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Daily Journal (Quiet Time)

Daily Journal (Quiet Time)

  • "Repent for the kingdom of God from within is at hand" "The Commemoration Of The Martyrdom Of St. Cyprian and St. Justina"

      

    (Romans 12:1-2)


    "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."



    St. Anthony The Great once told his disciples, "All of the commandments are neither heavy nor difficult but eternal joy and light for those who obey to the end." God wants us to taste the powerful love flowing from the cross, which enables us to obey and offer ourselves as living sacrifices "to the end." Jesus changed the symbol of the cross from a sign of weakness and shame to a never-ending source of strength beyond our own and glory above our expectations. He is now asking to just carry that cross daily as a means of sacrifice in order to grow in his love.



    What is the difference between a dead sacrifice and a living sacrifice? 



    Dear LORD, 

    I long to offer all on the altar of sanctification. Let me follow in the footsteps of St. Justina who lived a life of worship that was accepted as a sweet aroma. The current of life flowing from her endless sacrifice radically led to the conversion of Cyprian the chief of sorcerers and made him St. Cyprian the Bishop. They perfected their sacrifice to the shedding of their blood together for Your name. Teach me to sacrifice my own life for you Lord and die daily to remember your love for me!
    Amen.


  • "Kingdom of God" The commemoration of the Departure of Saint Theopesta

     

       Genesis 12:1-4

     "Now the Lord had said to Abram: 'Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.' So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him."

     

     I have been praying recently for God's love to be poured and rekindled in my heart. His answer? He wants me to empty my heart from emotional attachments, even to friends and family members, so that I may have a place to receive the full outpouring of His love and to step into new realms. God doesn't want a part of my heart. He wants ALL of it just as he gave all of himself to me. He is zealous for our love for him, so we have to let go of other kinds of love that are holding us away from Him.

     

     

    What are the attachments that God wants to free me from? 

     

     

    Dear Lord, 

    How magnificent is the life of St Theopoesta.

    She accepted the cross of her husband's death at a young age and consecrated her emotions and life for YOU as a sacrifice of love. Although she had a son, she led a life of strict worship, ascetism and devotion... Even after she passed away, her body was the source of many miracles and her son followed in her footsteps.

     Teach me Lord to love YOU more than I love anything and anyone in this life.

    May the grace of her sacrifice of love flow in ours. Amen.

     


     

  • The Feast of the Cross

      

    The more our fathers experienced the cross, the more they realized that it is a never-ending, rich fountain springing with living streams of grace and love. It is only through the grace of the cross that we receive the power to offer love and sacrifice. Once I am filled with the love of Christ on the cross, I am able to sacrifice myself and, therefore, pour the love in my heart on others to receive more of the love of Christ.

     

     How else does this power flow in us except through our union with the crucified? 
    What kind of love makes me offer sacrifice? How can I acquire this love? 



    Dear Lord, 

    I entreat you to cover me with the grace of Saint Gregory the Armenian. When he refused to offer sacrifice to the idols, the king cast him into a pit. However, God ordered a woman to throw a piece of bread in that pit everyday for 15 years as means of taking care of him. When the king became sick, he called St. Gregory out of the pit to pray for him and God indeed healed him.

     

    Teach me Lord to never stop loving others like you have loved me, even before I came to existence. I can only find that love in YOU on the cross, so lead me to the cross.

    Oh that I may become so drunk with this deep love springing from the cross that I may give my life as a sacrifice for the beloved. Amen.

     

      Vespers

    Psalm 45:6,17

    Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
    A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
    I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations;
    Therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever.

    Gospel

    Matt 16:21-26

    From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
    Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!"
    But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."
    Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

     

    Matins

    Psalm 74:2 ; Psalm 74:12

    Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old,
            The tribe of Your inheritance, which You have redeemed--
            This Mount Zion where You have dwelt. For God is my King from of old,
            Working salvation in the midst of the earth.
     

    Mk 8:34-end ; Mk 9:1-1

    When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." And He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power."

