Christian fasting???

We are asked to observe several fasts in the course of the year. Some do it; others do not. Some know why the Church encourages us to fast; many have no clue as to why we fast and the spiritual and physical benefits to fasting.

Join our friend, Abouna Moses to learn the “why” behind the fast!

Know about icons

Being that today is the feast day of the apostle and evangelist, St. Luke, who is the patron saint of iconographers and artists, we ought to lift up in prayer all of the iconographers who have given the talent to serve the Lord with beautiful sacred art. This art is not wall decoration; icons are windows opening into the arena of the Divine. I am thinking in particular of Marek Czarnecki of Meriden, CT, who is a terrific, trained and prayerful iconographer.

Here is a beautiful, insightful presentation on holy icons given by his Eminence Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware). He recently reposed in the Lord. The presentation was recorded in 2007 for a meeting of the Orientale Lumine Conference.

Happy New Year 7531

September 1 is the New Year for the Greek Church; the Latin begin their new liturgical year on the first Sunday of Advent. Today, is also designated the Day of Prayer for the Protection of the Environment –an observance of many of the mainline Christians. More on this day of prayer in another post.

The point for today is to place our trust and dependance on the Lord of Life. As Christians we deeply realize that we don’t make ourselves, that someone greater than ourselves sustains and directs our being in faith, hope, love and reason. That’s God made us, we are His, and we live in relation to Him.

Day of Prayer for the Protection of the Environment

Today is the Day of Prayer for the Protection of the Environment, a day we praise God for His creation.

In 1989, the Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrius instituted a Day of Prayer for the Protection of the Environment, establishing it on September 1. Pope Francis has extended that remembrance to the Catholic Church.

In 2016, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said, “Following for many years the catastrophic world developments in environmental matters, the Holy and Great Mother Church of Christ, on its own initiative set the start of every ecclesiastical year as a day dedicated to Creation, to the environment, calling during this day upon the whole Orthodox and Christian world to raise a prayer and supplication to the Creator of all, to give thanks for the great gift of Creation, make supplications for the protection and safeguarding from every visible and invisible attack by man. Therefore also this year during the aforementioned day, from the Ecumenical Patriarchy we recall the need to make EVERYONE aware of the ecological problems faced by our planet.”

THE WAY OF THE PILGRIM: Entering Into the Jesus Prayer

Do you struggle to follow the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to “pray always”? For most of us living and working in the world, it can be difficult to let our prayer and participation in the liturgy permeate our entire lives and transform our hearts.

God invites us to persevere, and He has blessed the Church with many holy teachers and spiritual traditions to help us draw closer to Him.

In this Tuesday’s live webinar, discover the meaning and power of a centuries-old traditional prayer that has helped many devout Christians throughout the ages broaden their view of prayer and incorporate it more deeply into their lives.

Feast of the Procession of the Cross

According to the Synaxarion, the feast celebrates the veneration of the Holy Cross in Constantinople. The early days of August were dangerous in antiquity. Because of the heat, many diseases became strong, and so the Cross was displayed in various places in the city for fourteen days. This feast was then introduced into Rus in the fifteenth century.

Today it announces the coming of the great feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14, approximately forty days from now. I think in may ways we misunderstand the Cross, we equate it with pain and suffering, as a negative sign that Christians were made to be miserable. That is not what St. Paul says in today’s epistle, “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 …. 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” (1 Corinthians 18:18.23-24).

Sacred Signs: Pointing the Way to Heaven

Many Christians tend to think of the spiritual life as something entirely opposed to physical reality. This can translate into Christian practice today in the form of plain churches and simple services, especially among Protestant denominations.

In contrast, apostolic Christianity is incarnational and sacramental, incorporating many physical things into worship: not just in the art and music accompanying the liturgy, but in the very liturgy itself we make use of fire and water, bread and oil, gestures and postures. Are these merely relics of a more religious era, or does the Church recognize there is something fundamental to our human nature that needs such signs and symbols?

4th Sunday of Lent, Sunday of St John of the Ladder

As ever-blooming fruits, you offer the teachings of your God-given book, O wise John, most blessed, while sweetening the hearts of all them that heed it with vigilance; for it is a ladder from the earth unto Heaven that confers glory on the souls that ascend it and honor you faithfully. (Kontakion)

Here are the resources for the Sunday of St John Climacus (or, known as “of the Ladder”), the 4th Sunday of Lent. In particular, we ought to listen to the resurrection hymn and the gospel reflection by Father Hezekias and Sebastian.

Do yourself a favor, spend time with the Word of the Lord in preparation for Sunday Liturgy.

In Zacchaeus there is simplicity and honesty

Having just finished the Nativity Cycle we start moving toward the Lenten Cycle and Zacchaeus is our man. In fact, he’s the model of Christian conversion: turning toward the Lord.

“Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”(Luke 19:5) Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.” (19:9)

Jesus is passing through the town of Jericho and there is a crowd of people gathering to catch sight of the Lord passing by. Zacchaeus is one such person who had heard of Jesus’ talks (sermons) and miraculous deeds. However, Zaccheus has a disadvantage, an impediment: he is of small stature. So what does Zaccheus do? He climbs up a sycamore tree and this way he’d be able to catch a glimpse of the Lord passing by. This does not go unnoticed. Our Lord sees Zaccheus and says: “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”