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, December 6, 2019

Lesser Known Miracle of St. Nicholas

We came upon this one on a web site named, "New Liturgical Movement."   Of the many instances we have of miracles at the hand of St. Nicholas, this was not one in our known list, and so we offer it to you to add to your own treasures.

The account occurs after the falling asleep in the Lord of St. Nicholas, and speaks of a man who had borrowed a sum of money from a certain Jew, and who attempted to cheat his benefactor by falsely claiming that he had repaid the sum.

In the story, the Jew took the man to court to refute the man's claim.  As he was called to court, the thief took a walking staff, and hollowed it out.  Into the opening he placed small pieces of gold before sealing it.  When in court, the man handed his staff to his accuser, and swore to the court that he indeed had given the man what he owed him, and more.  This was in a technical sense true, in that the amount of gold the Jew was then holding was in fact worth more than the debt owed.

While returning from court, however, the cheat was run over by a chariot at a crossroads, and he was killed.  In the process, his staff was broken, and the gold spilled, revealing fully his fraud and treachery.

When it was suggested to the Jew that he reclaim the money that was his, he refused.  He said that he would not "unless the dead man should return to life through the intercessions of St. Nicholas," whom the Jew had come to know of.  This indeed did occur, and resulted in the Jew's accepting baptism.

Holy Father Nicholas, pray to God for us!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Giving Thanks

The word "Eucharist" comes from the Greek meaning "thanksgiving," but perhaps is found closer to the meaning "grateful."  And so, each time we celebrate the Divine Liturgy, each time we participate in the Eucharist, in the very Body and Blood of Christ, we do so with gratefulness, with thanksgiving.

Within the bounds of the Divine Liturgy, at the Anaphora (which again, from the Greek, means "repetition") we offer the following prayer from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom:

Priest:  Let us give thanks unto the Lord.
People:  It is meet and right to worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Trinity One in Essence, and undivided.

After this, the main celebrant again offers, on behalf of all, the following prayer:

It is meet and right to hymn You, to bless You, to praise You, to give thanks to You, and to worship You in every place of Your dominion: for You are God ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever-existing and eternally the same, You and Your Only-begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit.  It was You that brought us forth from non-existence into being, and when we had fallen away You raised us up again, and did not cease to do all things until You had brought us up to heaven, and had endowed us with Your Kingdom which is to come.  For all these things we give thanks to You, and to Your Only-begotten Son, and to Your Holy Spirit, for all things of which we know and of which we know not, whether manifest or unseen; and we thank You for this Liturgy which You have deigned to accept at our hands, though there stand by You thousands of archangels and hosts of angels, the Cherubim and the Seraphim, six-winged, many-eyed, who soar aloft, borne on their pinions.

Our thanks is repeated.  And that is also "meet and right," for God's benefits to us do not cease.  All too often, His benefits go unnoticed.  How many good things do I receive each and every day which I do not stop and attribute to God?!  How many times might I take cursory notice, and not give thanks!?

Within the Liturgy of Saint Basil, we find perhaps an improved way of coming before the Lord in thanksgiving.  He gives us this prayer:

O our God, the God of salvation, teach us to thank You worthily for the benefits which You have performed for us and still perform with us.

My ability to offer thanks to God is inadequate, and in asking for His divine instruction, I demonstrate my desire to "get it right".  Giving thanks to God is not something done just in words.  It is accomplished by deeds, by helping those in need, by praying for those who need prayer, by offering kind words to those who can benefit from them, by praying for those who abuse us.... By loving enemies and caring for "the least of His brethren."  When we offer thanks to Him in this way, by action AND by word, we then may seek to continue Saint Basil's prayer.

Having accepted our offering, O our God, purify us from every defilement of flesh and spirit, and teach us how to perfect our sanctification in the fear of You, so that receiving a portion of Your holy things with a pure conscience we may be united with the Holy Body and Blood of Your Christ.  Having received them worthily, may we have Christ dwelling in our hearts, and may we become the Temple of Your Holy Spirit.