     

     

    Liturgy

    Pauline Epistle

    Col 2:6-19

    As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
    Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
    In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
    So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

     

    Catholic Epistle

    1Jn 5:13-21

    These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
    Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
    If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.
    We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.
    We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
    And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
    Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

     

    Acts

    Acts 3:12-21

    So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: "Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
    "Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

     

    Synaxarium

    The Commemoration of St. Gregory, Patriarch of the Armenians

     

    Psalm 62:2 ; Psalm 62:3 ; Psalm 62:5

    He only is my rock and my salvation who guides me;
            He is my defense;
            I shall not be greatly moved. How long will you attack a man?
            You shall be slain, all of you,
            Like a leaning wall and a tottering fence. My soul, wait silently for God alone,
            For my expectation is from Him.

     

    Lk 14:25-32

    Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it-- lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, "This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. "Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"

     



     

     

  • The Feast of the Cross

       

    Is it not true that the source of my boasting is usually where I find my identity? 

    After St. Paul failed to find his identity in all sorts of worldly and religious accomplishments, he realized that bearing in his body the marks of the cross was the only true everlasting source of glory and victory. He had to lose his dignity on earth in order to gain his eternal life and glory with Christ. However, he did it willingly as he sacrificed himself for the love of Christ by sharing in His suffering.

     

     

    What are the sources of our boasting that can turn into our worries as well? How can we bear in our bodies the marks of the cross and boast in Christ instead of in ourselves? 

     

     Dear Jesus, 

     

    The more I meditate on your sacrifice for me, the more I realize how it is deeply rooted in your love for me.

    Oh that through the grace of this feast, I am able to reciprocate this love and sacrifice. Oh that I may sing with father Bishoy Kamel… A soul without a cross, is a bride without a groom! Lead me to the cross, Lord. Amen.

     

     Vespers

    Psalm

                Psalm 99:9, 5

    Exalt the Lord our God,

    And worship at His holy hill;

    For the Lord our God is holy.

    Exalt the Lord our God,

    And worship at His footstool.

     

    Gospel

                 John 4:19-24

                 19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

     

     Matins

     Psalm

                psalm 118: 28,16

    You are my God, and I will praise You;

    You are my God, I will exalt You.The right hand of the Lord is exalted;

    The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.

     

    Gospel

                John 3:14-21

    14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

     

    Liturgy

     

    Pauline Epistle

                            Galatians 6:11-18

    11 See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! 12 As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor circumcision avails anything, but a new creation.

    16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.17 From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

     

    Catholic Epistle

                 1Peter 1:3-12

    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us[b] they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.

     

    Praxis

                 Act 4:8-18

    8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: 9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. 14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16 saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”18 So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

     

    Synaxarium

     • The Martyrdom of St. Prophorius (Porphyrius). 

     • The Commemoration of Stephen the Priest, and St. Niceta (Niketa) the Martyr. 

     

     Psalm

                            Psalm 145:1-2

    I will extol You, my God, O King;

    And I will bless Your name forever and ever.

    2 Every day I will bless You,

    And I will praise Your name forever and ever.

     

    Gospel

                John 6:35-46

    35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” 41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned[b] from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.

  • The Feast of the Cross

      

     

    Today as the church celebrates the glorious Feast of the Cross, Christ is calling each one of us by name to partake in His joy. Without the cross there is no joy for humanity. Although the gift of the cross is open to every person of the human race, we must individually choose to accept this gift by partaking with Christ in His suffering. Our minds only see the pain of the suffering, but in reality, there is nothing sweeter and more beautiful than the love I receive when I sacrifice for Christ. Let us take the grace of this feast into our spirits to stimulate our ability to spend and be spent for our Lord Jesus. The reward is truly indescribable.

    The phrase “carrying one’s cross” is used so often that the meaning has been diluted. Take a moment to really mediate on the depth of this phrase and what this calling means for you personally.

    My Lord Jesus,

    I cannot thank You enough that You have invited me personally to share in Your suffering—this suffering that will sanctify and refine me until I look just like You and can make sacrifices to the point of death itself. Do not allow Satan to make me dwell on the bitterness of sacrifice when I know the love You have to offer will drown out any suffering. I love You, Lord, and I want to continue to show You that I love You through any means You desire. Amen.

