardship, and are facing bleak prospects for their future, they must see in us, hope. The only hope for this world is to be found in Christ, so now is the time for a new Age of Faith. Only in Christ will the world find true wealth, and lasting peace. Let the light of Christ shine forth throughout the world, in us! Let our young see the joy of Christ in us, lighting the way to true happiness and everlasting prosperity. Let them see in us, hope.
With love and blessings to all+
Scripture Readings for the Day
1 Peter 2:9-22
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
Living Before the World
11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Submission to Government
13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
Submission to Masters
18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. 19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
22 “Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
9 “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
Photo of the Day
Afternoon sun over the monastery’s temple.