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!

Monday, February 23, 2015

How Do I Turn From Sin?

As we enter the fast, we begin to take our spiritual inventory, and we begin to seek out the places in our hearts and souls where we know we fail in our walk towards the Lord.  And so we ask the title's question:  "How do I turn from my sin?"

The following is from St. Theophan the Recluse, and the book "Thoughts for Each Day of the Year."  The answer to the question is contained in the ending phrase;  "Be sober, watch and pray."  In our sobriety, let us root out the secret places in our hearts where sin hides.  In our watchfulness, let us carry our finding to the place of repentance.  And in our prayer, let us ask the Lord to lead us not into temptation, so that we may not again fail as we have before.

The devil approached the God-man with temptations.  Who then among men is free of them?

He who goes according to the will of the evil one does not experience attacks, but is simply turned more and more toward evil. 
As soon as one begins to come to himself and intends to begin a new life according to God’s will, immediately the entire satanic realm enters into action: they hasten to scatter good thoughts and the intentions of the repentant one in any way they can.
If they do not manage to turn him aside, they attempt to hinder his good repentance and confession; if they do not manage to do that, they contrive to sow tares amidst the fruits of repentance and disrupt his labors of cleansing the heart.
If they do not succeed in suggesting evil they attempt to distort the truth; if they are repulsed inwardly they attack outwardly, and so on until the end of one’s life. They do not even let one die in peace; even after death they pursue the soul, until it escapes the aerial space where they hover and congregate.
You ask, “What then should we do? It seems hopeless and terrifying!”
For a believer there is nothing terrifying here, because near a God-fearing person demons only busy themselves, but they do not have any power over him. A sober person of prayer shoots arrows against them, and they stay far away, not daring to approach, and fearing the defeat which they have already experienced.
If they succeed in something, it is due to our blundering. We slacken our attention, or allow ourselves to be distracted by their phantoms, and they immediately come and disturb us more boldly.
If you do not come to your senses in time they will whirl you about; but if a soul does come to its senses they again recoil and spy from afar to see whether it is possible to approach again somehow.
So be sober, watch, and pray—and the enemies will do nothing to you.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Blessing My Enemies

In the world around us, there is always a worldly attempt to define friend and enemy.  The political machinations that surround us seem to try to make one from another with such great regularity that we can't keep track any longer.

The following is wisdom from St. Nikolai Velimirovich (from "Prayers by the Lake") on praying for ones enemies.  It is profound, and we share it with you hoping it will move you as it has us!

     Enemies have driven me into Your embrace more than friends have.
     Friends have bound me to earth; enemies have loosed me from the earth and have demolished all my aspirations of the world.
     Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world. Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconced myself beneath Your tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul.
     Bless my enemies, O Lord.  Even I bless them and do not curse them.  
     
     They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world.
     They have punished me, whenever I have hesitated to punish myself.
     They have tormented me, whenever I have tried to flee torments.
     They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered myself.
     They have spat upon me, whenever I have filled myself with arrogance.
     Bless my enemies, O Lord.  Even I bless them, and do not curse them.

     Whenever I have made myself wise, they have called me foolish.
     Whenever I have made myself mighty, they have mocked me as though I were a dwarf.
     Whenever I have wanted to lead people, they have shoved me into the background.
     Whenever I have rushed to enrich myself, they have prevented me with an iron hand.
     Whenever I thought that I would sleep peacefully, they have wakened me from sleep.
    Whenever I have tried to build a home for a long and tranquil life, they have demolished it and driven me out.
    Truly, enemies have cut me loose from the world and have stretched out my hands to the hem of Your garment.
     Bless my enemies, O Lord.  Even I bless them and do not curse them.

     Bless them and multiply them; multiply them and make them even more bitterly set against me,
          so that my fleeing to You may have no return,
          so that all hope in men may be scattered like cobwebs,
          so that absolute serenity may begin to reign in my soul,
          so that my heart may become the grave of my two evil twins, arrogance and anger,
          so that I might amass all my treasure in heaven,
       and, ah, so that I may for once be freed from self-deception, which has entangled me in the dreadful web of illusory life.

     Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone knows - that a person has no enemies in the world except himself.
     One hates his enemies only when he fails to realize that they are not enemies, but cruel friends.

     It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good and who has done me more evil in the world: friends, or enemies.
     Therefore bless, O Lord, both my friends and my enemies.

     A slave curses enemies, for he does not understand.  But a son blesses them, for he understands.  For a son knows that his enemies cannot touch his life.  

     Therefore he freely steps among them and prays to God for them.