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

“Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33 ESV)

Feasts & Fasts

June
3 - Fifth All-Souls Saturday
4 - Pentecost - Descent of the Holy Spirit
5 - Feast of the Holy Trinity
11 - All Saints Sunday
12-28 - The Apostles' Fast
24 - Nativity of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John
29 - The Holy Glorious and All-Praised Leaders of the Apostles, Peter & Paul

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

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

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"Hear, O sons, a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching." (Proverbs 4:1,2 ESV)

This Week's Scripture

June 18, 2017
Second Sunday After Pentecost
- Matins: Mark 16:1-8 (Gospel 2)
- Liturgy: Romans 2:10-16, Matthew 4:18-23

Third Week After Pentecost
- Monday: Romans 7:1-13, Matthew 9:36-10:8
- Tuesday: Romans 7:14-8:2, Matthew 10:9-15
- Wednesday: Romans 8:1-13, Matthew 10:16-22
- Thursday: Romans 8:22-27, Matthew 10:23-31
- Friday: Romans 9:6-19, Matthew 10:32-36; 11:1
- Saturday: Romans 3:28-4:3, Matthew 7:24-8:4

June 25, 2017
Third Sunday After Pentecost
- Matins: Mark 16:9-20 (Gospel 3)
- Liturgy: Romans 5:1-10, Matthew 6:22-33

Fourth Week After Pentecost
- Monday: Romans 9:18-33, Matthew 11:2-15
- Tuesday: Romans 10:11-11:2, Matthew 11:16-20
- Wednesday: Romans 11:2-12, Matthew 11:20-26
- Thursday: Romans 11:13-24, Matthew 11:27-30
- Friday: Romans 11:25-36, Matthew 12:1-8
- Saturday: Romans 6:11-17, Matthew 8:14-23

July 2, 2017
Fourth Sunday After Pentecost
- Matins: Luke 24:1-12 (Gospel 4)
- Liturgy: Romans 6:18-23, Matthew 8:5-13

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The soul has followed Moses and the cloud, both of these serving as guides for those who would advance in virtue; Moses here represents the commandments of the Law; and the cloud that leads the way, its spiritual meaning. The soul has been purified by crossing the Sea; it has removed from itself and destroyed the enemy army. It has tasted of the waters of Marah, that is, of life deprived of all sinful pleasure; and this at first had seemed bitter and unpleasant to the taste but offered a sensation of sweetness to those who accepted the wood. Next it enjoyed the beauty of the palm trees of the gospel and the springs; it filled itself with the living water, that is, the rock. It took within itself the bread of heaven. It overwhelmed the foreign host - a victory due to the extended arms of the Lawgiver, which thus foreshadowed the mystery of the Cross. Only then can the soul go on to the contemplation of transcendent Being.

St. Gregory of Nyssa