Elder Ambrose of Optina Monastery said, “We should not forget that in our age of ‘sophistication’ even little children are spiritually harmed by what they see and hear. As a result, purification is required, and this is only accomplished through bodily suffering….You must understand that Paradisal bliss is granted to no one without suffering.”
A person has salvation not only by his good deeds, but also by his patient suffering of various griefs, illnesses, misfortunes, and failures (Luke 16:19-31, Mark 8:31-38, Romans 6:3-11, Hebrews 12:1-3, and Galatians 6:14). Jesus Christ gives us the power which is needed for transformation, and prepares us to live with a strength under the most difficult conditions, preparing us for the peace that is eternal.
Heaven and Hell are a condition of relationship with God that is either theosis or perdition. The lake of fire and heaven occur within the same realm, both being not about places, but about relationship. For one who hates God such a place as in the presence of God, will be eternal suffering. The Orthodox Church teaches that Heaven and Hell are in the same realm, and that Hell is not separation from God symbolically or physically, Hell is a place chosen.
Without suffering, we can not join ourselves to the cross, and when we do take up our cross in suffering, it is with our Co-Suffering Saviour. Sickness and suffering are not given to us by a wrathful and punitive God because we have sinned, but rather allowed by this loving God who co-suffers with us. It is Western juridical misconceptions concerning sin which has tended to distort a proper recognition of suffering and its connection to sin.
With love in Christ,
Friday May 30, 2014
Afterfeast of the Ascension. Tone five.
Fast. Fish Allowed
Apostle Andronicus of the Seventy and his fellow laborer Junia (1st c.).
Venerable Euphrosyne (Princess Eudocia) of Moscow (1407).
Martyrs Solochon, Pamphamer, and Pamphalon at Chalcedon (298).
St. Stephen, archbishop of Constantinople (893).
Translation of the relics (1551) of Venerable Adrian, abbot of Ondrusov (Valaam) (1549).
St. Melangell, virgin hermitess of Wales (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
Venerables Nectarius (1550) and Theophanes (1544) of Meteora (Greek).
Venerable Athanasius the New, wonderworker of Christianopolis (18th c.) (Greek).
Great-martyr Nicholas of Sophia (1555).
St. Jonah Atamansk, priest of Odessa (1924).
Hieromartyr Theodore of Vrsac in Banat, Serbia (1595).
St. Carantoc of Carhampton.
Martyr Vukasin of Serbia (1941).You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.
The Scripture Readings for the Day
Paul at Ephesus
19 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
3And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”
So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”
4Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”
5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. 7Now the men were about twelve in all.
8And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.
The Way, the Truth, and the Life
14 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
5Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
The Father Revealed
7“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
8Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
9Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.