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

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37 ESV)

Scripture

May 20, 2018
Pentecost - Feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit
- Vespers: Numbers 11:16,17,24-29, Joel 2:23-32, Ezekiel 36:24-28
- Matins: John 20:19-23
- Liturgy: Acts 2:1-11, John 7:37-52; 8:12

First Week After Pentecost
- Monday: Feast of the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 5:8b-19, Matthew 18:10-20
- Tuesday: Romans 1:1-7,13-17, Mathew 4:25-5:13
- Wednesday: Romans 1:18-27, Matthew 5:20-26
- Thursday: Romans 1:28-2:9, Matthew 5:27-32
- Friday: Romans 2:14-29, Matthew 5:33-41
- Saturday: Romans 1:7-12, Matthew 5:42-48

May 27, 2018
First Sunday After Pentecost: Sunday of All Saints
- Vespers: Isaiah 43:9-14, Wisdom 3:1-9, Wisdom 5:15-6:3
- Matins: Matthew 28:16-20 (Gospel 1)
- Liturgy: Hebrews 11:323-12:2a; Matthew 10:32;33,37,38;19:27-30

Second Week After Pentecost
- Monday: Romans 2:28-3:18, Matthew 6:31-34; 7:9-11
- Tuesday: Romans 4:4-12, Matthew 7:15-21
- Wednesday: Romans 4:13-25, Matthew 7:21-23
- Thursday: Romans 5:10-16, Matthew 8:23-27
- Friday: Romans 5:17-6:2, Matthew 9:14-17
- Saturday: Romans 3:19-26, Matthew 7:1-8

June 3, 2018
Second Sunday After Pentecost
- Matins: Mark 16:1-8 (Gospel 2)
- Liturgy: Romans 2:10-16, Matthew 4:18-23

Feasts & Fasts

May
3 - National Day of Prayer
6 - Sixth Sunday of Pascha (Man Born Blind)
10 - Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ
13 - Seventh Sunday of Pascha (Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council)
19 - Fifth All-Souls Saturday
20 - Pentecost - Descent of the Holy Spirit
21 - Feast of the Holy Trinity, Victoria Day (Canada)
27 - All Saints Sunday

May 28 - June 28 - The Apostles' Fast

28- Memorial Day (USA)

June
24 - Nativity of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John
29 - The Holy Glorious and All-Praised Leaders of the Apostles, Peter & Paul

Please pray!

"They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword...." (Hebrews 11:37a)

Please lift up in prayer all those who are persecuted and deprived of liberty, everywhere in the world. Please especially remember the peoples of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Niger - the whole Middle East and Africa - who are literal martyrs for Christ. Also the peoples of Ukraine. They are our brothers, for all are one in Christ.

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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

"Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live." (Proverbs 4:4 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

It is better to eat meat and drink wine and not to eat the flesh of one's brethren through slander.

Abba Hyperechius