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2015 Saints Peter and Paul Food Festival



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HOMILY on the Will of the Righteous in the Will of God

But his delight is in the Law of the Lord and on His Law doth he mediate day and night (Psalm 1:2)

Brethren, blessed is that man — thrice blessed is he — whose will is submitted to the will of God; whose mind thinks of nothing contrary to the counsel of God; and whose heart desires nothing contrary to the will of God. The mind is the rudder of both the will and the heart. If the mind is permanently directed toward God, then it will eagerly meditate day and night on the Law of God, and will not walk in the counsel of the ungodly (Psalm 1:1) but will seek the truth and the revelation of all that is in God’s Law. If the mind is so directed to God, then, swiftly, the heart and will of man will also be directed toward God. Then the will, as the implementing organ of the inner man, will carry out only what is in accordance with the will of God and what is written in the Law of God. Then man will not stand in the way of the sinners (Psalm 1:1), and will not sit in the seat of the scornful (Psalm 1:1); he will not commit sin, nor will he draw other men to sin. At the beginning of this Psalm, the Prophet David praises the man who does not commit three specific evils, and now he continues to praise him when he does two good things. The three evils are: to seek wisdom of a sinner, to live the life of a sinner and to corrupt others by one’s evil example. The two good things are: to conform one’s will completely to the Law of God; and to direct one’s mind to meditate day and night on God’s Law. O my brethren, how lamentably shallow are the minds of all those who do not know the Law of God! The depth of man’s mind is measured by the depth of his knowledge of God’s law. The mind of him who meditates on the mysteries of God’s law is deep, wide and exalted; and the mind is the rudder of the heart and will. O my brethren, how shallow, unstable and dissolute is the will of him who does not subordinate his will to the will of God! Indeed, it is lamentably shallow, unstable and dissolute. What is the Law of God, brethren? It is the expression of God’s will. Where is that expression to be found? In Holy Scripture and in the Tradition of the saints of the Church of God. Blessed is he who knows the will of God and fulfills it. O Lord God, great and powerful, merciful and just; enlighten our minds by Thy holy law, so that we may conform our wills to Thy man-loving and saving will. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

Velimirovic, Saint Nikolai (2012-09-01). The Prologue of Ohrid (Kindle Locations 20692-20704). Sebastian Press Publishing House. Kindle Edition.


The Bond Between God and Man

What kind of bond should there be between man and God? An unbreakable and continual bond. “Adhere to God as a son adheres to his father,” counseled St. Anthony. And St. Alonius said: “If a man is not set in his heart that there is no one else in the world but himself and God, he cannot find peace in his soul.” The one God is enough, and more than enough, for all that the heart of man can desire. Without a single protest, Blessed Theodora received a stranger’s child, given to her by slanderers, as if it were her own. Theodora raised this child with love, and reared it in the fear of God. Before her death, this is how she counseled the child: “What is more necessary for man than God and His divine love? He is our refuge, He is our treasure, He is our food and drink, He is our raiment and shelter, He is our health and strength, He is our happiness and joy, He is our hope and our trust. Strive then, my son, to gain Him. If you succeed in gaining the One God, it will be sufficient for you; you will rejoice more in Him than if you had gained the entire world.” In saying this, St. Theodora did not speak from a book or from someone else’s words, but on the basis of her own personal experience. She lived for seven years, driven out and scorned by all men, and during that time she learned by experience that God was everything to her, and that the One God was sufficient for all that the heart of man desires.

Velimirovic, Saint Nikolai (2012-09-01). The Prologue of Ohrid (Kindle Locations 19164-19166). Sebastian Press Publishing House. Kindle Edition.


