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2013 - AUGUST SACRED LESSONS

2013 - AUGUST SACRED LESSONS

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Published by Marguerite Paizis
ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN SACRED LESSONS FOR AUGUST 2013,
ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN SACRED LESSONS FOR AUGUST 2013,

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Published by: Marguerite Paizis on Aug 07, 2013
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09/29/2013

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6
TH
 
S
UNDAY
A
FTER
P
ENTECOST
– 
 
6
TH
OF
S
T
M
ATTHEW
– 
 
B
EFORE
T
RANSFIGURATION
-
 
T
HE
P
ARALYTIC
&
 
F
RIENDS
– 
 
4
 
A
UGUST
2013
 
1
 
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
All Glory, Honour and Worship to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now andforever, and unto the Ages of ages. Amen.Remembering also our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most Blessed and Glorious Lady, Maria,Theotokos, yet Ever Virgin, together with all the Saints. And let us commit ourselves and oneanother and our whole Life to Christ our God. Amen
.
4 August 20136
th
Sunday After Pentecost Tone (5) Plagal 16
th
Sunday of St Matthew: Paralytic & Friends
Feast of The Seven Holy Sleepers of Ephesos: St Maximilian, St Iamblikos, StMartinian, St John, St Dionysios, St Exacustodianos (Constantine) and St Antoninos– St Eudokia of Persa – St Eleftherios of Constantinple
R
ESURRECTION
A
POLYTIKION
 
 
ONE
(5)
 
LAGAL
 
on sinanarhon Logon Patri ke Pnevmati, ton ek Parthenou tehthenta is Sotirian imon, animnisomen,Pisti, ke proskinisomen. Oti ivdokise Sarki anelthin ento Stavro ke Thanaton ipomine ke egire tous tethneotas en ti Evdoxo Anastasi Aftou.
 
T
he Word, Who with the Father and the Spirit has no beginning, and Who, for our Salvation, was born of aVirgin, let us Faithful Believers hymn and adore. Forit was His Good Pleasure to ascend the Cross in theFlesh, and to Suffer Death, and through His ownGlorious Resurrection to raise the dead.
 
F
ESTAL
K
ONTAKION
-
 
T
HE
E
VER
B
LESSED
T
HEOTOKOS
 
pi tou Orous Metemorfothis, ke os ehoroun i MathiteSou tin Doxan Sou, Hriste O Theos etheasanto. Ina otan Se idosi Stavroumenon, to men pathos noisosinekousion, to de kosmo kirixosin, oti Si iparhis Alithos,
TOU PATROS TO APAVGASMA 
.
U
pon the Mountain Thou were Transfigured, and ThyDisciples beheld Thy Glory as far as they were able, OChrist our God; so that when they would see TheeCrucified they might understand that Thy Passionwas deliberate, and declare to the world that in Truth
THOU ART THE FATHER’S RADIANCE.
 
Matins Resurrection Gospel 6 : Luke 24 : 36 – 53
O
UR
R
ESURRECTED
L
ORD
 J
ESUS
C
HRIST
A
PPEARS TO
H
IS
H
OLY
A
POSTLES
&
 
D
ISCIPLES BEFORE
A
SCENDING TO
H
EAVEN
 
Prokeimenon
O
Lord, protect us and preserve us - both now and forever!
 S 
ave us, O Lord, for there is not one Godly man left!
The Epistle of St Paul to the Romans 12 : 6 – 14
O
UR
L
IFE OF
U
NITY AND
M
ERCY IN
C
HRIST
S
H
OLY
C
HURCH
 
