Below the reader will find my translation of sermon 11 in the series of sermons by St. Seraphim on the Div. Liturgy. May his inspired words of explanation on the Div. Liturgy continue to stir up in us a deeper love for God and a greater zeal to worship Him. (All titles are my own for the purposes of my blog). Previous sermons may be found here.
Below the reader will find the work of St. Theophan the Recluse, “On Truth and Love.” On some of my social media accounts, I posted the recent statement from the Synod of the OCA, “On Same-Sex Relations and Sexual Identity.” In it, Glory to God, the Synod upholds Orthodox teaching. It was striking to me how a number of folks “Online,” even those claiming to be Orthodox, were decrying the statement as “unloving” and such. St. Theophan addressed the modern miss application of “love.” Sadly, many who would be Christians have put their faith in the message of the world over that of the Gospel and Holy Fathers. Everyone will choose to believe something. The modern message of “love” is not truly more loving, rather those who claim to be Christians and who accept it have made a willful choice. They have made a choice to believe the world over Christ and His Church. The type of “love” they champion is not Chrisitan Love but a false love that St. Theophan calls “indifferentism.”
Below the reader will find a sermon by one of the few American-born Orthodox saints, Sebastian Dabovich (1863-1940). The sermon was originally printed in the 1966 September – October issue of the Orthodox Word, pp. 129-132. All end notes are from the original article.V
1886 saw a terrible cholera epidemic in the city of Kolyvan, Siberia when young Pavel (Paul) Lasareff was 6 years old. Days passed while the family watched wagons carrying many bodies to be buried. From the Orthodox Church, the sound of the mournful bells rang out day after day. On Trinity Sunday, young Pavel clung to his mother in fear, and that evening, he refused to eat.
We often become frustrated with ourselves, wanting to change bad behavior, but seemingly incapable of making the changes we desire. Each week we confess the same sins over and over. We know the priest has heard the same confession, week after week, and we’re aware that he could probably say our confession for us, having heard it that often. What we don’t seem to know is that there is a simple reason for our repetition. These bad behaviors only seem to be unchangeable because we don’t really struggle with the passions in a way that will bring about successful change.
Some time ago I was listening to one of the last songs recorded by Johnny Cash, probably the best country western singer of all time. The line in his song, “put me in my box on the 309”, is coming from a man who was facing his own imminent death. With the loss of his beloved wife, June Carter Cash still heavy on his heart, Johnny was ready to go to God.
How easy it is to worship with all piety and correctness while standing in a service within an Orthodox temple, yet make no effort to live Orthodoxy during the rest of our week. If we are abusive towards our spouse, abrasive with a coworker, and short tempered with a neighbor, all the piety and liturgical correctness of our Sunday morning is of no value.
– O Lord, I am no one. Just a blind beggar in the outer court. I have no eyes to see, I have no wealth by which to live. I am forgotten and despised by men. Have mercy on me. Illumine my eyes, O never setting Light of the world.
Restore in me the inner eye of the soul, which I have lost through sin and death.
And the hand of God took earth and mixed it with His saliva and made clay. He breathed into it His Life and anointed me with earth and the moisture of His Grace. Go and wash in the waters of Life, the waters of the Him who was sent into the world by the Father, the Light of the world, the Living Water, the Great Siloam.
Our thoughts really do have an impact on our world. Negative thoughts about family members or fellow employees change our relationships. If we dislike someone at work and allow ourselves to think poorly of them, they are likely to fulfill our low expectations. If we pray for them and ask God to bless them, while asking the Lord to bless our interaction with them, they become changed for the good, and so do we.
“Let this mind be in you …” (Phil. 2:5).
Mind, in the above instance in the Greek, phroneo. When applied to the Christian life it means, basically, to have understanding, to be wise. To think as to think soberly. It is in some sense a governing principle. One’s phroneo will indicate one’s state.
Phroneo can become corrupted and perverted.