In an age of unbelief it can be a struggle to submit to the laws of the Church. When the society around us regards the Church’s laws and traditions unfavorably, we can easily give in to thinking the same thing, and disregard the canons and statutes of the Church of Christ. If our work associates and friends, or even family members, think our adherence to the periods of fasting is extreme, we can find ourselves giving in to peer pressure, just as children are known to do. If our taking time out from work to attend special feast day services is criticized by co-workers as being excessive, do we decline to ask for the day off for the next feast day?
If we allow ourselves to choose the traditions and societal structures of those around us, in preference to the Church’s traditions, canons and laws, we will soon find ourselves betraying our Christian faith. Christianity was not meant to be easy, but is by nature compared to doing battle. If we desire the easy comforts and pleasures of this world, we will eventually lose the battle, and we will perish. If we prefer the laws of this world over the laws of the Church, in the end we will have lost that which is most essential and eternal in value.
In times of turmoil and earthly hardship will will find we have not built up the spiritual strength and fortitude to stand strong against the winds of destruction that lay hold our lives, and we will have lost the battle. Submitting to mere human traditions and authority, we will find that a thief will have taken the very treasure that is the Kingdom of God, and we will be left by the wayside, the Gates of Heaven having been closed to us.
If we revile the laws of the Church we will have reviled Christ Himself, Who is the Head of the Church. This is true because the laws of the Church were given by the Holy Spirit through the Apostles, and are therefore not simply the traditions of man. Let us not think we are great teachers of our own souls, but let us humbly call out together with the wise thief, Remember me, O Lord, in Thy kingdom!
With love in Christ,
Thursday August 7, 2014
9th Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
The Dormition of the Righteous Anna, mother of the Most Holy Theotokos.
Holy Women Olympias (Olympiada) the Deaconess of Constantinople (409), and the Virgin Eupraxia of Tabenna (413).
Venerable Macarius, abbot of Zheltovod and Unzha (1444).
New Hieromartyr Alexander priest (1927).
St. Gregory (Kallidis), metropolitan of Thessalonica and Heraclea (1925).
New Hieromartyrs Vukosav Milanovic and Rodoljub Samardzic of Kulen Bakufa, Serbia (1941-1945).
New Hieromartyr Theodore Tonkovid, priest of Lovets (Pskov) (1942).
St. Iraida confessor (1967).
Commemoration of the Holy 165 Fathers of the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553).
Martyrs Sanctus, Maturus, Attalus, Blandina, Vivlia, Vetius, Epagathus, Ponticus, Alexander and others at Lyons (177) (Gaul).
Venerable Christopher, abbot of Solvychegodsk (Vologda) (1572).
New Hieromartyrs Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, Nicholas (Johnson) and Peter (Remes).
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
1 Corinthians 14:6-19
Tongues Must Be Interpreted
6But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching? 7Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? 8For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? 9So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. 10There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance. 11Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me. 12Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.
13Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 14For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. 16Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? 17For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.
18I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; 19yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Jesus a Third Time Predicts His Death and Resurrection
17Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, 18“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, 19and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”
Greatness Is Serving
20Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.
21And He said to her, “What do you wish?”
She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”
22But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”
They said to Him, “We are able.”
23So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”
24And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. 25But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”