We must put off the old self
As we struggle to make spiritual progress we do battle with the old self. We work against old habits that have kept us stuck and prevented the change we so desire in our quest for communion with God. Our sins and passions have become familiar to us, almost like old friends, and laziness sets in. We have become comfortable with the way we are and change seems like too much work.
Spiritual laxity and sinful habits must be confronted with a renewed commitment to live as a child of God. This struggle comes with a price tag, requiring real work on our part. The Kingdom of Heaven must be taken by storm, but this struggle does not require us to battle on our own, for the Holy Spirit empowers us with the grace sufficient to win the battle over the old self. In Christ we become new creatures and the old self is put aside.
With love in Christ,
Photo: My last morning in the Serbian Monastery of the Holy Protection in Third Lake, Illinois. My old friend, Hieromonk Mark, is serving Matins.
Wednesday May 17, 2017 / May 4, 2017
Apodosis of Prepolovenie. Tone four.
Fast. Fish Allowed
Virgin-martyr Pelagia of Tarsus in Asia Minor (287).
New Hieromartyr John priest (1942).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas diacon (1943).
The Alfanov brothers: Venerables Nicetas, Cyril, Nicephorus, Clement, and Isaac of Novgorod, founders of the Sokolnitzki Monastery (1389).
Hieromartyr Erasmus, bishop of Formia in Campania (303).
Hieromartyr Albian (Olbian), bishop of Anaea in Asia Minor (304).
Hieromartyr Silvanus of Gaza and with him 40 martyrs (311).
Icon of the Mother of God “Staro Rus” Old Russian (1570).
Venerables Aphrodisius, Leontius, Anthony, Valerian, Macrobius, and others, monks of Palestine.
Translation of the relics of the Righteous Lazarus and Mary Magdalene, Equal-to-the-Apostles.
St. Nicephorus, abbot of Medikion.
St. Ethelred, king of Mercia and monk in England (716) (Celtic & British).
Venerable Nicephorus the Solitary of Mt. Athos, the spiritual father of St. Gregory Palamas (1340) (Greek).
St. Athanasius, bishop of Corinth (10th – 11th c.) (Greek).
Venerable Hilary the Wonderworker of the desert (Greek).
St. Monica of Tagaste (mother of Blessed Augustine) (387).
Martyr Florian and 40 companions, at Lorsch, Austria (304).
The Scripture Readings
At Antioch in Pisidia
13 Now when Paul and his party set sail from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia; and John, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem. 14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down. 15 And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, “Men andbrethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.”
16 Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen: 17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He brought them out of it. 18 Now for a time of about forty years He put up with their ways in the wilderness. 19 And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them by allotment.
20 “After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. 21 And afterward they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after Myown heart, who will do all My will.’ 23 From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior—Jesus—24 after John had first preached, before His coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” 6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.
7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”
8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”
10 Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”