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!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Few Thoughts on Prayer

"You remember how you were taught to write.  Your mother put a pencil in your hand, took your hand in hers, and began to move it.  Since you did not know at all what she meant to do, you left your hand completely free in hers.  This is like the power of God in our lives."  (Metropolitan Anthony Bloom)

There are times in our lives (each of us) when we find ourselves confused, or lost, or sorrowful, or in despair, or any of a thousand other human conditions that would not exist if we didn't live in a fallen world and amongst our own sins.

When we are in such states, too often we turn to prayer is a manner that is not consistent with our Lord's teaching.  Perhaps we fall short of issuing demands to God (the ever-poignant "Give me patience and give it to me now!"), but we nonetheless pray with a singular focus that is self-centered.  Our words in some fashion lead us to a place of first-personness in our prayer.  "I need (this)."  "Lord, grant that I may receive (that)."  "Father, help ME by providing (something)."

The I/ME/MY portions of prayers are not totally what's at fault here.  It's true that The Lord's Prayer gives us direction to consider the first-person plural ("Give US this day our daily bread..." , or "forgive US OUR trespasses as WE forgive THOSE...").  Rather, it's the lack of focus on, "Lord, teach me to do Your will," and "Open my heart to receive and accept the path You would have me take."

When our prayers are offered, we need to know that they are always heard and always answered.  God's answers are not always aligned with our pleas, but He DOES answer.  In turn, WE need to listen and to find His answers in what results from our prayer.

For all who offer your prayers hoping for answers consistent with your pleas, do not stop!  Redouble your efforts to pray.  Continue to ask for what you, in your heart guided by the Holy Spirit, believe to be in your best interests (SPIRITUALLY, that is).  And then, live as though you know (not just believe) that your prayer is being answered.

Metropolitan Anthony again teaches, "A prayer makes sense only if it is lived."

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Patron Saints

Today, 09 August, is a day on which we commemorate the "glorification" of our parish's patron saint, Saint Herman of Alaska.  It is an auspicious day in that we remember this glorification, or "canonization" in some uses, on this date in 1970, now 47 years ago.

Over a year earlier (on 13 March 1969), the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America issued an address concerning Father Herman, speaking to his holy life, his labors for the Church, and of the intention to canonize him on the following year's 09 August.

For us, who call ourselves his spiritual children, we are familiar with his life.  We know of his incredible journey from Valaam to Alaska.  We know of his life spent defending the native Americans, of working to heal them during times of epidemic, of establishing schools and orphanages to care for the children, of working miraculous deeds in defending them from tsunami and fire.  We know of his shortness of stature, and of his incredible physical strength.  We know of his humility (for some sought to ordain him to the Holy Priesthood, which he rejected as being unworthy).  And we know how he welcomed all who came in any need.

Today, as we celebrate this feast of his glorification, we offer prayers to God in praise of him, simultaneous with our prayers to St. Herman to intercede for us before God for our own needs.

As we offer these prayers, let us never forget the root of what it is that makes St. Herman, and indeed all of our Lord's Saints, "special", makes them "friends of God."

It is Love!

When one's life is guided by an unbridled love for all of God's children, and indeed for all of His Creation, this love cannot be contained.  It overflows the vessel of our being, and those who are near to us benefit from the overflow for they receive, not from us, but from the Source of all Love, that Divine Love of which we can only offer a dim reflection.  And yet, in reflecting that love, we follow where our Lord commands us to go.  We love neighbors as ourselves.  We love enemies.  We love without restraint or reservation.

Our Lord demonstrates to me the unlimited nature of His love if I find myself accepting of the fact that He indeed loves me, even in my sinfulness and unworthiness.  If God in His perfection can love me, how can I deny love toward any of my fellow beings, for we are all created in His image, are we not?  And if we are, then we MUST find the way to see our Lord within every other human being we encounter.

Our country and our world are torn apart by division, distrust, hatred.  These cannot be cured by resorting to human solutions.  It is only love that can repair the torn fabric of humanity.  You will say, "But Father, there are those who simply will not accept our love - what then?"  The answer is simple.  Love anyway!  Will others have their hatred converted to love by showing them hatred in return?  In how many instances in the Prologue do we find those persecuting the Church converted into Christians, not by cunning argument, not by well crafted sermons, not by intellectual engagement, but by showing love to them as they demonstrate their hatred and fury against us?

And so, on this day, we pray to our blessed Patron and ask him to intercede before our Lord so that we may engrave upon our hearts the words that he, Saint Herman, gave to us.  "For our good, for our happiness at least let us make a vow that from this day, from this hour, from this minute we will strive to love God above all else, and to fulfill His Holy Will."

Amen!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Entering the Great Fast

My brothers and sisters in Christ:

Glory to Jesus Christ!

We find ourselves at the threshold of the Great Fast.  It is a time for spiritual housekeeping and renewal.  It is a time for us to find (dare I say coerce) every possible way to extricate ourselves from the world and reconnect ourselves to the Church, and through Her, to our Lord.

The Great Fast is certainly a time for fasting!  Saint Seraphim of Sarov taught, "One should not think about the doings of God when one's stomach is full; on a full stomach there can be no vision of the Divine mysteries."  Thus, fasting from foods is clearly a spiritual benefit and requirement for this season, and indeed for every fasting day called for by the Church.

But I ask all to remember that fasting applies to more than just food.  Fasting as a regimen must also include reading scripture, reading the Holy Fathers, almsgiving, care for the poor and needy, increased prayer for self and for others, especially those hardest to love.  Guard the tongue as well.  Saint John Chrysostom teaches, "The evil speaker eats the flesh of his brother, and bites the body of his neighbor."  

Saint Herman's will enter the Fast in our normal fashion - by celebrating Divine Liturgy on the Sunday of Cheesefare, followed immediately by the Vespers of Forgiveness, in which we enter the Fast by requesting and freely giving forgiveness from one another of our sins.

Inside the first week of the Fast, there will be services every evening at 6PM.

Mon/Tue/Thu we will pray the Canon of Saint Andrew.
Wed/Fri we will celebrate the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
Saturday we'll celebrate Vespers at 6PM, before returning again on Sunday for 10AM Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great (Mar 05)

We pray that this Fast will bring great blessings and spiritual growth and healing to all, and that through this, our Lord will grant us to pray together, sharing His Body and Blood in the Eucharist many times during this Great Fast!

In anticipation of the services of this coming Sunday, let me in all humility ask of all of you to forgive me of my many sins, faults, and shortcomings.  Know in your hearts that I forgive all without reservation or constraint!

In Christ,
Father Basil