Am I a real believer?
“Believe” is for me a sort of loaded word, since it usually means for a western-formed person a mainly intellectual activity. It seems to me that it more properly means a combination of love and trust. Perhaps the real sign that we are a believer is demonstrated in how we proclaim our love and mercy for those whom we come in contact with. In that context, everything good we do for others proclaims belief. And the fruits of that are evident around us all the time.
Is it not possible that those moments when we are struggling with belief are simply brought on when we are feeling numb from the pain, attacks and betrayals that we’ve endured, sometimes even within the life of the Church? Can it perhaps be that what we feel when alone is the result of this, rather than disbelief? I would venture to suggest that this is a time when we are being carried in the Saviour’s Arms.
I recall Metropolitan Philip’s saying that “Orthodoxy is the right Faith for the wrong people. Ironically, when we come to the Church, it is easy to become the wrong people!”
With love in Christ,
Photos: Interior photos of our Monastery’s library and parlor.
Saturday December 2, 2017 / November 19, 2017
26th Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Nativity (St. Philip’s Fast). Fish Allowed
Prophet Obadiah (Abdias) (9th c. B.C.).
Martyr Barlaam of Caesarea in Cappadocia (304).
Venerables Barlaam and loasaph, prince of India, and St. Abenner the King, father of St. loasaph (4th c.).
St. Philaret, metropolitan of Moscow (1867).
New Hieromartyr priest John Vishnevsky (1920).
New Hieromartyrs Porphirius (Gulevich) bishop of Simpheropol an Crimeria, Ioasaph (Udalov) bishop of Chistopol, deacon Antonius (Korzh), monk Barpholomeus (Ratnykh), priest Vladimir Pischulin, archpriest Demetrius Kiranov, priest John Bliumovich, archpriest Nicholas Mezentsev, priest Thimoty Izotov (1937).
New Hieromartyrs Sergius Mikhaev, Michael Dmitriev, Alexandra Mishutina, John Malinovsky, Constantine Mikhailovsy, Alexander Serebrov, Ignatius Teslin, John Piramidin, Simeon Krivosheev, John Florovky, Jacob Briliantov, Demetrius Kuklin, Jacob Peredery priests, New Hieromartyrs Ioasaph Krimzin, Gennady Rebeza, Peter Mamontov, Gerasim Sukhov, Michael Kvanin, Martyr Valentine Kornienko, Peter Antonov, Leonid Salkov, Thimoty Kucherov (1937).
Venerable Barlaam, abbot of the Kiev Caves (1065).
Uncovering of the relics (1626) of Monk-martyr Adrian, abbot of Poshekhonye (1550).
Martyr Azes of Isauria, and with him 150 soldiers (284).
Martyr Heliodorus in Pamphylia (273).
Venerable Hilarion of Georgia, wonderworker of Thessalonica (875) (Georgia).
“The Joy of All who Sorrow” (1863) Icon of the Mother of God.
St. Patroclus of Bourges (577) (Gaul).
St. Egbert, archbishop of York (766) (Celtic & British).
Martyr Agapius of Gaza (306).
St. Simon, wonderworker of Calabria (10th c.).
Martyrs Anthimus, Thalalaeus, Christopher, Euphemia and her children (Greek).
Martyr Pancharius (Greek).
Martyr Barlaam of Antioch (Greek).
St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia (1991).
The Scripture Readings
8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
The Law Brings a Curse
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
The Cost of Discipleship
57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”
58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”
But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”
62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”