Welcome to Saint Herman's, Hudson, Ohio

This blog is a partial compilation of the messages, texts, readings, and prayers from our small mission community. We pray that it will be used by our own people, to their edification. And if you happen by and are inclined to read, give the glory to God!

The blog title, "Will He Find Faith on the Earth?" is from Luke 18:8, the "Parable of the Persistent Widow." It overlays the icon of the Last Judgment, an historical event detailed in Matthew Chapter 25, for which we wait as we pray in the Nicean Creed.

We serve the Holy Orthodox cycle of services in contemporary English. Under the omophorion of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Bulgarian Patriarchal Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia, we worship at 5107 Darrow Road in Hudson, Ohio (44236). If you are in the area, please join us for worship!

Regular services include:
Sunday Divine Liturgy 10AM (Sept 1 - May 31)
930AM (June 1 - Aug 31)
Vespers each Saturday 6PM

We pray that you might join us for as many of these services as possible!

Friday, July 10, 2020

A Prayer For Deliverance From the Virus

Lord Jesus Christ our God, You traveled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.” At Your command, the sick were made well.
Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of this virus, that we may experience Your healing love. Heal those O Lord who are suffering with this pandemic's illness. May they regain their strength and health through medical care as Your instrument of healing.
Heal us from our fears, which prevent nations from working together and neighbors from helping one another. Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders. Lord Jesus Christ, Healer of all and Physician of our souls and bodies, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.
Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with You in Your eternal peace. Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know Your peace.
Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know Your protection and peace.
Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people You have blessed them to serve. Give them the wisdom to choose long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know Your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.
Whether we are at home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Lord Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us Your peace.
For You are the Physician of our souls and bodies, O Christ our God, and to You we offer glory, thanksgiving and worship, together with Your eternal Father and Your all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

What Are We SUPPOSED To Do?

Most of us are appalled at what we are witnessing in our society.  I suppose there is at least some morsel of truth in assigning 'blame' on the pandemic.  But Christians are not a people who dwell on blame, except as a tool to purge from our own beings that which separates us from God - specifically, our OWN sins, and the 'blame' we ascribe to ourselves in attempting to purge from ourselves that which we know separates us from God.

Without moving towards being judgmental, but rather using discernment, we search for where we might find our Lord's hand in the things we see happening in the world around us.  All too often, we exhaust that search without finding anything edifying.  Riots in the streets.  Continued slaughter of innocents in abortion.  Murders rampant in our cities.  And instead of rational dialog on how to fix societal problems, we are confronted with a never-ending set of litanies by opposing political sides who only seem to vehemently blame the other.  All the while, we hold out hope for reconciliation, for justice, for peace, and for righteousness to prevail.

Saint Anthony the Great lived in the deserts of Egypt in the late 3rd and early 4th centuries.  He is known as "the father of monasticism", and he taught many to live the monastic life, developing a monastic rule by which many continue to this day to live such lives.  Within the writings of St. Anthony is one pearl that points to days such as these, and we should guard it with all the integrity that we can muster.  He said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, 'You are mad; you are not like us.'"

Is this not the argument we might offer about the world around us today?  As Christians, we are accused of hating, of unrighteous exertion of "privilege", of being judgmental, of being hypocritical, of being all things anti-society.  Why are we so accused?

Is it not because we call sinful that which is sinful?  Is it not because we call the sick to enter the spiritual hospital (the Church) to be healed? 

The world refuses to use the word "sin".  In our spiritual and social relativism, anything goes, nothing is banned or called wrong or in error.  Saying that someone has fallen into sin is now officially defined as hate-speech in some places (just search the net for clergy jailed for hate-speech). 

The fact that we are seen by the world as being mad and not like them is a condition that we must use to engage this world.  We don't need to go any further than our Lord's own words as we consider the implications.  Jesus said, "If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you."  But what is the reason for this condition?  Jesus explains that, too.  "If you were of the world, the world would love its own.  Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.....because they do not know Him Who sent Me." (John 15:18-21)

So back to the title - What are we supposed to do given these circumstances, that the world sees us as not belonging to it, and as a threat to its authority? 

We do what our Lord did.  We follow His divine example.  We love first.  We feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and imprisoned.  We carry His love to the least of His brethren.  Matthew Chapter 25 is our call to action!

You will say, "But father, the people who are at odds with us aren't naked or homeless.  How does this apply?"

Let us reply to such thoughts with this.  Those whose stomachs are overflowing with food are still hungry for the truth.  Those who bathe in hour long showers and drink gallons of liquids daily are still thirsty for wisdom and understanding.  Those who have closets filled with fine apparel are still naked in understanding God's love for them, a love that could clothe them with His righteousness - if only they were open to it.  Those who live in houses from the most modest to the most ornate are still needing to find that eternal home in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Those who have the best body mass indexes, heart rates, and blood pressures are still infirm in spirit.  And those who are free to go anywhere and do anything are still imprisoned by beliefs that are designed to hide God's truth from their views - His love for them all equally, His free gift of salvation if only they choose to repent and embrace that gift.

This is why we are here, at this point in time.  Again, the Lord said, "the gates of Hades" shall not prevail against His Church until the time of His return (Mat 16:18).  Why us?  Why now?  God knows!  All I can tell you is that for His own reasons (and for our own salvation) He has placed us here in this place at this time, and has given to us the same charge to defend His Church that He has given to His disciples throughout the history of the Church.

If we are faithful to follow where He has already led, we will be found to be worthy of the calling of disciples.  But beware.  The Lord also issued a warning to us.  "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38)

So be steadfast in faith.  Do not conform with the world around us.  We are not of this world, nor are we called to be anything except servants of our homeland (Heaven) while we sojourn within this world.  If we are found to be such, we retain hope that we might hear His voice at that last day saying to us, "Well done, good and faithful servant;  ....  Enter into the joy of your Lord." (Mat 25:23)

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Prayer of the Optina Elders

Grant unto me, O Lord, that with peace of mind I may face all that this new day is to bring.
Grant unto me to dedicate myself completely to Your Holy Will.
For every hour of this day, instruct and support me in all things.
Whatsoever tidings I may receive during the day, teach me to accept tranquilly, in the firm conviction that all eventualities fulfill Your Holy Will.
Govern my thoughts and feelings in all I do and say.
When things unforeseen occur , let me not forget that all comes down from You.
Teach me to behave sincerely and rationally toward every member of my family, that I may bring confusion and sorrow to none.
Bestow upon me, my Lord, strength to endure the fatigue of the day, and to bear my part in all its passing events.
Guide my will and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to suffer, to forgive, and to love.