Holiness comes only to those who keep vigil
Not an hour should pass without taking time to examine our heart, for the hour of judgement can come at any time, and we must be ready to give account to God for our life. In the Gospel of Matthew (5:8), we read “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”. It is clear that without a humble and contrite heart we shall not see God.
Saint Isaac of Syria tells us, “No one has understanding if he is not humble, and he who lacks humility lacks understanding.” The prescription given to us by all the Holy Fathers point that discrimination and watchfulness are the path to achieve purity of heart, for someone who is proud, and who has not rooted out the sickness that is within his heart, will be unable to please God, for only holiness of life opens the doors to the Paradise that awaits us.
No spiritual improvement can be made if we do not seek to please God with holiness of life, yet any good in our deeds must be attributed to God. “There is none that doeth good, no not one (Romans 3:12)”, and “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not (Ecclesiastes 7:20)”.
If we find we’ve neglected our spiritual struggle, and acted with foolish abandon, we, in our weakness, must turn to God in repentance, and this can happen only with an hourly examination of the heart. We must resolve to turn ourselves around, with God’s help, and fight against the enemy of our souls, for holiness comes only to those who struggle.
With love in Christ,
Thursday February 12, 2015 / January 30, 2015
Week of the Prodigal Son. Tone two.
Synaxis of the Three Hierarchs: St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, and St. John Chrysostom.
Hieromartyr Hippolytus, pope of Rome, and with him Martyrs Censorinus, Sabinus, Ares, the Virgin Chryse, Martyrs Felix, Maximus, Herculianus, Venerius, Styracius, Mennas, Commodus, Hermes, Maurus, Eusebius, Rusticus, Monagrius, Amandinus, Olympius, Cyprus, Theodore the Tribune, Maximus the Presbyter, Archelaus the Deacon, and Cyriacus the Bishop, at Ostia (269).
Righteous Pelagia of Diveyevo (1884).
New Hieromartyr Vladimir priest (1933).
Martyr Stephen (1945).
Venerable Zeno the Faster of the Kiev Caves (14th c.).
Venerable Zeno, hermit of Antioch and disciple of St. Basil the Great (414).
Martyr Theophilus the New in Cyprus (784).
St. Peter, king of Bulgaria (969).
New Martyr Theodore of Mitylene (Mt. Athos) (1784) (Greek).
New Hieromartyrs Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich and Grand Duke Dmitry Konstantinovich, Eugene Poselianin (Pogozhev).
St. Adelgonda, foundress of Maubeuge (Neth.) (680).
St. Bathild, queen of France (680).
New Martyr Demetrius of Sliven (1841).
Concluding Religious Directions
7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.
10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Christ Fulfills the Law
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.