Deisis (Novogorod)

The Holy Festival of the Lights

St. Gregory Nazianzus

BaptismChrist is bathed in light; let us also be bathed in light.  Christ is baptized; let us also go down with Him, and rise with Him.

John is baptizing when Jesus draws near.  Perhaps He comes to sanctify His baptizer; certainly He comes to bury sinful humanity in the waters.  He comes to sanctify the Jordan for our sake and in readiness for us; He Who is spirit and flesh comes to begin a new creation through Spirit and water.

The Baptist protests; Jesus insists.  Then John says: "I ought to be baptized by You."  He is the lamp in the presence of the Sun, the voice in the presence of the woman in the presence of the Firstborn of all creation, the one who leapt in his mother's womb in the presence of Him Who has already come and is to come again.  "I ought to be baptized by You"; we should add: "and for You," for John is to be baptized in blood, washed clean like Peter, not only by the washing of his feet.

Jesus rises from the waters; the world rises with Him.  The heavens like Paradise with its flaming sword, closed by Adam for himself and his descendants, are rent open.  The Spirit comes to Him as to an equal, bearing witness to His Godhead.  A voice bears witness to Him from heaven, His place of origin.  The Spirit descends in bodily form like a dove that so long ago announced the ending of the flood and so gives honor to the body that is one with God.

Today let us do honor to Christ's baptism and celebrate this feast in holiness.  Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed.  Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of humanity, for whom His every word and every revelation exist.  He wants you to become a living force for all humanity, lights shining in the world.  You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of Him Who is the light of heaven.  You are to enjoy more and more the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity, as now you have received - though not in its fullness - a ray of its splendor, proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to Whom be glory and power now and ever, and to the ages of ages.  Amen!

Taken from Christ-bearers - Meditations for the Pre-Christmas Fast, Christmas, and Theophany.


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Teachings of Christ

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35 ESV)

Feasts & Fasts

February
2 - Encounter of Our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ with Simeon and Anna
5 - Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee
12 - Sunday of the Prodigal Son
18 - First All-Souls Saturday
19 - Sunday of the Second Coming of Christ (Meat-Fare)
20 - Washington's Birthday (President's Day) (USA)
26 - Forgiveness Sunday (Cheese-Fare)
27 - Beginning of the Holy Forty Days Fast

March
5 - First Sunday of the Great Fast (Sunday of Orthodoxy)
11 - Second All-Souls Saturday
12 - Second Sunday of the Great Fast (St. Gregory Palamas)
18 - Third All Souls Saturday
19 - Third Sunday of the Great Fast (Veneration of the Cross)
25 - Annunciation to the the Mother of God
26 - Fourth Sunday of the Great Fast (St. John of the Ladder)
30 - Canon of St. Andrew of Crete

A LIght to Enlighten

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

Random Proverb

"The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin." (Proverbs 10:10 ESV)

This Week's Scripture

February 12, 2017
Sunday of the Prodigal Son
- Matins: Luke 24:36-53 (Gospel 6)
- Liturgy: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, Luke 15:11-32

Meat Fare Week
- Monday: 1 John 2:18-3:10, Mark 11:1-11
- Tuesday: 1 John 3:11-20, Mark 14:10-42
- Wednesday: 1 John 3:21-4:6, Mark 14:43-15:1
- Thursday: 1 John 4:20-5:21, Mark 15:1-15
- Friday: 2 John 1:1-13, Mark 15:22-25,33-41
- Saturday: 1 Corinthians 10:23-28, Luke 21:8,9,25-27,33-36 (and for All Souls Saturday 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, John 5:24-30)

February 19, 2017
Sunday of the Last Judgment (Meat Fare)
- Matins: John 20:1-10 (Gospel 7)
- Liturgy: 1 Corinthians 8:8-9:2, Matthew 25:31-46
    
Cheese Fare Week
- Monday: 3 John 1:1-14, Luke 19:29-40; 22:7-39
- Tuesday: Jude 1-10, Luke 22:39-42, 45-23:1
- Wednesday: Joel 2:12-26, Joel 3:12-21
- Thursday: Jude 11-25, Luke 23:2-34, 44-56
- Friday:  Zechariah 8:7-14, Zechariah 8:19-23
- Saturday: Commemoration of All the Holy and God-bearing Fathers Who Shone Forth in the Ascetic Life, Romans 14:19-23, 16:25-27 (Saturday), Galatians 5:22-6:2 (Ascetics), Matthew 6:1-13, Saturday), Matthew 11:27-30 (Ascetics)

February 26, 2017
Forgiveness Sunday (Cheesefare)
- Matins: John 20:11-18 (Gospel 8)
- Liturgy: Romans 13:11b-14:4, Matthew 6:14-21

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

A greedy appetite for food is terminated by satiety and the pleasure of drinking ends when our thirst is quenched. And so it is with the other things. . . But the possession of virtue, once it is solidly achieved, cannot be measured by time nor limited by satiety. Rather, to those who are its disciples it always appears as something ever new and fresh.

St. Gregory of Nyssa