Brethren: having Gifts differing according to the Grace that is granted to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let usprophesy in proportion to our Faith; or Ministry, let us use it in our ministering; those who teach, in theirteaching, those who exhort, in exhortations; those who give, with liberality; those who lead, with diligence;those who show Mercy, with cheerfulness.Let Love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one anotherwith Brotherly Love, in honour, giving preference to one another – serving the Lord; rejoicing in Hope, Patient intribulation, continuing steadfastly in Prayer; distributing to the needs of the Saints, given to Hospitality.Bless those who persecute you – Bless and do not curse.
 W 
E LIVE OUT OUR
F
 AITHFUL
R
ELATIONSHIP WITH
G
OD IN
H
IS
H
OL
C
HURCH
, which is the Sacred Body of Christ,
 WITH
H
UMILITY 
,
SOBER THOUGHTS
,
AND PROPER USE OF
S
PIRITUAL
G
IFTS
,
WHICH ARE GRANTED TO US BY THE
D
IVINE
G
RACE OF
G
OD THE
H
OL
S
PIRIT
.
Faithful and True Christian Ministry requires us to
FUNCTIONTOGETHER IN ALL OUR DIVERSITY 
– combining all our Holy Gifts that have been granted to us by God.The Seven Holy Gifts of Divine Grace that St Paul mentionedshould not be understood as being exhaustive. Instead
G
OD
S
G
IFTS OF
D
IVINE
G
RACE
as mentioned above,
REPRESENT ALL THE INFINITE
D
IVINE
G
IFTS OF
G
RACE
thatGod has granted to His Faithful Flock. While a Faithful Believer is Justified by Faith, this
F
 AITH ISINTIMATELY UNITED TO
G
OOD
 W 
ORKS
,
 WHICH ARE GENUINE AND SINCERE EXPRESSIONS OF OUR
T
RUE
F
 AITH IN AND
L
OVEOF
G
OD
.F
 AITH AND
G
OOD
D
EEDS OR
 W 
ORKS CANNOT BE SEPARATED
we cannot have one without the other!!
The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 9 : 1 – 8
T
HE
F
AITH OF THE
P
ARALYTIC
&
 
H
IS
F
RIENDS
 
At that time, our Lord Jesus got into a boat, crossed over, and went to His own city. Then, behold: they brought toHim a Paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their Faith, He said to the Paralytic:
“Son, be of good cheer –  your sins are forgiven you.” 
And at once some of the Scribes said within themselves: “
This Man blasphemes!” 
 And Jesus – knowing their thoughts – said:
“Why do you think evil in your heart? For which is easier: to say: ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say: ‘Arise, and walk?’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has Power on earth to forgive sins...” 
then He said to the Paralytic:
Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 
And he arose and departed to his house.Now when the multitude saw this, they marvelled and Glorified God Who had given such Power to men.
Capernaum was our Lord Jesus Christ’s “
own city 
,” having setup His “home base” from there. As shown by the Healing of the Paralytic,
F
 AITH IS ANINDISPENSABLE AND ESSENTIAL
E
LEMENT OF
S
 ALVATIONBECAUSE
T
RUE
F
 AITH IS COLLECTIVE AS WELL AS PERSONAL
 
and consequently 
THE
F
 AITH OF THE
P
 ARALYTIC
S FRIENDS ALSO HELPED IN HIS HEALING
.St Mark and St Luke also mentioned this particular MiraculousHealing and through their Gospel accounts, we learnhow determined the Paralytic and his friends were.In order to be presented to Christ Whom the friends just knewwould Heal his paralysis – and being unable to get closeto our Lord due to the multitude who filled the house andthe courtyard - they carried the pallet with the Paralytic tothe roof of the house, made a great hole in the sunbaked roof - having established exactly where our Lord
 
2.
6
TH
 
S
UNDAY
A
FTER
P
ENTECOST
– 
 
6
TH
OF
S
T
M
ATTHEW
– 
 
B
EFORE
T
RANSFIGURATION
-
 
T
HE
P
ARALYTIC
&
 
F
RIENDS
– 
 
4
 
A
UGUST
2013
 
stood - and then lowered the bed safely down to theground – right in front of our Saviour.In this account
,
THREE
S
IGNS OF OUR
L
ORD
S
D
IVINITY AREEVIDENT
:
 
1.
 
H
E KNEW THE SECRET THOUGHTS OF THEHYPOCRITICAL
S
CRIBES AND
P
HARISEES
,
 
2.
 
H
E FORGIVES SINS
D
IVINE
P
OWER THAT BELONGSTO
G
OD ALONE
3.
 
