Welcome to Saint Herman's, Hudson, Ohio
Monday, October 25, 2021
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. (Eph 2:19-3:7)
See how the Apostle already groups his target readers (those in Ephesus) by tieing them firmly to the "saints and members of the household of God." This is no accident. St. Paul is preaching salvation already at work, and that those who choose to be followers of Christ are already living in the Kingdom while awaiting their translation from this life to the next. In short, heaven is all around us, and it is ours for the taking if we are faithful to follow His commandments and live lives as He instructed us to do.
The imagery related to the temple is not limited to this passage from Ephesians. He gives the same imagery to those in Corinth when he teaches:
You are God's building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. (1Cor 3:10)
But the Saint seals his teaching with the words that end this same portion of scripture:
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. (1Cor 3:16-17)
We are temples made of flesh. And He of Whom we partake in the Holy Eucharist "builds" within that flesh that which is His. If we partake in faith, the temple grows and is beautified. If we partake in vain, the temple is weakened and incurs loss.
So we dare not lose sight of St. Paul's words, that "the temple of God is holy", and that WE are that temple. The 'behavior' we would have within a church, which we all see as "God's House" must be how we conduct ourselves when we recognize that His Temple, His "house" never departs from where we are.
His 'house' IS heaven. And if we live as described, then truly heaven IS all around us!
Glory to Jesus Christ!
Monday, October 4, 2021
[The following is from Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh. We pray that you find it spiritually edifying. The emphasis is from this page's publisher. - FrB]
When we read the words of the Savior which speak of the simple and carefree way in which we could live, not considering about food and drink, not bothering about how to clothe our bodies — we are filled with two conflicting feelings. On the one hand we think: yes, how simple that would be, and why not live like that? Why not cast off responsibility, why not cast off worry which constantly torment us? On the other hand, the opposite view: but that is impossible! Then we are faced with the question: can something that Christ says really be impossible? Surely His commandments are a way of life?
It seems to me that we can reconcile the opposing reactions in our souls by taking account of the stringent conditions that this freedom imposes. If we want to live as Christ says, seeking only the Kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness in the hope that everything else will be added thereto, we must radically change our whole attitude to life, and stop living in the way we do. The righteousness of the Kingdom of Heaven consists in loving God with our whole heart, with all our mind, with all our strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. That means that nothing, absolutely nothing, must remain in our lives that cannot be called love of God and love of our neighbor. It means that all our thoughts, all our powers, our whole heart must be devoted not to ourselves but to another — to God and to our neighbor. It means that everything that we possess, which gives us comfort and joy, belongs to God and our neighbor; it means that whatever we make use of over and above strict necessity, we are taking away from God and our neighbor.
Nothing that we have belongs to us; whatever we make use of, beyond bare necessity, we have stolen from someone else; whatever we do not part with of our free will, lovingly, we are seizing away from the miracle of God’s kingdom of love. If this were to become our attitude, it would be easy to live by faith in God and the mercifulness of one’s neighbor, for it would mean living in spiritual poverty and physically in such uncovetousness as we cannot conceive of.
Here we see what lies behind the easy words of Christ: forget everything, the Father will look after you. They mean: have only the cares which are God’s, the crucified care of the living God on Golgotha, and then you will enter that Kingdom, where you need nothing, and God will indeed provide everything.
Friday, October 1, 2021
Diligence: n, 'constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken.'
It's a character trait that we value in people. And it is one that is easily recognized, because they are always active, pursuing a goal. They don't waste time in idle pursuits.
We look for these traits in people within the physical realm. Those who are diligent manage to acquire, achieve, attain things which are tangible.
But do we ever look for this trait in the spiritual realm? Do we see it in others? And what would "seeing it" look like, since it is NOT tangible? More to the point, do we pursue spiritual diligence in ourselves?
St. Peter of Damascus writes this:
Without attentiveness and watchfulness of the intellect we cannot be saved and rescued from the devil, who walks about ‘like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour’ (1 Pet. 5:8). For this reason the Lord often said to His disciples, ‘Watch and pray; for you do not know at what hour your Lord is coming’ (Matt. 26:41, 24:42). Through them He was giving a warning to us all about the remembrance of death, so that we should be prepared to offer a defense, grounded in works and attentiveness, that will be acceptable to God. For the demons, as St Hilarion has said, are immaterial and sleepless, concerned only to fight against us and to destroy our souls through word, act and thought. We lack a similar persistence, and concern ourselves now with our comfort and with ephemeral opinion, now with worldly matters, now with a thousand and one other things. We are not in the least interested in examining our life, so that our intellect may develop the habit of so doing and may give attention to itself unremittingly.
St. Peter instructs us to see that we must develop the habit of seeking spiritual gain. It won't happen by osmosis. We are in fact "miners" of salvation, digging, seeking that vein of ore that brings spiritual reward. Miners don't go to work unarmed. They carry picks, shovels, gloves. They don't expect to have the ore jump out and offer itself to them. They know that they must exert themselves with the greatest of effort, expending their strength to make gains.
Spiritual gains are no different. They come with great effort. They come as we arm ourselves with the requisite tools - prayer, fasting, prostrations. They require training by reading scripture and the Fathers.
It requires diligence.
St. Theophan the Recluse teaches this:
While you will not achieve anything just by your own labor, God will not give you anything if you do not labor with all your might.
The path to salvation leads through one's spending oneself in the search for the Kingdom, and the Kingdom is NOT of this world!
Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness... (Mat 6:33)