In silence the acquisition of holiness can be ours
This holiness is not simply the result of having cultivated virtues, or controlling oneself through asceticism, but rather having a completely organic relationship with Christ. This organic relationship is the result of going through stages of repentance and purity, leading to a remarkable state of union with Christ, seen by the Church as deification, or theosis.
We can feel discouraged when we struggle to change our bad behaviors, or overcome sins that seem to follow us like bad debt. We feel overwhelmed and wonder if we’ll ever have victory. During times like these it is good to remember the words of Saint Peter of Damaskos: “It is through victories in small things that the fathers won their great battles.”
Because this victory has as its foundation the gradual transformation of self, we must never think any sin too small to be confessed. The more we are truthful with our confessor, the greater the chance of victory over all our sins, including sins that seem incidental. These sins build up over time, helping submerge the will, so that even the big sins are excusable in our minds. The big battles are never won without the little skirmishes leading to victory.
A large part of us does not want to let our conscience enlighten us, as we fear knowing ourselves. That God speaks to us in the silence of our heart is a great threat to us, for we don’t want to repent, we don’t want to reform, we don’t see the need for change, for it is easier to live the lie. Yet when we listen in silence to the Voice of God, we can make progress on the path to holiness. And this holiness comes to us through God’s grace, but we have to be willing to be open to the will of God. Change will only come when we open our hearts and minds to God’s will, and let Him change us.
With love in Christ,
Photos: His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, and His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America.
Friday February 19, 2021 / February 6, 2021
37th Week after Pentecost. Tone three.
Fast. Fish Allowed
Venerable Bucolus, bishop of Smyrna (ca. 100).
New Hieromartyrs Demetrius priest and Martyr Anatolius (1921).
New Hieromartyr Basil priest (1930).
New Hieromartyr Priest Basil Nadezhnin of Moscow, (1937).
New Hieromartyr Alexander priest (1938).
Venerables Barsanuphius the Great and John the Prophet, monks of Palestine (6th c.).
St. Photius, patriarch of Constantinople (891).
Virgin-martyr Dorothea, and with her Martyrs Christina and Callista, sisters, and Theophilus, at Caesarea in Cappadocia (288-300).
Martyr Julian of Emesa (312).
Virgin-martyr Fausta, and with her Martyrs Evilasius and Maximus, at Cyzicus (ca. 305-311).
Virgin-martyrs Martha and Mary, and their brother Martyr Lycarion, in Egypt.
Venerable Dorothea, schemanun of Kashin (1629).
St. Mael, bishop of Ardagh, disciple of St. Patrick (488) (Celtic & British).
Martyrs Faustus, Basil and Silvanus of Darion in Constantinople (Greek).
Venerable John of Thebes, monk (Greek).
St. James, ascetic of Syria (ca. 460).
St. Vedast, bishop of Arras (540).
St. Amand, apostle of Maastricht (675) (Neth.).
St. Arsen of Iqalto, Georgia (1127).
The Scripture Readings
2 Peter 1:1-10
Greeting the Faithful
1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Fruitful Growth in the Faith
5 But also for this very reason, give all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;
Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the Temple
13 Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!”
2 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”
5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 6 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. 7 But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.