 AND
H
E
H
EALS MERELY BY THE
D
IVINE
P
OWER OF
H
IS
 W 
ORD
!
The Healing Faith of the Paralytic & his Friends
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of theHoly Spirit:My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: our Lord JesusChrist instructed the Paralytic who was presentedto Him by his four Faithful Friends: “...
be of good cheer 
-
 your sins are forgiven you 
.”
(MATTHEW 9:2)
 What are our sins that need to be forgiven by God?Our sins are our imperfections and weaknesses of character.Our sins are aspects of ourselves when we eithervoluntarily or involuntarily fail to fulfil what wewere created to be by God.Sins take many forms but they are all rooted in themisuse of our created being.In particular our God-given needs for socializationand security are all too often misused by our self indulgence and greed.When we sin we place ourselves above God. We makeourselves are own god.When we sin we rebel against God and His Divine Willand this conflict of wills is reflected in ourconflicts of will with our fellow mankind.
Our self-imposed alienation or exile from God due to ourwilful wickedness and selfishness simultaneously causesus to become alienated from others.
We have been created in the Image and Likeness of God : “
And God said,
Let us make man in Our Image, after Our Likeness 
.” (
GENESIS 1:26
)Thus our problems in life are due to our conflict withand rebellion against the Image and Likeness of God that exists within us.In other words, when put our own self-indulgent willin opposition to the Divine Image and Likeness of God, we fall into a state of sin or Spiritual Death.Consequently, we become conflicted not only withourselves and each other, but especially with God because we were created to live in perfectharmony with our Creator and His entire Creation.We were created to humbly and freely submit our freewill to the Divine and Loving Will of God, beingcompelled by our mutual Love.However, by living in a state of conflict with God,others and the Image and Likeness of God withinus, our soul becomes sick.Our soul becomes sick due to unrepented sin, whichcauses us to become alienated or separated fromour Creator Who nourishes us with the Life-givingFruit of the Tree of Life.This lack of Spiritual Nourishment of our soulseverely weakens us – and, in the worsecircumstances of unrepented sin, we can no longerrespond to God and all His Goodness – and we become Spiritually Paralysed just like the manwho was carried to Christ for Divine Healing byhis Faithful Friends.When our immortal soul is sickened by ouroverwhelming sins, we often suffer various typesof physical illness as well.This is clearly noted in the Holy Gospels with all theHealings of the blind, the epileptics, the deaf anddumb, the paralytics, etc.At most of these Healings our Lord Jesus Christspecifically stated to those concerned: “...
 your sins are forgiven you 
.”Thus, before there can be any physical healing theremust be a Spiritual Healing.In order to receive this Spiritual Healing those whosuffer must first and foremost believe in God andtrust in His Divine Powers and Love.This need for Belief or Faith was evident at theHealing of the epileptic son when the fatherdeclared to Christ:
“Lord, I believe! help my unbelief! 
” (
MARK 9:24
)Once Belief is achieved then action must be taken.The action of Belief is Faith.The Belief in Action or Faith was proved by thosefour friends who carried their paralysed friend toChrist – allowing nothing to prevent them fromfulfilling their good intention.However, something we may not notice is the Faith of the paralysed man.St Nikolaj Velimirovic described the Faith of theParalytic in the following manner:
Anyone in his right mind - were he to have no Faith - would scarcely allow others to drag him along thestreets on his bed and – even more important - haul him up onto the roof and then let him down into the house
.”When the Action of Faith is taken, it is an outwardSign of Repentance or a profound and sincerechange of mind.The change of mind that occurs for the sick soul isthe genuine acknowledgement or realisation thatwe cannot live without God.Repentance is the recognition of the brokenness of our soul - the recognition of our imperfectionsthat alienates us from God and from other people.Without Repentance there can be no Forgiveness, noHealing, no Restoration.Repentance is a sacrifice of our self will to God’sDivine, Loving and Benevolent Will.In fact: Repentance is presenting all ourimperfections before God - laying them out beforeHim so as to receive His Divine Forgiveness, HisDivine Healing and His Divine Restoration.This is clarified for us by King David in his greatPsalm of Repentance - Psalm 50:
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” 
 
(PSALM 50(51):17)
Furthermore, we behold an Image of Brokenness asSacrifice in the Crucifixion of our Lord God andSaviour, Jesus Christ - His broken, bleeding Bodyoffered on the Life Giving Cross as the MostPerfect Ransom for all humanity held captive bythe sins of the fallen world.This Greatest, Final and Most Perfect Blood Sacrificeof Christ resulted in the Glorious Resurrectionthat re-opened for all mankind the Gates of Paradise.The Glorious Resurrection of Christ allowed ourcorrupted image, Spiritual Brokenness, andimperfections to be Restored, to be Healed byChrist’s Sacrifice of Himself on the Cross.His payment of the Ransom, has set us free andallowed us all to be Forgiven, Healed and Restoredto our natural created beauty of body and soul.And as long as we continue to Repent our habitualsins so that we can return to the Warm Embrace of our Lord, we will hear the wonderful words of encouragement from our Loving Saviour:
“Be of Good Cheer - your sins are forgiven you!” 
 
