The saints serve as models for our lives
Our Orthodox Christian life is not designed to be invented as we go, for by the very nature of the Church we are instructed to use as our model of living, the lives of the saints that have gone on before us. Their lives are held up before us as examples of holiness. Their charity is to become our model of charity. Their sacrifice is to become the model of our sacrifice. Their asceticism is to be the model of our own asceticism. Their humility must be the model by which we are to lead lives in all humility. Their love of God and neighbor must become the supreme example for our own struggle to love God above all else, and to love our neighbor as our self. Their willingness to suffer persecution for Christ’s sake, must be the model by which we are willing to face persecution, and even martyrdom, for our faith.
Saint Syncletica, a 4th century desert mother, said, “Imitate the publican and you will not be condemned with the pharisee. Choose the meekness of Moses and you will find your heart which is a rock changed into a spring of water.” Whereas the pharisee was proud before God and men for his piety and accomplishments, even boldly standing in the temple in all arrogance, thanking God that he was not like other men, the publican stood afar, head lowered, beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner! (Luke 18:13).” The Lord Jesus Christ told his disciples that the publican went away justified.
We must take care of whom we set as the model for our own living, that we not take as our example the man who is worldly, self-centered, greedy, unloving, and devoid of any interest in the spiritual life. Rather, we must look to the saints as examples of how to live, and how to love, that we, like the publican, will stand before God having been justified.
With love in Christ,
Monday February 22, 2021 / February 9, 2021
Week of the Publican and the Pharisee. Tone four.
Fast-free Week. Fast-free
Entire week, fast-free.
Martyr Nicephorus of Antioch (ca. 257).
Uncovering of the relics (1805) of St. Innocent of Irkutsk (1731).
Uncovering of the relics of St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus (1992).
New Hieromartyr Basil priest (1930).
New Hieromartyr John priest (1938).
Venerable Pancratius, hieromonk of the Kiev Caves (13th c.).
Venerables Gennadius (1516) and Nicephorus (1557), monks, of Vazhe Lake (Vologda).
Hieromartyrs Marcellus, bishop of Sicily; Philagrius, bishop of Cyprus; and Pancratius, bishop of Taormina; disciples of Apostle Peter (1st c.).
Venerables Aemilianus and Bracchio of Tours (6th c.) (Gaul).
St. Teilo, bishop (Llandaff in Wales) (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
Martyr Apollonias of Alexandria (249).
St. Romanus the Wonderworker of Cilicia (5th c.).
Hieromartyr Peter Damascene, bishop of Damascus (743).
The Scripture Readings
2 Peter 1:20-2:9
20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
2 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
Doom of False Teachers
4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— 9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,
9 “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak,but the Holy Spirit. 12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.