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Monthly Meditation – May 2011

(Fr. Patrick’s Pascha Sermon—2011)  

In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Christ is Risen!  Let us take a moment to rest on this long beautiful night, which has begun with a few interesting moments.  Wouldn’t you say?  The fire alarm, switching around a couple of hymns, bell ringers forgetting to turn on the microphone, candle cups catching fire; but that’s all okay because this night is not about all those things.  It’s nice when things go well, but more important is our faith in God, our unity in love for one another, and our confession of faith in the Risen Christ.

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Monthly Meditation – April 2011

“Joy, like thanksgiving, is at once a gift and a decision. They are nothing without both. God provides the occasion; we respond by entering. Turning away from the occasion, neither glorifying God nor thanking Him, blinds us to His presence and to the occasion He provides.”

From The Stepstool of Divine Ascent by Rev. Fr. John Konkle

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Monthly Meditation – March 2011

ST. NIKOLAI VELIMIROVIC:

Commentary of the Sunday of Forgiveness and Fasting (abridged)

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Monthly Meditation – February 2011

“When God sees that we are proud and arrogant, He allows for the presences of temptations in our life. He will take them away from us only when He sees that we humble ourselves.”

Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain

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Monthly Meditation – January 2011

The Nativity and Epiphany:

The fullness of celebrating the coming of our Lord

By Father Nicholas Speier

In approaching the Christmas Feast and celebrating the beginning of the New Year (2009) we recall that the historic Christian center of this time of year is Epiphany (Theophany). The Church in her wisdom has placed these feasts together so we might experience the fullness of celebrating the coming of our Lord.

The Nativity of our Lord is a feast of joy, but at Epiphany the joy is greater still. In the stable cave we see God becoming man and sanctifying humanity, and we see His humility and His love for us. But at Epiphany we see the greater work of sanctifying all of creation in the baptismal water. We know from our reading of the Gospel of St. John that Christ came to save not only man but all of creation.

The Nativity has the angel proclaiming glad tidings, but at Epiphany the forerunner prepares the way. At His birth Christ brought us the message of peace on earth and good will toward man, a true sign of His condescending love. But at Epiphany we see the forerunner preparing the way for all humanity to walk in peace and good will. For God not only wants us to know about life in Him but to live our life in Him.

The Nativity has blood spilt, as Bethlehem wails in her childlessness, but at Epiphany this water gives way to many sons. As Christ is born, this world begins its rejection of the Savior to end at His crucifixion and death. But at the Baptism of Christ we see that His presence can not be stamped out. He is forever making things new through death and resurrection and the new children of God entering the Kingdom through Baptismal water.

At the Nativity, the star proclaims Christ to the Wise men, but at Epiphany the Father reveals Christ to the whole universe. Mary and Joseph quietly come into Bethlehem and Christ is born of her amidst a few, but now at Epiphany the Father's voice declares to all men, angels, and all creation that Christ is the Beloved and only begotten Son of the Father.

As we can see, the two feasts together help us to experience the fullness of the coming of our Lord. They emphasize his humility in lowering himself to save us, His beloved. The two feasts declare to us, beyond doubt, God's great love for mankind and all creation. He did not wait for us to make things better or right, but He came to us in our distress to save us and to save this world. May the depth and joy of these celebrations lift our spirits so we may rejoice with the angels and all the saints at the coming of Christ our Lord.

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