(MATTHEW9:2)
 So my dear Brethren in Christ: be of Good Cheer sothat you may come to believe - so that you maycome to Faith and Repentance - so that yourBrokenness may be Healed by our Lord God andSaviour, Jesus Christ.Amen
 ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: DELIVERED BY FR. MILAN MEDAKOVIC ATHOLY TRINITY SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH ON THE 6TH SUNDAY  AFTER PENTECOST 2009.
http://frmilan.wordpress.com/2009/07/19/sermon-6th-sunday-after-pentecost/ 
 
6
TH
 
S
UNDAY
A
FTER
P
ENTECOST
– 
 
6
TH
OF
S
T
M
ATTHEW
– 
 
B
EFORE
T
RANSFIGURATION
-
 
T
HE
P
ARALYTIC
&
 
F
RIENDS
– 
 
4
 
A
UGUST
2013
 
3
.
Obstacles on the Path to the Gospel – Part 5
We have to see the difference between the
TWOTYPES OF KNOWLEDGE
:
 
1.
 
REASONABLE
,
OUTER KNOWLEDGE
, which helps usto perceive the outer relations betweenobjects, and2.
 
C
ONTEMPLATIVE
,
 
I
NNER
K
NOWLEDGE
, whichhelps to see the profound essence of things.For instance, beauty can be perceived intuitively, withthe help of inner feelings.Likewise,
F
AITH IN
G
OD IS INTUITIVE
K
NOWLEDGE
,which arises from a sensitive soul and isaccompanied by deep religious emotions.The fact that Belief in God can be called "Knowledge"is clearly confirmed by the words of the Lord:“...
And this is Life Eternal, that they might know Theethe Only True God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thouhast sent." 
 
(JOHN 17:3).
 A similar thought can be found in the Prophet Isaiah:
"The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but 
Israel does not know 
; My People do not consider.” 
(ISAIAH 1:3
).But while scientific-positive cognition requires onlyreasonable preparation of a certain amount of formal development, the intuitive-spiritualcognition is closely connected with the moralstate of the person:
IT REQUIRES PURITY OFHEART AND STRICT LIVING
.
 
If 
IT IS UNATTAINABLE
for all people, then it is only
BECAUSE OF THEIR SINFULNESS
.If 
SOMETIMES WE SAY AND THINK
,
THAT IT ISIMPOSSIBLE FOR US TO KNOW
G
OD
, then thishappens for three reasons:1.
 
Because of 
OUR LACK OF OBSERVATION ANDATTENTIVENESS
;2.
 
Because of 
OUR HABIT
, instilled in us bycontemporary European culture,
NOT TOCONTEMPLATE
an object,
BUT TO TRY TOMAKE IT FIT SOME CATEGORYUNDERSTANDABLE TO US
;3.
 
And because
OUR SOUL IS OVERLOADED
,
 LITTERED
with a great number of constantlychanging impressions and feelings,
WHICHPREVENT US FROM THOUGHTFULLYOBSERVING LIFE
.The Philosopher,
A
NAXAGORAS
,
WHO SET
"...
THCONTEMPLATION OF THE STARS 
..."
AS THE MAINGOAL OF HIS LIFE
,
COULD
-
WITHOUT ANY DOUBT
-
PERCEIVE
G
OD BETTER
,
DUE TO THE VERYCONDITIONS OF HIS LIFE
, than any modernfactory worker, deafened by the noise of machines, or the "cultural man" with hiscinematography, automobiles and every possibletype of sport.Deafened by the noise and fuss of our surroundings,
WE NOTE NEITHER IN OURSELVES
,
NOR AROUNDUS
,
THE QUIET MOVEMENT OF
T
RUE
L
IFE
.We should
STOP AND LISTEN TO THIS INNER LIFE
of the world, and
LOOK ATTENTIVELY AT WHAT ISHAPPENING WITHIN US AND AROUND US
.
T
HEN WE WOULD LEARN TO SEE
G
OD
,
W
HO
,according to the words of the Apostle Paul,
“...is not far from every one of us: For in Him we live,and move, and have our being 
.”
(ACTS 17:27-28).
Try to look over your life attentively and in it you willsee
MANY CIRCUMSTANCES
,
MEETINGS ANDDISCUSSIONS
,
WHICH ARE USUALLY PERCEIVED BYUS AS ACCIDENTAL OR UNIMPORTANT
,
BUTUNDER MORE PROFOUND ANALYSIS REVEAL
, that
SOME
U
NSEEN BUT
C
ARING
H
AND
,
WITHOUTFORCING US
,
CONSTANTLY POINTS OUR LIFETOWARD THE
P
ATH OF
G
OODNESS
,
 
S
AVES AND
H
ELPS US
.
 
