FroSt. Mary Church, Morgantown, WVm ancient times we have been taught that when Mary, the Mother God, fell asleep the whole company of the Apostles - except Thomas - was miraculously brought together in Jerusalem. Amid divine and heavenly praises they commended her soul into the hands of God and placed her body in a little tomb in Gethsemane. For three days a choir of Angels continued to sing above her tomb. And on the third day Thomas arrived. So that he could venerate the body that had given birth to Christ God, the Apostles opened the tomb. They found not the body of the Mother of God but the winding sheet and the most beautiful and sweet-smelling flowers. Mary's body had been taken up into the heavens by her Son. Flowers were blessed from the earliest times in both East and West. Over time seeds and herbs used for medicinal purposes were also blessed, in commemoration of the many healings and blessings that were bestowed upon the pilgrims at Mary's tomb. The Book of Needs (Trebnyk or Euchologian) contains several possible prayers to bless seed, herbs and flowers, one of which is below:


O Almighty, God from before all ages, by Your word alone You created out of nothingness the heavens, earth, sea and all things visible and invisible. You commanded that the earth bring forth plants and trees to serve both man and animal, each according to its need. In your infinite goodness You ordained that these plants serve not only as food but also as medicine for the sick body. We beseech You, bless this seed, these herbs and these flowers and bestow upon them Your blessing and endow them with Your power. Make them to serve man and animal alike as a defense against all sickness and every defilement, for You are our God, and we send up glory to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.


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

"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)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

It was said about John the Little that one day he said to his older brother: "I want to be free from care and not to work but to worship God without interruption." And he took his robe off, and went into the desert. After staying there one week, he returned to his brother. And when he knocked at the door, his brother asked without opening it: "Who is it?" He replied: "It's John, your brother." The brother said: "John has become an angel and is not among people anymore." Then he begged and said: "It's me!" But his brother did not open the door and left him there in distress until the next morning. And he finally opened the door and said: "If you are a human being, you have to work again in order to live." Then John repented, saying: "Forgive me, brother, for I was wrong."

Sayings of the Desert Fathers