CWN - On the two days preceding the canonization of St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II, Pope Francis received in separate audiences President-elect Salvador Sánchez Cerén of El Salvador, President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras, President Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland, and King Albert II of Belgium, who abdicated in 2013.

Pope Francis also received in audience Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk of Ukraine, who assumed office on February 27 as pro-Russian forces were beginning to take control of Crimea.

“The cordial discussions, which took place within the context of good bilateral relations between the Holy See and Ukraine, focused on the current situation; the hope was expressed that all the parties involved will collaborate constructively to re-establish political and social stability throughout the country, in accordance with international law, and to promote understanding between peoples in the region,” the Holy See Press Office said in a statement.

“Attention then turned to the specific role that churches and religious organizations, as well as all believers, are called upon to fulfill in fostering mutual respect and harmony among all components of society,” the statement added. Yatsenyuk subsequently met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Secretary for Relations with States.


Teachings of Christ

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’" (John 7:37-38 ESV)

Encounter

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)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." (Proverbs 3:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Seek, my child, the nobility of the soul, for it is truth; that of the body is false. Do not seek honor from men, for this injures one; but rather, seek heavenly glory . . . . You are to be sympathetic with all the brethren and help them as much as possible; and, you are to minister to them that are unable or weak. Do not desire to live by another's labors . . . . Never ridicule anyone, and especially when they are in misfortune. When you hear that a certain brother is disorderly, supplicate God to correct his life. Visit and help the sick, and serve the brethren as their servant; so you might be a friend of Christ Who, for your sake, became a servant and minister. Always heed, my child, not to fall into temptations. However, if it happens that you should fall, immediately rise up and amend yourself with repentance, and again hasten to prayer. In this manner, live your life, my child, and God shall always come to you and help you in soul and body.

St. Theodora of Alexandria, "The Lives of the Spiritual Mothers: An Orthodox Materikon of Women Monastics and Ascetics