Try to remember all these Events, write them down,
DEVELOP YOUR ABILITY TO OBSERVE THEM
, andyou will possess great factual material, which willgive you the ability to
BE CONVINCED BOTH INTHE EXISTENCE OF
G
OD AND IN
H
IS
P
ROVIDENCEBY EXPERIENCE
.This experimental way is the best and maybe theonly means of Knowing God, as St. Basil the Greatsaid, who asserted that
WHEN WE SEE THEINFLUENCE OF
D
IVINE
P
ROVIDENCE IN OUR LIFEAND THE LIVES OF OTHERS
,
THEN WE BEGIN TOKNOW
G
OD AND TO LOVE
H
IM
.
 We should not be convinced of God’s Existencethrough logical conclusions.
K
NOWLEDGE OF
G
OD IS GAINED ONLY THROUGHPERSONAL RELIGIOUS
E
XPERIENCE
.
T
HE
D
IVINE
E
XISTENCE CANNOT BE PROVED
;
IT MUSTBE ONLY INWARDLY FELT
.If this does not happen, then there exists someobstacle which prevents one from feeling theDivine Existence.The blind person does not see the stars not becausethey do not exist, but because his eyes aredamaged.Thus, everything said above can be summarized likethis:
W
E CANNOT COMPARE
K
NOWLEDGE AND
F
AITH
,
ASSOMETHING OBJECTIVELY TRUSTWORTHY TOSOMETHING SUBJECTIVELY ARBITRARY ANDUNRELIABLE
.Faith, as a feeling of assuredness, is the necessaryelement of any Knowledge.However, one should differentiate betweenscientific-positive, materialistic, reasonableknowledge and
S
PIRITUAL
-I
NTUITIVE
,
 
C
ONTEMPLATIVE
,
PENETRATING INTO THE DEPTHOF LIFE
,
 
K
NOWLEDGE
,
WHICH IS
F
AITH
.
 
This is the highest level of Knowledge, whichoriginates from Spiritual Sensitivity and which isinseparable from the exploit of attaining Moralperfection.It is Faith, alone, that with Divine Help leads uscloser to God and to Understanding His HolyGospel.
 ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: ARCHPRIEST SERGIUS CHETVERIKOV  
HTTP://WWW.PRAVOSLAVIE.RU/ENGLISH/61224.HTM
 TRANSLATION BYTATIANA PAVLOVA AND NATALIA SEMYANKO  ARCHPRIEST SERGIUS CHETVERIKOV, LATER—HIERO-SCHEMAMONK SERGIUS, WAS ORDAINED INTO THE GREAT SCHEMA IN THE SUMMER OF 1942, IN THE MONASTERY OF THE VENERABLE JOB IN VLADIMIROVA IN THE CARPATHIAN MOUNTAINS. FATHER SERGIUS ALWAYS HAD A GREAT LOVE FOR MONASTICS  AND, WHILE HE WAS STILL IN RUSSIA, RECEIVED SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE FROM THE LAST ELDERS OF OPTINA. SOME OF HIS WORKS WERE ALREADY PUBLISHED BEFORE THE REVOLUTION. FATHER SERGIUS REPOSED WHEN HE WAS 78 IN BRATISLAVA, WHERE HE LIVED TOGETHER WITH HIS SON.
 
Dormition Fast Has Begun
Standing at Thy deathbed, the Apostles cried aloud in wonder: The Palace of the King withdraws: the Ark of Holiness is raised on high.Let the Gates be opened wide that the Gate of God may enter into Abundant Joy,She who asks without ceasing for Great Mercy on the world.
 Several years ago, I was sharing with an OrthodoxPilgrim the thought that
THE
D
ORMITION
F
AST
-
 ALTHOUGH OF SHORT DURATION
-
IS VERY
S
PIRITUALLY
I
NTENSE
- and that hardshipsseemed to befall us more in those two weeks thanin the (sometimes) longer Apostles' Fast.
THE APOSTLES’ FAST BEGINS ON MONDAY AFTER ALL SAINTS SUNDAY  AND LASTS UNTIL 29 JUNE. THE DURATION OF THIS FASTDEPENDS ON THE ANNUAL DATE OF HOLY PASCHA AND,CONSEQUENTLY, HOLY PENTECOST.
Without hesitation he responded:
”Of course! Lent is the hardest,
but after Christ, who does the devil hate the most? The Holy Mother of God!” 
 

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