In my Orthodox parish we will be celebrating Holy Theophany (The Baptism of our Lord) on January 6th. The celebration of this Feast of our Lord actually begins on January 5th, a day known as the Forefeast of Theophany. Together with the other services celebrating this Feast of our Lord, there is a service of the […]
God could be called The Giver. He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus gave his life to destroy death for us, and every Sunday we say, “I believe in The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life.” God gives us His unconditional love, His mercy and His forgiveness. Therefore, as we seek to be restored into His image and likeness, He has ordained that we also become givers. Christianity is all about sacrificial giving. The disciples gave all that they had for the sake of The Kingdom: their possessions, their status, their businesses and even their lives. They followed Jesus who was the ultimate sacrifice.
But God did not give on a whim, or without forethought. Jesus is, “the lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world,” (Rev. 13:8). The Holy Trinity planned the giving and followed through with intention. Certainly, the seven days of creation were well thought out before “Let there be….” was ever spoken. Therefore, our theosis is determined by our intentions…..intentional worship, intentional service, intentional study and prayer, intentional fasting, intentional giving. Without intention, the flesh rises up and annihilates our spiritual growth. If we do not determine to be faithful to the Divine Liturgy, Sunday morning will roll around and we will sleep in. If we do not set a rule of daily prayer and study, we will crawl into bed at night without even whispering the Name of the Lord all day. When we do not establish an amount to give to God, we spend foolishly and there is nothing left over for the Kingdom.
Let us each make an intention to attend more church services, practice greater almsgiving, study more, pray more, fast more, give more and offer more forgiveness and mercy than we did last year. Our journey towards theosis depends on it. God needs nothing that we give for He is All-Sufficient. Giving simply purifies our soul.
Kh. Susan Wallace
When the wife decides to make a “Pumpkin Crunch” dessert – she needs sugar.
When the wife cannot find any sugar in the house at 9:30 PM on Thanksgiving Eve – she sends her husband to the store to buy a sack of sugar.
When the husband goes to the Dollar General store a block from his house – he finds the store closed at 9:00 PM.
When the Dollar General Store is closed he goes to the 7-11 Store around the corner – to find that they don’t sell sugar.
The husband goes to the large grocery store and obeys the traffic laws – politely stops behind a car waiting to turn left into the parking lot.
When the husband is waiting to turn left into the parking lot (with seat-belt buckled, turn-signals flashing, cell phone in his pocket and hands placed at “10 & 2” on the steering wheel…….BAM
The husband (in a small Subaru) gets creamed from behind by a HUGE pickup truck and propels the Subaru forward into the rear of a new KIA SUV – BAM! Whiplash!
So, [following the logic of the DirectTV commercial here] the moral of this story is – NEVER eat Pumpkin Crunch!
(Oh…wait….after the husband gets back home his wife says, “After you left the house, we found where the sugar was in the pantry.”) And sometime after 10:30 PM there was a volcanic eruption in NW Oklahoma City.
O Eternal King without beginning, You who are before all worlds, my Maker, Who have summoned all things from non-being into this life: Bless this day that You, in Your inscrutable goodness, give to me. By the power of Your blessing enable me at all times in this coming day to speak and act for You, to Your glory, in Your fear, according to Your will, with a pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage, wisdom and prayer, aware everywhere of Your presence.
Yes, Lord, in Your immense mercy, lead me by Your Holy Spirit into every good work and word, and grant me to walk all my life long in Your sight without stumbling, according to Your righteousness that You have revealed to us, that I may not add to my transgressions.
O Lord, great in mercy, spare me who am perishing in wickedness; do not hide Your face from me. And when my perverted will would lead me down other paths, do not forsake me, my Savior, but force me back to Your holy path.
O good One, to Whom all hearts are open, You know my poverty and my foolishness, my
blindness and my uselessness, but the sufferings of my soul are also before You. Wherefore I beseech You: Hear me in my affliction and fill me with Your strength from above. Raise me up who am paralyzed with sin, and deliver me who am enslaved to the passions. Heal me from every hidden wound. Purify me from all taint of flesh and spirit. Preserve me from every inward and outward impulse that is unpleasing in Your sight and hurtful to my brother. I beseech You: establish me in the path of Your commandments and to my last breath do not let me stray from the light of Your ordinances, so that Your commandments may become the sole law of my being in this life and in all eternity.
O God, my God, I plead with You for many and great things: do not disregard me. Do not cast me away from Your presence because of my presumption and boldness, but by the power of Your love lead me in the path of Your will. Grant me to love You as You have commanded, with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind, and with all my strength: with my whole being.
For You alone are the holy protection and all-powerful defender of my life, and to You I ascribe glory and offer my prayer.
Grant me to know Your truth before I depart this life. Maintain my life in this world until I may
offer You true repentance. Do not take me away in the midst of my days, and when You are
pleased to bring my life to an end, forewarn me of my death, so that I may prepare my soul to come before You.
Be with me then, O Lord, on my great and sacred day, and grant me the joy of Your salvation. Cleanse me from manifest and secret sins, from all iniquity hidden in me; and give me a right answer before Your dread judgment-seat. Amen.