Our Holy Father Dionysius of Olympus, the Wonderworker (January 24)
Our Holy Mother Xenia (January 24)
Our Holy Father Philo, Bishop of Cyprus (January 24)
The Holy Martyr Babylas (January 24)
Our Holy Father Macedonius (January 24)
In our day, we often hear parents say that they want to insure the lives of their children. To this end they make such great efforts, amass riches (often illicit riches), educate their children for that voc-ation which brings the surest physical security and material help. And so-called Christians do the same. They do this because their concept of real life and real security of life is faulty. But this is how a true Christian prepares his son for real life: At her death, blessed Euphrosyne said to her son, Clement of Ancyra: `Do me honour, my son, and stand for Christ as a man, and confess Him with strength and steadfastness. I hope, dear heart, that the crown of martyrdom will soon flower upon you, to the salvation of many ... Fear neither threats nor the sword, nor wounds nor fire. Nothing can separate you from Christ. But look into the heavens and await thence the great and eternal and rich reward of God. Fear God's majesty, fear His judgment, tremble before His all-seeing Eye, for those who deny Him will suffer the unquenched fire and the ever-vigilant worm. May this be my reward from you, my sweet son, for the pain of giving you birth and for the care of your upbringing -that I may be known as the mother of a martyr. The blood that you received from me do not spare but shed, that that too may give me honour. Give your body to martyrdom, that I may rejoice at that before the Lord, as though I myself alone suffered for Him.'
Let me ponder on the Lord Jesus as the teacher: 1. Who teaches how a man must think in order to be saved. 2. Who teaches how a man must speak in order to be saved. 3. Who teaches how a man must act in order to be saved.
-on the most discerning prophet.
`Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?' (Matt. 9:4).
When the Lord found it right to reprimand the Pharisees and Scribes, they had not at that time killed or deceived or robbed any-one. Not only that; at that time they had offended no-one, even by words. Why, then, did He upbraid them, when they had commited no offence either in deed or word? Because they thought evil thoughts.
And evil thoughts are sin. This is another of those great tidings that Christ brings to the world. It is precisely evil thoughts that are the origin of all sin, for, before a man speaks or acts sinfully, he thinks sinfully. Thought is the causative sin; other sins are only resultant sins. He who wishes to exterminate the latter must uproot the former. He who wishes to stop a flow of water must first drain the source. Let no-one, then, justify himself by saying: 'I am not a sinner, for I have never killed nor robbed nor profaned nor lied.' For lo, we are full of murderous, plundering, blasphemous and deceitful thoughts. If we have not sinned in deed, that is simply a matter of the mercy of God and external circumstance. Had God slackened His hold and the opportunity presented itself, we would have committed all the sins that were in our thoughts. A snake is not poisonous only when it bites, but also when it does not bite; it carries the poison in itself. So not only is the thought evil; it is the source of sin, the begin-ning of sin, the seed and root of sin. This is why the all-seeing and all-knowing Lord thus reprimanded those who thought evil: 'Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?'
O all-seeing and all-knowing Lord, help us to cleanse our hearts and minds from evil thoughts, that so our words and deeds may be pure. To Thee be glory and praise for ever. Amen.
* From "The Prologue from Ochrid", by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic - Lazarica Press - Birmingham 1985
Four Book Edition - Translated by Mother Maria - Dates based on old church calendar.
Please see our calendar for conversion between old and new calendar dates.