Welcome to Saint Herman's, Hudson, Ohio

This blog is a partial compilation of the messages, texts, readings, and prayers from our small 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! We are open, and we welcome inside the Church all visitors. See our Parish web page:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

On the Coming of the Holy Spirit

Saint Gregory Dialogos writes of this Feast by teaching, "Consider the greatness of this solemn Feast that commemorates God's coming as a guest into our hearts!"  It never fails to amaze me how the Fathers boil down into easily manageable ideas that most complex of issues.

God truly comes to dwell not just near to us, but within us!  The prayer of the Feast, which constitutes the opening prayer of every Divine service, includes the words, "Come and abide in us."  The words don't ask God to give us words of inspiration.  They don't ask Him to help us in some obscure or oblique way.  They ask Him to live within us.  And the most amazing thing is that He desires this, sinful as I am.  He wants me to change, to seek Him with my whole heart, conforming that heart which is stony to that which He has given me as an example through Jesus Christ.

Saint Basil the Great has perhaps written the definitive work, titled "On the Holy Spirit."  Within that wonderful work, there are yet more such teachings which are simple to grasp.

When Saint Basil teaches of the gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit, he says, "He is distributed, but not changed.  He is shared, yet remains whole.  Consider the sunbeam.  Each person upon whom its kindly light falls rejoices as if the sun existed for him alone, yet it illumines land and sea, and is master of the atmosphere.  In the same way, the Spirit is given to each one who receives Him as if He were the possession of that person alone, yet He sends forth sufficient grace to fill all the universe.  Everything that partakes of His grace is filled with joy according to its capacity - the capacity of its nature, not of His power." (Ch 9, Para 22)

With respect to the relationship within the Holy Trinity, Saint Basil spends a great deal of time.  But among the more approachable arguments is, "The Father creates through His will alone and does not need the Son, yet chooses to work through the Son.  Likewise the Son works as the Father's likeness, and needs no other cooperation, by He chooses to have His work completed through the Spirit.  'By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the Spirit of His mouth.' (Ps 32:6)  The Word is not merely air set in motion by the organs of speech, nor is the Spirit of His mouth an exhalation of the lungs, but the Word is He Who was with God in the beginning, and was God (Jn 1:21), and the Spirit of God's mouth is the Spirit of truth Who proceeds from the Father. (Jn 15:26)  Perceive these three: the Lord Who commands, the Word Who creates, and the Spirit Who strengthens." (Ch 16, Para 38)

On the ability to know God and our eternal salvation, Saint Basil teaches, "One cannot see the Father without the Spirit!  It would be like living in a house at night when the lamps are extinguished; one's eyes would be darkened and could not exercise their function.  Unable to distinguish the value of objects, one might very well treat gold as if it were iron." (Ch 16, Para 38) "On the day of judgment, (the Spirit) will be completely cut off from the soul that has defiled His grace.  That is why Scripture says that in hell no one confesses God and in death none can remember Him (Ps 6:6), since the Spirit's help is no longer present." (Ch 16, Para 40)

On the issue of our carrying our faith even when it seems to us that we are doing so without support of others, he teaches, "I learned from the example of the children in Babylon (the Three Holy Youths) that when there is no one to support the cause of true faith, we must accomplish our duties alone.  They sang a hymn to God from the midst of the flames, not thinking of the multitudes who rejected the truth, but content to have each other, though there were only three of them." (Ch 30, Para 79)

As we come to this Great Feast of the Church, the "birthday" of the Church of Christ, let us pray that our hearts will be filled by the Holy Spirit.   In so praying, let us take the necessary steps to purge from our hearts all that separates us from God - anger, hatred, fear, covetousness, pride, gluttony, lusts, and every human frailty.  Let us "make room" for Him in our hearts, that He may truth fill us.  As we sing in Stichera on Lord I Call from the Vespers of Kneeling after Divine Liturgy on this coming Sunday,

"The Holy Spirit is without beginning and without end, fully united with the Father and the Son, known as our Life and Life-giver, and as Light and Light-giver, good by nature and the fountain of goodness, through Him the Father is known and the Son is glorified, teaching us to worship the Trinity as one Rank and Power."

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