For the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the Church both prepares us for the feast with a special reading the Sunday before, and also, today, sends us off from the feast with a special reading the Sunday after. This past Sunday’s gospel reading, for the Sunday after the feast of the Cross, is what our holy Fathers want us to take away from the feast.
And actually, there was a reading the day before, too, for the Saturday after the feast, with the same theme. The theme of both of these passages is the practical application of the Cross of Christ to our lives. In Saturday’s gospel reading, Jesus says: When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father taught me, I speak these things.
Continue reading “Losing Our Lives for Christ in Our Hardships”
The Gospel passage mentioned in the last post said, …if you do not forgive your brother from your heart. But, going the “extra mile” in forgiveness, in his first epistle, St. Peter says:
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. And James echoes this same idea of “covering” the sins of others: …whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
This covering others’ sins is something we don’t think about much, though it has been around a while…in Proverbs, love covers all offenses, and elsewhere in Proverbs,
Whoever covers an offense seeks love,…
We not only are called to forgive, but to actively use love to cover sins.
Continue reading “Going the “Extra Mile” in Forgiveness”
So much of our society trains us to focus on ourselves, on our rights, and to judge others as respecters or offenders of those rights. This past weekend, in Bend, some alleged social media posts from the shooter who took the life of two innocents revealed this to the extreme. Remembering wrongs others commit against us and the lack of forgiveness is toxic. What we see in Christ’s Gospel is quite the opposite, not focused on the wrongs of others, but on our own spiritual state.
After the story of the man forgiven a massive debt, who turns around and requires someone else to repay him a much smaller debt, resulting in his re-judgment with the same harshness he used, the passage ends: So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.
So, we know what not to do. But what should we do? How should we act?
Continue reading “We Determine How Strictly We Are Judged”
In preparing the hymnography for the next couple days’ services to celebrate the Church New Year on September 1st, the prayers for God’s blessing on the beginning of this next year immediately took my mind to the accursed events this past weekend here in Bend. It is perfect timing to be asking for God’s blessing right now:
Here are two of the main hymns of this celebration:
O fashioner of all creation, who in thine authority hast appointed the times and seasons: bless thou the crown of the year with thy goodness, O Lord, preserving in peace thy rulers and cities, and save us through the prayers of the Mother of God.
Continue reading “Preserving in Peace Thy Rulers and Cities”
It is important that we pray, but hard to know what or how to pray, especially in such difficult circumstances. The following prayers are intended to give us a way to pray both for the peaceful repose of those who died, and also for those effected by this dreadful event. If you do not have access to this, you could also just pray the psalm by itself, or even more simply, the Jesus Prayer: Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
40-Day Prayer for the City of Bend
Through the prayers of our holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us. Amen. Glory to thee, our God, glory to thee.
O heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who art everywhere present and fillest all things, treasury of blessings, and giver of life: come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O good one.
Continue reading “How to Pray after the Shooting in Bend”