Waging war against the flesh
Since the eyes and the ears are the doors of the soul, an Orthodox Christian must not leave the body without attention. Unlike the religion of Gnosticism, which teaches the separation of soul and body, with the physical world being evil and something to be overcome, historic Christianity teaches the unity the body and soul, with the physical world being transformed and made anew in Christ. This means that, while caring about one’s soul, an Orthodox Christian must not leave the body without attention.
The body is given over to temptation, which is rooted in the mind. As Christians we know that we must never play with temptations, for in doing so we have already fallen half-way. Thus, an Orthodox Christian who takes his salvation seriously would never partake in seductive dances, or enter into flirtation as though it were a sport, for he would know this to be a dangerous game.
Temptations gain hold when we entertain dirty thoughts and ideas, sometimes by allowing our eyes and ears to entertain things that can overcome our will, causing us to fall. It is much easier to stop a temptation in the beginning, than to do battle with a seductive idea once it has gained entry. A person who wants to prevent a burglary makes every effort to prevent a burglar from gaining entrance in the first place. Like taking precautions that will prevent a burglary, we must never allow ourselves to entertain temptations, for that would be like inviting a criminal into your home with the intent of trying to talk him out of steal from you.
Many are convinced that sexual needs are so insurmountable in strength, as to make it impossible to resist. This is only the case when we habitually give in the the passions, and avoid using the tools given to us by the Church to bring our body into submission. If we observe the periods of fasting, especially the Wednesday and Friday days of abstinence, eat moderate amounts of food, avoid the overuse of alcoholic, and say no to drugs, we will have taken a big step forward in our struggle with lust. Remember, a healthy body contributes to the health of the soul.
Finally, it is good to take to heart the advice of Saint Ephraim of Syrian, “Think about the good so as not to think about the bad.” Guard against spending time with people whose jokes and story-telling are occasions for sinful thoughts, and avoid bad company, for “Bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33).”
With love in Christ,
Wednesday October 24, 2018 / October 11, 2018
22nd Week after Pentecost. Tone four.
Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Holy Apostle Philip of the Seventy, one of the seven deacons (1st c.).
Venerable Theophanes the Confessor and Hymnographer, bishop of Nicaea (850).
Venerable Leonid of Optina (1841).
Synaxis of the Saints of Optina: St. Leonid (repose) (1841), St. Macarius (1860), St. Moses (1862), St. Anthony (1865), St. Hilarion (1873), St. Ambrose (1891), St. Anatole (the “Elder”) (1894), St. Isaac I (1894), St. Joseph (1911), St. Barsanuphius (1913), St. Anatole (the “Younger”) (1922), St. Nektary (1928), St. Nikon the Confessor (1931), New Hieromartyr Archimandrite Isaac II (1937).
New Hieromartyrs Philaret and Alexander priests (1918).
New Hieromartyr Juvenalius (Maslovsky) bishop of Riazan (1937).
Venerable Theophanes, faster of the Kiev Caves (12th c.).
Martyrs Zenaida (Zenais) and Philonilla of Tarsus in Cilicia (1st c.).
Sts. Nectarius (397), Arcadius (405), and Sinisius (427), patriarchs of Constantinople.
St. Gommar, patron of Lier (775) (Neth.).
Venerable Ethelburga, abbess of the monastery of Barking (England) (676) (Celtic & British.).
Venerable Cainnech (Kenneth), abbot of Aghaboe (Ireland) (600) (Celtic & British).
St. Philotheus (Kokkinos) of Mt. Athos, patriarch of Constantinople (1379).
Commemoration of the miracle from the Icon of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Beirut of Phonecia.
The Scripture Readings
17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
The Christian Home
18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.
20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.
21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
Christian Graces; Final Greetings
4 Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
Wind and Wave Obey Jesus
22 Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. 23 But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. 24 And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”
Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 But He said to them, “Where is your faith?”
And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!”