Jesus Prays for His Disciples

ascension

Sunday of the Fathers Homily 

JOHN 17:9-13

“I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are mine; all mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

 

If ever there was a prayer that lasted 2020 years it is this prayer. In the Gospel today we hear how in this Great Priestly Prayer to His Father our Lord reveals the goals that He set out in His life on earth and the completion of these goals.  On this Sunday after the Ascension our Lord reminds us that He is bringing before the Father all those who believe in Him, from the Holy Apostles and through them, all those who will believe in their testimonies to the end of the world. Having achieved His mission then, Christ returns to the Father. How important for us also to have goals in life which is a remedy against confusion, sloth, depression and adversity. In these days of the pandemic we need to be energised and discerning about the things of the world, what our Christian goal is, knowing the direction of our life and how to get there.

 

Ephesians 5

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

 

Throughout the Gospel passage, our Lord is concerned for His disciples. The major theme of the discourse is about relationship with the Father and His Son our Lord Jesus Christ. The key ingredients to this relationship are love, obedience and unity. Our Lord provides us with the wherewithal to withstand the ravages of the world since we are grafted into His Life. Love for one another will bind us together and will be the sign to others that we are Christ’s disciples. John 13: 35.This love is grounded in faith and in obedience: 

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15

The result of loving obedience will be the experience of being in a relationship with God and enjoying His peace. Discipleship is all about following and when the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost, He will guide us into all Truth. 

 We are in a waiting period with lock down and we must not lose heart. Times of waiting are never easy so we must persevere in faith with hope.

Romans 5:3

“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance.

 We have been chosen out of the corrupting power of the world ; the word Ekklesia, usually translated as Church, means those “called out.” We have been taught by Christ and are sanctified by His life giving death upon the Cross. We (disciples) are to remain in the world in order, like the Apostles, to witness and to have the opportunity to become part of that unbreakable unity with the Father and the Son John 17:11. Christ’s return to glory with the Father which He enjoyed before His incarnation heralds our return to Paradise.

In the meantime we must set our goals and know the direction we are going.

 

A young woman told her father that she wanted to marry a certain seminarian who was to be a priest in the Church. The father, a wealthy man objected:

“He may be a good man but you will be poor and he is a stranger to us, we do not know even where he comes from!”

“True father, the daughter said, but I know him and I know where he is going and I would like to go with him.”

The journey begins now with knowledge, the relationship starts today with obedience, eternal life is already present in that love which never ends.

And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

We have to use that knowledge in the journey that is before us like a divine road map. Putting our hand into the Hand of God, our journey will be filled with love and joy which is the antidote to fatigue and boredom. Obedience to the commands of Christ, His salvific life, his teachings, example and instructions as found in right doctrine and scripture provide us with the means of travel for this most exalted mission. We have then an aim and a mission, a purpose and a goal to be an instrument of love and a witness in His world. St Dimitri of Rostov said;” the goal of a man’s life is to strive always and in every way to be united with God…. For it is God from Whom the soul has received it’s life and it’s nature, and for Whom it must eternally live.”

On this Sunday of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical council we see expressed that affirmation of unity in true doctrine amongst the God bearing Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council through the Nicene Creed which is the Symbol of faith.

We who believe in Christ are kept by His prayer for us unto the ages of ages. Amen.

 

Christ has Ascended!

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Dear Friends in Christ,

The Icon was painted on glass by Georgiana Necula, the flowers were given today by one of the sisters of the Parish and the icon stand drape was a curtain embroidered by my grandmother in the 1930s.

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“Leaving the things of earth upon the earth, and surrendering to the earth things of ashes, come, let us come to our senses and raise our eyes and thoughts on high; let us, O mortals, turn our gaze together with the senses up unto the heavenly gates. Let us consider ourselves present at the Mount of Olives, and gaze intently at the Redeemer Who is riding upon a cloud; for the Lord hath hastened up from there into the heavens. And there the bountiful Giver of gifts distributed gifts unto His Apostles, calling to them as a Father, and strengthening them; He guided them like sons and said unto them: I am not separated from you; I am with you, and no one shall be against you.” (OIKOS FOR THE ASCENSION)

Christ is in our midst

A Joyous Pustinnyk

The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustinik — 37

mount athos

Touching Heaven! 

Christ is Risen!

I’m back!

I have all my data and files retrieved and installed on my new laptop. So once more I am able to inflict my poems on you. My “tech savvy” trusted helper patiently guided me through the installation, asking nothing in return. Such love and kindness inculcates a bond of respect.

However, I am going to miss my old keyboard, my new laptop is so sensitive to the touch! Things are different and yet the same- the same files but a new approach, a new style, a new image.

Quite recently, I met a former pupil in the city centre whom I had taught at school. He said:

“Hello sir!”  I haven’t been referred to as sir for some time! I searched my memory for a name, I hardly recognised him, not simply because of his physical maturity but because he had grown in confidence from the rather shy student I began to remember. He had changed and yet he was the same- his voice deeper but with the same inflection, accent and tone. When he began to speak, I knew who he was. What a joy it was to see him and to hear his news.

