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Devotional Readings for the Week of May 2nd, 2010


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Athanasius Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Zoe, Martyr 

Acts 14:21-27: 

      When you go forth to serve the Lord stand in the fear of the Lord, and prepare your mind not for repose or carelessness or delights, but for temptations and troubles; for "through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom of God." (St. John Cassian) 

      Let us remember the labors of those who went before us and what we endure will not be hard, for "We must through many tribulations enter into the kingdom of God." (St. Gregory the Great) 

Revelation 21:1-5: 

      No man is truth, wisdom or justice; but many are partakers of truth, wisdom and justice. God alone is exempt from any participating: and anything which is in any degree worthily predicated of Him is not an attribute, but His very essence. In the Unchangeable there is nothing added, there is nothing lost: because "to be" is ever His peculiar property, and that is eternity. Whence abiding in Himself He renews all things, and receives nothing which He did not Himself give. (St. Leo the Great) 

      Of this New Jerusalem the former one is an image – that Jerusalem of the former earth in which the righteous are disciplined beforehand for incorruption and prepared for salvation. Of this new tabernacle Moses received the pattern on the mountain; and nothing is capable of being allegorized, but all things are steadfast and true, and substantial, having been made by God for righteous men's enjoyment. As it is God truly Who raises up man, so also does man truly rise from the dead, and not allegorically. As he truly rises, so also shall he be actually disciplined beforehand for incorruption, and shall go forward and flourish in the times of the kingdom, in order that he may be capable of receiving the glory of the Father. Then, when all things are made new, he shall truly dwell in the city of God. (St. Irenaeus) 

John 13:31-35: 

      He who aims at commanding unclean spirits, or bestowing gifts of healing, or showing some wonderful miracle to the people, even though when he is showing off he invokes the name of Christ, yet he is far from Christ, because in his pride of heart he does not follow his humble Teacher. When the Lord was returning to the Father, He prepared, so to speak, His will and left this to His disciples: "A new commandment give I unto you that you love one another; as I have loved you, so love one another. By this all men shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." He does not command signs and miracles but love for one another and this command none but the meek and humble can keep. (Abba Nesteros) 

      Let no man's place, or dignity or riches puff him up. Let no man's low position or poverty abase him. The chief points are faith towards God, hope towards Christ, the enjoyment of those good things for which we look and love towards God and our neighbor. The Lord says, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another." (St. Ignatius of Antioch) 

      We ought to refer the statement "Now is the Son of Man glorified" to the sacrament of the Incarnation. But when we read: "And God is glorified in Him, and God has glorified Him;" what doubt is there that the Son is glorified by the Father, and the Father is glorified by the Son? (St. Ambrose)  


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Timothy the Reader, Martyr  

Acts 14:1-18: 

      The One Maker fashioned us. The One Creator breathed life into us. We all enjoy the same sky and air, the same days and nights, and, though some be good, others bad, some righteous, others unrighteous, yet God is bountiful to all, kind to all. (St. Leo the Great) 

      Believe then that the Only-begotten Son of God for our sins came down from heaven upon earth, and took upon Himself this human nature of like passions with us, and was begotten of the Holy Virgin and of the Holy Spirit, and was made man, not in seeming and mere show, but in truth. He did not pass through the Virgin as through a channel, but was of her truly made flesh, truly nourished with milk and did truly eat and drink as we do. If the Incarnation was a phantom, salvation is a phantom also. (St. Cyril of Jerusalem) 

John 14:15-26: 

      In proportion as anyone is fit for God's gift, so does the Divine grace reward him. In proportion as a man seems worthy of God, so does he enjoy God's presence according to the Lord's promise: "If any man love Me, he will keep My word; and I and My Father will come to him and make our abode with him." (St. John Cassian) 

      We are clearly taught that there is no difference of Name in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That which is the Name of the Father is also the Name of the Son, and likewise that which is the Name of the Son is also that of the Holy Spirit. Note that the Son is called Paraclete, as is the Holy Spirit. "I will ask My Father, and He shall give you another Paraclete, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth." He well said "another," that you might not suppose that the Son is also the Spirit, for oneness is of the Name, not a confusion of the Son and of the Spirit. (St. Ambrose) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Pelagia, Virgin-Martyr  

Acts 14:19-28: 

      One should await death as the transition to a happy life. Let no one now seek his ease and convenience but let him be strong now and suffer affliction that he may inherit the breadth of the kingdom of Christ, for "we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom." Why should we be faint-hearted in this life, seeing that a little later we shall go to eternal rest? (St. John of Lycopolis) 

      "Through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of Heaven." Tribulations set the mercy of God in motion towards us, as the winds bring down the rain. Too much rain coming down on delicate young plants makes them rot and destroys their fruit, a modest amount of wind dries them out and stiffens them – so it is with us. Relaxation, freedom from care, and repose make us flabby; but temptations put us on our mettle and unite us to God. We must not let ourselves be bowled over or become slothful, but stand firm and give thanks in our tribulations and pray to God with humility at all times that He may have mercy on our weakness and protect us in all our temptation to the glory of His Name. (St. Dorotheos of Gaza) 

John 14:27-31: 

      The devil's deception availed nothing against our Lord because the evil one found nothing damaged in Him. No part of His soul yielded when tempted by the wiles of the foe, "For the prince of this world comes and shall find nothing in Me." (Abba Abraham) 