When will our thanskgiving be complete?  I dare say never.  But while we remain in this life, our giving thanks to God needs to be seen not as an offering, but as a sustaining component of our being.  We are strong in faith when we find God's gifts in everything He allows to come our way.  Yes, this applies even to hardship.  How is this possible?  Consider how those you may have encountered (if you need inspriation, think through just this past year) who were stricken with terrible disease.  Some recovered, and in their recovery we find that our being drawn to God in prayer was fundamental in His "gift" of the healing of the disease.  Some did not recover, and in their grace-filled dealing with their illness, we found God's gift of strength, dignity, and perhaps an even greater immersion into our own prayerful connection with Him.  These gifts were given to those who were stricken with the illness, but also to all who came through love to pray with and for them.  And today, all of us are able to look back with profound thanksgiving for those "gifts"!  And what of the "gifts" of drivers who cut us off in traffic - a gift for self-control and humility.  Or the "gift" of a neighbor who is alone and just needs someone to talk with - a gift of sacrificing time which some see as lost, but we come to view as serving one in need.  There are myriads of difficult things in our lives which, if we accept God's teaching us to thank Him, we come to view not as burdens, but as "gifts"!

Saint Basil's prayer ends with the ultimate goal of all of this issue of giving thanks.

Enable us, even to our last breath, to receive a portion of Your holy things worthily, as a support on the road to eternal life and an acceptable defense at the dread judgment seat of Your Christ.  That we also, together with all the saints who through the ages have been well-pleasing to You, may become partakers of Your eternal good things, which You have prepared for those who love You, O Lord.

A blessed Thanksgiving to all!  Let us give thanks unto the Lord!!

Friday, September 27, 2019

The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ Be With You!

We find the words in this title in the Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians.  There in closing his epistle to them he conveys the blessing—”The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  Amen!”  They’re powerful words, and we echo them at every Divine Liturgy as we come to the Anaphora.  They are words that come again to us in the Gospel lesson for the Second Sunday of the Gospel of St. Luke.
In this Gospel (Luke 6:31-36) we find Jesus teaching and healing all those who sought after Him.  And in His teaching, Jesus shows the love of God for His creation, for before we encounter the words of today’s Gospel, Jesus explains to those who have come to Him, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.  To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also.  And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.  Give to everyone who asks of you.  And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.”  What a preface for what then comes in the balance of the Gospel lesson!
For in this lesson, God’s love for us is fully revealed.  It requires us to become students—to desire with all of our hearts to seek and to understand the Lord’s teaching, and how He intends for us to use that teaching to change not only us as His followers, His disciples, but how then He expects that we will change the world by the degree to which we follow Him!
In this reading Jesus says to us, “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?”  Here is where we as students must emerge.  “What credit?”  What does Jesus mean?  Is He referring to accounts in some fashion?  Is He saying that our love to others for whom love may seem undeserved earns us “points” with God?  Well, to a certain extent you could make such an argument, and not be wrong.  But to truly be a student, we must dig deeper. 
You see, the word used for “credit” in Greek is χάρις, (cha’-ris), which translates as credit in our translation, as thanks in some others, but carries that very much deeper meaning, that of grace!  Yes, it’s the same word used by St. Paul in 2Cor 14 and referenced in this article’s title.
Jesus is saying to us, “What grace do you receive if you behave as ‘regular people’ behave?”  Grace is that which comes from God, that which in and of itself is Godly.  And so when we show love to those for whom the world would say that they are undeserving, we are showing ourselves to have received the grace of God in our baptisms, to be living the grace of God through our participation in Christ’s Body and Blood, and to be seeking yet greater grace of God through following where our own Master has already led us.  For we know no greater love that that which Jesus showed from the Cross, as He prayed to the Father, “Forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
Saint John records these words in his Gospel, “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” (John 1:16)  It is by loving the unlovable, by caring for those whose hate can only be defeated by showing the power of love, by not forcing ourselves but by desiring with all our being to live that life that our Lord has already shown us as His perfect example of how He has taught us that we should also live, it is by all of these that we truly become His disciples.
The world will tell you you’re crazy.  Just recognize that as they to convince you of this, they too need to feel God’s love—through someone as radical as you and me, if we can find it in our hearts to live the lives our Lord has called us to live, lives that conform to the example He has shown us, to walk as He has walked.  
For I don't know about you, but I don't deserve His love - and yet I know with all certainty that it is there! And as He loves me, the unloveable, he calls me to love all others.  All!