Fasting for the right reasons
The Lord condemned the Pharisee, not because he fasted, but because his motivation was based on pride. The Pharisee wished to be seen by men, and he had no fear of God. He dared to stand before the Lord in pride and arrogance, while the Publican stood afar off, beating his breast, begging for the Lord’s mercy. Whereas the Publican saw his sins, and repented, the Pharisee stood before the Lord in arrogance, thinking he was better than other men. He did not desire to commune with God, but to be honored by men.
As we who observe the Old Calendar begin the Dormition Fast, let us imitate the Publican, who saw himself as the worst of sinners, and who begged God’s forgiveness. Let us keep the fast, not to be seen by others, but to make way for the Lord. Let us shun meat, dairy, and fish, because we love God, and desire to be drawn closer to Him, emptying ourselves of earthly pleasures.
Let us embrace the Fast as an opportunity for self-limitation, abstinence and self-emptying. Let us bear the cross in self-crucifixion, dying to self as we put on Christ. We dare not think we are Christians if we refuse to fast, for bearing our cross is the only way we can be true followers of Christ.
Let us embrace the fast, knowing, “fasting appears gloomy until one steps into its arena. But begin and you will see what light it brings after darkness, what freedom from bonds, what release after a burdensome life… (Saint Theophan the Recluse).”
Finally, let us be mindful that, “fasts and vigils, the study of Scripture, renouncing possessions and everything worldly are not in themselves perfection, as we have said; they are its tools. For perfection is not to be found in them; it is acquired through them. It is useless, therefore, to boast of our fasting, vigils, poverty, and reading of Scripture when we have not achieved the love of God and our fellow men. Whoever has achieved love has God within himself and his intellect is always with God (St John Cassian).”
Love in Christ,
Friday August 15, 2014
10th Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Translation of the relics (428) of the Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen (428) and Translation of the relics (415) of the Righteous Nicodemus, Gamaliel, and Abibus.
Blessed Basil of Moscow, fool-for-Christ (1552).
New Hieromartyr Platon (1937).
Blessed Basil of Kuben Lake (1472).
Hieromartyr Stephen, pope of Rome (257).
St. Marco of Belavinsk (Vologda) (1492).
St. Friardus of Vindumitta (573) (Gaul).
Translation of the relics of Martyrs Maximus (286), Dada, and Quinctilian at Dorostolum in Moesia (Greek).
New Martyr Theodore of the Dardanelles (1690) (Greek).
Martyr Phocas (Greek).
You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.
“Blogs and social networks give us new opportunities for the Christian mission…Not to be present there means to display our helplessness and lack of care for the salvation of our brothers.” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill
The Scripture Readings for the Day
2 Corinthians 1:12-20
12For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you. 13For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end 14(as also you have understood us in part), that we are your boast as you also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Sparing the Church
15And in this confidence I intended to come to you before, that you might have a second benefit— 16to pass by way of you to Macedonia, to come again from Macedonia to you, and be helped by you on my way to Judea. 17Therefore, when I was planning this, did I do it lightly? Or the things I plan, do I plan according to the flesh, that with me there should be Yes, Yes, and No, No? 18But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. 20For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
The Sadducees: What About the Resurrection?
23The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 24saying: “Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 25Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. 26Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. 27Last of all the woman died also. 28Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.”
29Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. 31But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 32‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” 33And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.