The importance of the desert to the inner life
The Russian word, “Poustinia”, means “desert”, and the importance of the poustinia to the inner life can not be dismissed. If we are to hear the voice of God speaking to us, we must listen to His silence. If we are to learn to hear His voice, we must learn to be silent. Without recollection and silence, the inner life is impossible, and we will not make spiritual progress.
The desert must be a part of our daily living, for without entering into the desert of the heart, nothing can be gained. With the noise of the Internet, and the world of computers, iPods, laptops, and iPhones, the noise of the world threatens our soul like nothing in the previous history of humanity. The world of cybernetics has its place, but we must not allow it to overwhelm the spiritual dimension of our humanity.
With love in Christ,
Saturday September 21, 2019 / September 8, 2019
14th Week after Pentecost. Tone four.
The Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.
Saturday before the Universal Elevation of the Precious and Life-Creating Cross of the Lord
New Martyr Demetrius, priest (1937).
St. Ioane (Maisuradze) (1957) and St. Giorgi-Ioane (Mkheidze), (1960), confessors, of Georgia (Georgia).
New Martyr Alexander Jacobson at Solovki (1930).
Icon of Sophia, the Wisdom of God (Kiev).
Venerable Icons of the Nativity of Most Holy Mother of God Syamsk(1524), Glinsk (16th C), Lukianovsk (16th C), Isaacovsk (1659), Kholmsk, Kursk “Sign” Icon (1259), Pochaev (1559), Lesninsk, Domnitsk (1696).
Venerable Serapion, monk, of Spaso-Eleazar Monastery (Pskov) (1480).
Venerable Lucian, abbot of Alexandrov (1654).
Venerable Arsenius, abbot of Konevits (1447).
King Ina of Wessex and Queen Ethelburga (8th c.) (Celtic & British).
New Martyr Athanasius of Thessalonica (1774) (Greek).
St. Sophronius of Achtalea in Georgia, bishop (1803) (Greek).
Martyrs Rufus and Rufianus (Greek)
Martyrs Severus and Artemidorus (Greek)
St. Kinemark, disciple of St. Dyfrig.
Translation of the relics of St. Grimald, abbot of Winchester.
The Scripture Readings
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
The Song of Mary
46 And Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.
The Humbled and Exalted Christ
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Mary and Martha Worship and Serve
38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Keeping the Word
27 And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!”
28 But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”