Glory to Jesus Christ! Sts. Cyrius and John 3rd Sunday after Pentecost
June 28th, 2020
The Faithful in Christ,
Thank you all for your prayers on my vacation, Mat. Gail and I had a refreshing time. What a beautiful time of year this is, both here and where we traveled there was a sweetness of summer in the air. Even Creation reveals God's presence, in the lightning sky, in the amazing trees, and in the flowers and insects --God is the Lord and he is good, and the joy of the Lord must be our strength. No other thing can hold us captive, creation bears witness to His goodness. In this reflection I again see the inseparability of God with His creation. The Lord's holy incarnation, his taking on our nature as his own, is seen in this image of creation. Our Patron St. Paul writes to the Colossian Church,
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Col. 1:15-20).
Jesus has made all these created things for himself and for us. I also love how it was said that it 'pleased God to have all of His fullness dwell in him' and that he cared so much for us, his creation, that He, through Christ and his incarnation, would reconcile or make everything right again. This is the Gospel, our reconnection point. Because of the nature of our times right now, we are in need of repentance and RE-devotion to the holy Church and to Christ. The canons tell us that if you stay away from the chalice for more than 3 weeks you are out of communion and estranged from the holy Church. This is how important frequent prepared for communion is.
St. Cyril of Alexandria puts it this way,
“If the poison of pride is swelling up in you, turn to the Eucharist; and that Bread, Which is your God humbling and disguising Himself, will teach you humility. If the fever of selfish greed rages in you, feed on this Bread; and you will learn generosity. If the cold wind of coveting withers you, hasten to the Bread of Angels; and charity will come to blossom in your heart. If you feel the itch of intemperance, nourish yourself with the Flesh and Blood of Christ, Who practiced heroic self-control during His earthly life; and you will become temperate. If you are lazy and sluggish about spiritual things, strengthen yourself with this heavenly Food; and you will grow fervent. Lastly, if you feel scorched by the fever of impurity, go to the banquet of the Angels; and the spotless Flesh of Christ will make you pure and chaste.”
This union with God is a purifying fire and cleansing of soul and body, emotions and mind, and it is through this life-giving Blood and Body, received in faith and love, that we are able to "do" anything. If we can humble ourselves before this cross and his body and blood - we are then able to pray noetically and truly able to worship, interceed, prophecy, teach.
Then with spiritual guidance and humility you can begin to express the holy virtues and literally as God’s chosen people, St. Paul says, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and self-control. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Col. 3, Gal 5))
These holy virtues are manifested in us for His glory and for His purpose; and these holy virtues enable us then to do the work of the Church, which is to prepare our hearts for His coming again, and too, in this watchful mode, care for the orphans and widows and those who are hungry or thirsty or in prison.
This of course is all fulfilled in our living-out of the Commands of Christ, namely the Beatitudes, sung in Divine liturgy and read numerous times throughout the year in the worship of the Church, from the Lord's sermon on the Mountain: (New century version)
“They are blessed who realize their spiritual poverty,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
They are blessed who grieve,
for God will comfort them.
They are blessed who are humble,
for the whole earth will be theirs.
They are blessed who hunger and thirst after justice,
for they will be satisfied.
They are blessed who show mercy to others,
for God will show mercy to them.
They are blessed whose thoughts are pure,
for they will see God.
They are blessed who work for peace,
for they will be called God’s children.
They are blessed who are persecuted for doing good,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
We are to called be the lived out incarnation, to live is Christ as St. Paul says in his letter to the Philipians. Our re-devotion to God begins with our partaking of the mystical incarnation of the Son of God within us as St. Peter says (2 Peter 1). That means put Christ first in all you do. Pray more, act virtuously, and help and lead others to Christ. Simple really.
May you have a blessed rest of the summer. ---Fr. Daniel
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