Watch Your Thoughts

When a man once truly repents, he needs to avoid thinking about the sins he committed, so that he will not sin again. St. Anthony counsels: “Be careful that your mind be not defiled with the remembrance of former sins— that the remembrance of those sins not be renewed in you.” He also says: “Do not establish your previously committed sins in your soul by thinking about them, so that they not be repeated in you. Be assured that they were forgiven you from the time that you gave yourself to God and to repentance. In that, do not doubt.” It is said of St. Ammon that he attained such perfection that, in his abundance of godliness, he no longer recognized that evil even existed. When they asked him what is that “narrow and difficult path,” he replied: “It is the restraining of one’s thoughts, and the severing of one’s desires, in order to fulfill the will of God.” Whoever restrains sinful thoughts does not think of his own sin or the sins of others, or of anything corruptible or earthly. The mind of such a man is continually in heaven, where there is no evil. Thus,

Velimirovic, Saint Nikolai (2012-09-01). The Prologue of Ohrid (Kindle Locations 17511-17518). Sebastian Press Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

Seek First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness...

If you were to ask many people why they do not go to church to pray, they will generally answer you: I have no time, I have to work! Look at those people who only work and do not go to church, placing their whole trust in their work; and compare them with those who set aside time for both work and prayer— and you will quickly be convinced that the latter are more well-off, and, what is more important, more content. Here is a story about two neighboring tailors who were very different in their respective approaches to work and prayer, and very different in their wealth and satisfaction. One of them had a large family, and the other was a bachelor. The first had the habit of going to church every morning for prayer, but the bachelor never went to church. Not only did the first work less, but he was also a less skillful tailor than the other. Yet he had enough of everything— and the other lacked everything. The bachelor asked the other how it was that he had everything, though he worked less. His prayerful neighbor answered him, saying that he attended church every day, and found lost gold along the way! He invited the bachelor to go to prayer with him— and they would share the discovered gold. Both neighbors began to attend church regularly, and soon they became equal in abundance and in satisfaction. Naturally, they found no gold on the road, but found the true gold of the blessing of God, which multiplies the abundance of truly devout men. To those who seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6: 31), God adds and gives increase, for all that is necessary for their physical life.

Velimirovic, Saint Nikolai (2012-09-01). The Prologue of Ohrid (Kindle Locations 17649-17660). Sebastian Press Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

On the Necessity of a Second or Spiritual Birth

"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God" (John 3: 3)

Thus the Lord Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, and Nicodemus asked in amazement: “How can this be?” That is, how can a man be born again? Even to this day, many ask: “How can a sensual man become a spiritual man?” “How can a sinner become a righteous one?” “How can the grace of God enter a man and replace his sensual thoughts and will?” “How can the Holy Spirit illuminate the heart of man?” “How can water be changed into wine?” We know that when the Spirit of God descended upon the apostles, they became different men— new men, reborn men. We also know, from thousands of examples, how men of sensual thoughts and sensual life became spiritual men, regenerated men. Therefore, we know that it happened then and happens now, by the action of the grace of God the Holy Spirit. It is not necessary for us to ask how this happens. It is enough for us to know that it does happen, and to strive that it happen in us, for the grace of the Spirit is given to everyone who seeks it and prepares himself to be able to receive it. There is no more difficult task than to explain spiritual things to men who think and judge only sensually. St. John Chrysostom says: “A soul which is given over to passions cannot achieve anything great and noble, for it suffers from a grievous blindness, like that of eyes darkened by the flow of pus.” Usually the most sensual men inquire about the greatest divine mysteries. They do not inquire about that in order to know how they can be saved, but rather to confuse the faithful and to ridicule the Faith, and to justify their own sinful and passionate life. Unable to raise themselves to the first rung of the heavenly ladder, they fantasize about the last rung. Brethren, when such as these inquire about the profoundest mysteries of the regeneration of the soul and the Kingdom of Heaven, ask them, first of all, to fulfill the ten basic commandments of God. If they do this, then their souls will be opened to the understanding of the Divine Mysteries, inasmuch as that understanding is necessary for the cleansing of their sins and passions, and for eternal salvation. O Lord Jesus Christ, our Most-gracious and All-wise Teacher, help us to understand with our minds, and embrace with our hearts, as much of Thy wisdom as is necessary for our salvation. Help us to keep ourselves from undue curiosity. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

Velimirovic, Saint Nikolai (2012-09-01). The Prologue of Ohrid (Kindle Locations 18633-18647). Sebastian Press Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

Discover Orthodox Christianity

 Each link below will take you to a series of articles pertaining to the selected topic.  These are authored by various people .  This series is hosted on the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese website.

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