Where the temporal and the eternal are connected
We can be rich in liturgical correctness and wealthy in traditions, but if we do not have love and mercy, we are in reality bankrupt. Our Lord Himself made love and mercy the chief criterion whereby we will be judged on the Last Day. The fulfillment of the law is love, not liturgical correctness, as was thought by the Pharisees. When we see our Orthodox Christian faith only in the context of liturgical correctness, and the length of our services, but do not love others, we will have gained nothing of eternal value. If we do not show compassion and mercy towards everyone we meet, we will have committed a grievous crime against our Orthodox faith, and will stand before God with nothing to show for our life.
Our liturgical rites and religious traditions are of no value if we have not love and mercy. When we rise to a sincere evangelical love for others, we become God’s collaborators, for our Christian love and mercy is the most divine trait possible for the human being. Our mercy is the expression of our love of God, for it is in our love of God that our mercy is poured out upon those who suffer, and upon those who are ill, or helpless in body and mind. Our Christian mercy springs from love and is a concrete expression of love.
Our religious rites and practices are not ends in themselves, but vehicles by which we enter into a profound relationship with God, Who is love. The very essence of our Christian faith is love because God Himself is love (1 John 4:8). Thus, our Christian morality, our ethics, and even our liturgical services and rites, are inconceivable in the absence of love. And, this love is not merely an act that has sprung up from a sense of ethical duty, but something that binds our world, the one seen, to the heavenly world, that world unseen. One world is temporal, and the other world is eternal, yet both have been created by God. The temporal world is wherein we exercise, preparing ourselves for the eternal world. Mercy and love is the means by which both are connected.
With love in Christ,
Photo: The interior of our monastery’s katholikon, dedicated to the Protection of the Holy Virgin.
Saturday February 8, 2020 / January 26, 2020
34th Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
St. Xenophon and his wife, St. Mary, and their two sons, Sts. Arcadius and John, of Constantinople (6th c.).
New Martyr Matushka Maria of Gatchina (1930).
New Hieromartyr Cyril, metropolitan of Kazan (1937).
New Hieromartyr Arcadius (1938).
Martyr John (1938).
Venerable Xenophon, abbot of Robeika (Novgorod) (1262).
Martyrs Ananias presbyter, Peter, and seven soldiers, in Phoenicia (295).
Venerable Symeon “the Ancient” of Mt. Sinai (ca. 390).
Translation of the relics of Venerable Theodore, abbot of the Studion (845).
St. Joseph, bishop of Thessalonica, brother of St. Theodore of the Studion (830).
St. David IV the Builder, king of Georgia and Abkhazeti (1125) (Georgia).
St. Ammon, of Egypt, disciple of St. Anthony the Great (350), and St. Gabriel, abbot at Jerusalem (490).
St. Conon, bishop and monastic founder on the Isle of Man (648) (Celtic & British).
Two Martyrs of Phrygia (Greek).
Venerable Clement of Mt. Sagmation (12tK c.) (Greek).
St. Paula of Palestine (404).
The Scripture Readings
2 Timothy 2:11-19
11 This is a faithful saying:
For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him.
12 If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him,
He also will deny us.
13 If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself.
Approved and Disapproved Workers
14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ”
6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”