Friday, December 19, 2014

From the November and December “Shepherd”

A practical tip on fasting:

There are some very down-to-earth practical things that one can do: make sure that you keep your diaries as free as possible from social engagements; as in all the fasts avoid making plans for journeys away from home; simply clear your freezers and fridges of non-lenten foods. Then plan to set aside more time for church attendance, for prayer at home and spiritual reading. Obtain books to read during this period which will instruct you about our Faith and the Christian life. Make a conscious and generous assessment of what you intend to give away in alms during the fast, and stick to it. Perhaps volunteer to help in charitable work over the “Western Christmas” freeing someone else up to celebrate their feast. And perhaps what we so often fail to do: resolve from the very start to keep this fast to the very best of your ability and never give up trying to do so. Remember the fast is not something inflicted upon us as a rule. It is a weapon given us to aid us in our spiritual battle. A soldier who holds a sword in his hand during battle and does not use it is not likely to come through that battle a well man.
Fathers of St Edward Brotherhood

Just as in the case of a sweet dish on the table or a gold piece thrown down on the crossroads, whoever comes first [to church] is the most satisfied or enriched. Godly words in the divine church are sweeter than honey and honeycomb and dearer than a thousand gold pieces, according to the holy David (Ps. 18:10). He who arrives first will enjoy grace first, but he who arrives lazily and carelessly is a stranger to grace.
Ven. Joseph of Volokolamsk, + 1515 A.D.

Let us marvel, O Christians, at the voluntary self-abasement for us of our great God and Saviour; but this is still too little. Let us stand in growing reverence before this self-abasement of His, but even this is not sufficient. Let this mind be in you, the Apostle teaches us, which was in Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:5). You also come to have the same feelings as Jesus Christ had; be disposed just as He was disposed. What does this mean? The Apostle himself explains this, stating just before the cited quotation: Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than himself (Phil. 2:3). From this it can be seen that he teaches us the example of Jesus Christ, not to place ourselves on high and not to exalt ourselves with any prerogatives, but to humble ourselves, both within ourselves and
before others.
St Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow, + 1867 A.D.

Read the November edition and the December edition of the Shepherd, published by St Edward Orthodox Brotherhood,, a men’s monastery in England, which is under the omophorion of our Greek Sister Church.

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