     

     

    Vespers

    Psalm

    Psalm 4:6-8 

            LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us. 
            You have put gladness in my heart, 
            More than in the season that their grain and wine increased. 
            I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; 
            For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

    Gospel

    Jn 8:28-42 

    Then Jesus said to them, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him." As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. 
    Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." 
    They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, "You will be made free'?" 
    Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. 
    "I know that you are Abraham's descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father." 
    They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father." 
    Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father." 
    Then they said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father--God." 
    Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.

    Matins

    Psalm

    Psalm 60:4-5 

    You have given a banner to those who fear You, 
            That it may be displayed because of the truth. 
            That Your beloved may be delivered, 
            Save with Your right hand, and hear me. 
     

    Gospel

    Jn 12:26-36

    If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. 
    "Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? "Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name." 
    Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again." 
    Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him." 
    Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." This He said, signifying by what death He would die. 
    The people answered Him, "We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, "The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?" 
    Then Jesus said to them, "A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light."

    Liturgy

    Pauline Epistle

    1Cor 1:17-31 

    For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. 
    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: 
            "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, 
            And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." 
    Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 
    For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God--and righteousness and sanctification and redemption-- that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the LORD."

    Catholic Epistle

    1Pet 2:1-25

    Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 
    Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, 
            "Behold, I lay in Zion 
            A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, 
            And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame." 
    Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, 
            "The stone which the builders rejected 
            Has become the chief cornerstone," 
    and 
            "A stone of stumbling 
            And a rock of offense." 
    They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. 
    But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 
    Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. 
    Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men-- as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. 
    Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 
            "Who committed no sin, 
            Nor was deceit found in His mouth"; 
    who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness--by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

    Acts

    Acts 10:34-43

    Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ--He is Lord of all-- that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins."

    Synaxarium

     The Feast of the Consecration of the Church of the Honorable Cross.
     The Departure of St. Theognosta.

    Psalm

    Psalm 65:1-2

    Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion; 
            And to You the vow shall be performed. 
            O You who hear prayer, 
            To You all flesh will come.

    Gospel

    Jn 10:22-38

    Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon's porch. Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, "How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly." 
    Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are one." 
    Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" 
    The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God." 
    Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, "I said, "You are gods"'? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came and the Scripture cannot be broken, do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, "You are blaspheming,' because I said, "I am the Son of God'? If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him."

     

  • The first peroid in the Coptic year " The preparation period "

     

    Luke 19:1-10

    Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him,[a] and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

     

    The type of love that poured forth when Christ died on the cross was something new to mankind. When the love of the cross touches me it is like nothing I have ever experienced before, and I will not want to let it go. It will compel me to cling to the cross with its bitterness so that I can taste the sweetness of this rare love—this love that I can get nowhere else. This love that is so filling but does not tie me down to anyone or anything—it sets me free. 

     

    Have you had a taste of this love yet? When you taste it you will know it. What where the circumstances that led you to be able to taste this love? 

     

    Dear Jesus, 

    I would much rather be in voluntary bondage to You, a slave to Your love, clinging to Your cross, than chained to this world. Draw me close and don't give me a reason to want to let go. I need constant rejuvenation with Your unique love so that I can continue in this path of self-denial and sacrifice. Amen.

  • Coptic New Year

     

    Luke 19:1-10

    Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him,[a] and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

    The type of love that poured forth when Christ died on the cross was something new to mankind. When the love of the cross touches me it is like nothing I have ever experienced before, and I will not want to let it go. It will compel me to cling to the cross with its bitterness so that I can taste the sweetness of this rare love—this love that I can get nowhere else. This love that is so filling but does not tie me down to anyone or anything—it sets me free. 

     

    Have you had a taste of this love yet? When you taste it you will know it. What where the circumstances that led you to be able to taste this love? 

     

    Dear Jesus, 

    I would much rather be in voluntary bondage to You, a slave to Your love, clinging to Your cross, than chained to this world. Draw me close and don't give me a reason to want to let go. I need constant rejuvenation with Your unique love so that I can continue in this path of self-denial and sacrifice. Amen.

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