      Do not let the adversary find his image in you. Do not let him find fury and rage, for in these exists the likeness of wickedness. Let him not find desire for gold, nor heaps of money, nor the appearance of vices, lest he take from you the voice of liberty. The voice of true liberty is heard when you can say: "The prince of this world shall come and shall find no part in me." (St. Ambrose) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Irene, Virgin-Martyr  

Acts 15:1-6: 

      The Church began to be infiltrated by heresy fairly early in its development. Acts 15 records the first meeting of the first Church Council, which was convened in order to render an authoritative ruling on the issue of justification by faith (some teachers had been advocating the false doctrine that one must keep the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament in order to be justified). The problem did not just stop, however. Years later Paul had to deal with it again in his letter to the Church of Galatia. He told them that this doctrinal aberration was no minor matter, but affected their salvation. It was a different gospel, an utter distortion of the truth and a repudiation of Jesus Christ. (David Chilton) 

      There was no arrogance in the Church at the Council of Jerusalem. Great was the orderliness of the proceedings, so clean was their souls from the filth of love of glory. (St. John Chrysostom) 

John 15:1-8: 

      We can escape the snare of the evil spirit of pride, if in the case of every virtue in which that we feel we make some progress, we remember the words of the Author of our salvation: "If a man abide in Me and I in him, the same bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." (St. John Cassian) 

      Our Lord said, "I am the vine!" He was planted in the earth in order that the curse which came because of Adam might be rooted out. The earth was condemned to thorns and thistles. The true Vine sprang up out of the earth, that the saying might be fulfilled, "Truth sprang up out of the earth, and righteousness looked down from heaven" (Ps. 85:11). (St. Cyril of Jerusalem) 

Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Job the Long-suffering, Patriarch and Prophet  

Acts 15:7-21: 

      Amos prophesied concerning the Resurrection: "In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and build up the breaches. I will raise up his ruins, and will build them up again as in the days of old so that the residue of men may inquire for Me, and all the nations upon whom My Name is invoked might say, 'It is the Lord Who does this.'" The Apostles preached and so understood this Scripture. (St. Augustine) 

      Holy Scripture ascribes purity of heart to faith, as it says, "purifying their hearts by faith," because fear, which is the first affection of faith, tears and extracts the heart from impure affections and vicious stains. Faith or fear, which is its effect, is therefore an early step tending toward purity of heart. (Gerard Zerbolt) 

John 15:9-11: 

      He who holds, without pride or boasting, the true glory regarding created things and the Creator, Who is the Almighty God of all, and Who has granted existence to all; and who continues in His love and subjection, and giving thanks, shall also receive from Him the greater glory of promotion, looking forward to the time when he shall become like Him Who died for him. (St. Irenaeus) 

      What does it mean to remain in love for the Lord? It means to remember Him unceasingly, to remain unceasingly in union with Him in spirit. The former without the later is dead, and cannot even exist. (Ignatius Brianchaninov) 


Acts 15:22-31: 

      The Holy Spirit, Who in unison with Father and Son has established the New Covenant in the Church Catholic, has set us free from the burdens of the law which were grievous to be carried out. Those things were only a shadow of the good things to come. Thus the Apostles who were at Jerusalem set the whole world free from all merely legal and typical observances. Yet they attributed this authority to do so not to themselves, but to the Holy Spirit. (St. Cyril of Jerusalem) 

      Nothing is easier than to take precautions against idolatry, if the fear of it holds the first place. Any necessity is small in comparison with danger so great. When the apostles were in council, the Holy Spirit relaxed the bond and yoke for us precisely in order that we might devote ourselves to the avoidance of idolatry. (Tertullian) 

John 15:12-17: 

      Though it is a grand thing to serve God, and it is said: "It is a great thing for you to be called My servant" (Is.49:6); yet the Lord says to the Apostles: "I no longer call you servants, for the servant does not know what his Lord does: but I call you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father, I have made known to you. You are My friends, if you do whatever I command you." You see then that there are different stages of perfection, and that we are called by the Lord from high things to still higher in such a way that he who has become blessed and perfect in the fear of God, going from strength to strength and from one perfection to another, mounting with keenness of soul from fear to hope, is summoned in the end to that still more blessed stage, which is love, and he who has been a faithful and wise servant will pass to the companionship of friendship, and to the adoption of sons. (Abba Chaeremon) 

      God makes us His friends instead of servants. "You are My friends if you do what I command you." He gave us a pattern of friendship to follow. We are to fulfill the wish of a friend, to unfold to him our secrets which we hold in our own hearts, and are not to disregard his confidences. Let us show him our heart and he will open his to us. (St. Ambrose) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. John the Apostle and Evangelist Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Tabitha  

Acts 16:1-10: 

      The hunter will underfeed his dogs before a hunt in order to increase their hunger for the prize. Likewise, these people were not yet hungry for the gospel, and thus God delays the gospel being preached in their presence until a desire for Him can be cultivated. (St. John Chrysostom) 

      If, after we have committed ourselves to some form of ministry in the Church and have performed it honorably, the Spirit should then direct us to some other ministry or work or activity, we should not resist. God does not want us to be idle, but neither does He wants us to be confined forever to the first work in which we engaged. On the contrary, He wants us to advance, moving always towards the realization of something better, acting in accordance with His will and not our own. (St. Symeon the New Theologian) 

John 15:18-21: 

      When the Christian is hated by the world, he is beloved by God. (St. Ignatius of Antioch) 

      Those who today are persecuted for the sake of the persecuted Jesus should be comforted, for He comforted us by saying: "If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. And because of this they will persecute you that you are not of the world, even as I was not of it." (Aphrahat) 

via Ordo Aquilifer

Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]


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