Is our nation entering into a new Dark Ages?
According to a Lutheran minister who visited the monastery this past week, the city of Portland, Oregon, just contacted the Union Gospel Mission, asking that they prepare for a coming surge of new homeless families. They are bracing for some forty thousand tents in the city’s streets, come winter.
With our people prevented from worshiping in their churches, our precious children separated from their friends, schools closed down, and mass unemployment following in the wake of this pandemic, we are witnessing our nation plunge further into an abyss. 25% of young people between 16 and 24 have considered suicide. Overdoses are up between 25 and 30%.
As we witness an ever increasing crime wave that shows no signs of abating, our cities are disintegrating before our very eyes. People are fleeing from American cities, while the mentally ill and drug addicts are taking over our city streets. Young people are rioting in our cities, filled with an ever increasing anger that is being stoked by leftist fascists who have convinced them that the answer to our national problems is to be found in the total destruction of our democracy.
Police officers, inspired by a desire to serve and protect their fellow citizens, are now walking away from law enforcement careers, brokenhearted by the anger and contempt they’ve experienced on a daily basis from the very citizens they’d sworn to serve.
Truly we are witnessing a new form of barbarism, one that many good people feel too weak to resist. Our American political system, divided as never before, has offered little help as our nation faces this spiritual crisis. What is needed is a return to the authority of the Scriptures, and the ancient wisdom found only in the Church.
We Christians must embrace, in our exile from the present nihilistic culture, the resilience that early Christians had under direct persecution from their pagan rulers. It is only when we Christians, be we Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or Protestant, truly read the signs of the times, that we will be able to lead the rest of society back to God.
Our nation will only be turned from this downward fall into a new Dark Ages, when we Christians, with a renewed commitment to Christ, and with love and strength, lead the way for our fellow citizens to repent, and return Christ to a nation that has fallen into darkness.
With love in Christ,
Saturday August 22, 2020 / August 9, 2020
11th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. Food with Oil
Apostle Matthias (63).
Synaxis of All Saints of Solovki.
St. Philaret, archbishop of Chernigov (1866).
New Martyr Margaret (1918).
Martyr Anthony of Alexandria.
Venerable Psoes of Egypt (4th c.).
Martyrs Julian, Marcian, John, James, Alexius, Demetrius, Photius(Phocas), Peter, Leontius, and Mary, of Constantinople (726).
Venerable Macarius, abbot of Oredezh (1532).
St. Alexis Medvedkov, archpriest of Uzine (1934).
The Restoration of the Temple of the 40 Martyrs.
The Scripture Readings
Jesus Restores Peter
15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. 18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”
The Beloved Disciple and His Book
20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”
22 Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
23 Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?”
24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Spiritual Gifts at Corinth
4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
7 They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”
8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
10 His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
Jesus Teaches on Celibacy
11 But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: 12 For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”
The Upper Room Prayer Meeting
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. 13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said, 16 “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; 17 for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.”
21 “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
23 And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen 25 to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” 26 And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Sending Out the Twelve
9 Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. 2 He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 And He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither staff nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece.
4 “Whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. 5 And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them.”
6 So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.