In the appearances of our Lord after his resurrection, his disciples do not always recognise him. The nature of His glorious resurrected body was so different and yet the same. His resurrected body contain the wounds of the crucifixion and yet it was transformed. His voice, His words, His actions reveal his identity.

2 Corinthians 3:18

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

 

Touching Heaven

John 21:4 “Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.”

 

The young monk stood upright head bowed in prayer.

Barefoot, he perched on rocks breathing the fresh spring air

The blue, tranquil lake lapped at his feet.

His eyes closed in mystery towards the setting sun,

Hands held aloft in reverence for the Holy One

Harmony of God and nature’s seat.

His leather holy belt hung at his waist

A sign of his ascetic labour and a taste

Of blessed Communion, Oh so sweet.

The stillness mirrored in his soul

Deep thoughts of Christ to make him whole

His heart in tandem with creation’s beat.

Here where sea and sky converge

This figure and Christ’s image merge

Earth touches heaven and for an instant meet!

To the Glory of God

 

“That is what the torment of hell is in my opinion: remorse. But love inebriates the souls of the sons and daughters of heaven by its delectability.”

St. Isaac the Syrian

From Poland With Love

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This morning in the kitchen whilst watching Matins on Skype and baking cookies with children, I had unexpected guests. At the time I was listening to beautiful “Blessed are Thou O God teach me Thy statutes” by Dmitry and Father, when I realised a stag and a doe (?) appeared in front of our window! Roughly twenty meters from our house. After gasping, I thought they have come for Typica! The Stag stayed for the Gospel whilst the female went for a walk. Enjoy the photos! 

Christ is in our midst!

Marta

The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustinik — 35

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Remember the little things- lifting the leaves–a Peace Plant and Basil miracles

 

Dear Friends in Christ 

Christ is Risen!

My peace plant that one Parishioner gave to me earlier this year is thriving. I was reading about the care of Peace Lilies and it said in the blog that when they need some water they will tell you as their leaves will begin to droop. Do not overwater! Plants may speak to us but what about us speaking to the plants? Eyebrows were raised some years ago when a prominent person admitted to talking to plants. I did not think this was odd.

 

Whilst not indulging in philosophical debate or tiresome monologue with my plants, I often say “Christ is Risen!” to them and show them a little attention by making sure that they have light, warmth, sustenance and care. Love, it seems, lifts the leaves.

 

I am reminded that God created the plants by speaking and they came into being:

 

Genesis 1:11-13 

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

We have been placed on this earth as stewards of God’s creation.

 Our Lord Jesus Christ told us to behold the lilies of the field and that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Matthew 6:28) Indeed!

If speaking kindly words to plants helps them to grow, how much more will speaking encouraging words to our fellow humans help them develop and “lift their leaves”. We humans, it seems, require much the same as plants: love, warmth, sustenance, light and care.

 

I also want to share with you the little miracle that a parishioner witnessed back in 2013 when he transferred his Basil to Holy Water!

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Glory to God

 

Love and prayers

Eν Χριστώ

Father Pustinnyk

 

The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustinik — 34

st dymphna

St Dymphna

Dear friends in Christ

 Christ is Risen!

I hope you are all well.

 Since I have not written a diary for a few days, some people are asking if I am well!  Glory to God, by your prayers. I am well. I thought that I would write a little note to you all on the Feast of  St Dymphna!

I wish you every blessing on this Feast of St Dymphna the Virgin Martyr or Ireland (650). I was introduced to her by the priest who Chrismated me. I recall that we were visiting St Patrick’s Chapel. I think he had an affinity with saint being himself of Irish descent but his spiritual father, Blessed Seraphim Rose held her in veneration and had a garden in the Monastery in California dedicated to the Celtic saints. He said, as he spread himself upon the chapel walls, how powerful were her prayers and that since ” not many people know her, she is not so busy, so she has time to intercede for us.” If you don’t know her then please read about her extraordinary life.

A short time later, I had cause to call upon her intercessions on behalf of someone. St Dymphna put it into my mind to go and to search for the article that the person had lost and to go three times to this certain place and on the third occasion, I would find the missing article. It was a test of faith, but sure enough on the third visit there was the missing article, and I can tell you that there was much joy when it was found. I have had occasion to call upon the saint subsequently and each time her intercessions have proved most powerful and fruitful. I share this story, so more people may come to know her and call upon her prayers before Christ.

 

Through the prayers of St Dymphna

Eν Χριστώ

 

How a Monastic Prays for the World

prayer light

So moving, isn’t it? Prayer is Light! Here is also a link to a time table to pray the Jesus Prayer in the time of the Pandemic crisis. Please consider praying the Jesus prayer for 15 minutes for the world and choose your time slot. It goes without saying that the time zone can be altered depending upon where you are in the world. Please share with your Orthodox friends, especially in the USA and Australia, as there are a few available spaces in their time zones. You can have more than one slot if you like and apparently, there is an option for people to have the same time slot if they use a comma or semicolon but it would seem best to use the available spaces first. Please consider. Our world is parched dry, so thirsty for prayer and the Holy Spirit.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1QagBKLCyxZJVtG8FX106QkrGMAXhf8u_GWVPiQEJXpk/edit#gid=2002126163

*Photograph from the Ascetic Experience

 

lessons from a monastery

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