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Devotional Readings for the Week of May 9th, 2010


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Isaiah the Prophet Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Christopher, Great-Martyr 

Acts 15:22-29:  

      The Apostles, being filled with understanding, saw the presence of the Holy Spirit with them and declared positively that their work was holy and pleasing to the Lord God. They wrote: "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us." On these grounds they offered what they wrote as immutable truth for the benefit of all the faithful. They were consciously aware of the presence in themselves of the Spirit of God. (St. Seraphim of Sarov) 

      We see that there was no respect of persons among these holy men, which always corrupts sound and right judgments. They confess that there were knaves of their own company; and yet they do not flatter them in any way, or, through corrupt favor, incline to cover their error; but, rather in condemning them freely, they spare not even themselves. (John Calvin) 

Revelation 21:10-23: 

      Our eyes have no other light (neither through nature nor through love) than our Lord. May our eyes behold Him because He is our light in every way. The clear vision of God, the light of heaven is the Son of God. (St. John of the Cross) 

      Christ will be everything for us in the age to come, including our light. This demonstrates that this light is the light of the Godhead, because John, the greatest theologian among the evangelists, shows in the Revelation that the everlasting future "city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God enlightened it, and the Lamb is its light." (St. Gregory Palamas) 

John 14:23-29: 

      We should note and observe the kind of peace Christ left for His disciples in His parting days. He spoke to them and said: "My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you." The world's gifts are treacherous. What kind of peace does Christ mean? He means the inner peace that comes in the midst of hardship, distress, much anguish and misfortune, strain, misery, disgrace and whatever setbacks there are. Through this peace we become cheerful and patient amid tribulations, just as Christ's dear disciples were – and not they alone but all chosen friends of God and true followers of Christ. (Theologia Germanica)

      Our greatest likeness to and union with God is the goal of the Church and its leaders. Divine Scripture teaches us that we will only obtain this through the most loving observance of His commandments and by the doing of sacred acts. "He who loves Me will keep My word and My Father will love him and We will come to him and make Our home in him." What, then, is the starting point for the sacred enactment of the most revered commandments? It is this, to dispose our souls to hear the sacred words as receptively as possible, to be open to the divine workings of God, to clear an uplifting path toward that inheritance which awaits us in heaven, and to accept our most divine and sacred regeneration. (St. Dionysius) 

      Lay hold of Him Who said, "He who loves Me will keep My commandments, and I and the Father will come and make Our home in him." Thus the Lord will raise from the dead him who has attained faith and give him life, and grant him to see Him Who has risen in him and Who has raised him up. This is the reason faith without works is dead, or, rather, they are dead who have faith apart from works. Faith in God is always alive, and since it is living it gives life to those who come with a good intention and receive it. (St. Symeon the New Theologian) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Simon the Zealot, Apostle  

Acts 16:11-15: 

      When we receive visits from the brethren, we should not consider this an irksome interruption of our stillness, lest we cut ourselves off from the law of love. Nor should we receive them as if we were doing them a favor, but rather as if it is we ourselves who are receiving a favor; and because we are indebted to them, we should beg them cheerfully to enjoy our hospitality. (St. Theodoros the Great Ascetic) 

      Ministers do no good by teaching and speaking unless the inward calling of God be added to it. (John Calvin) 

John 15:26-16:4: 

      "The Spirit of truth proceeds from the Father." Just as the waters of a river come from a spring of water, so too God the Spirit proceeds from God the Father and is given through the Son to us, unworthy though we are. It is not to say that He is sent out or distributed against His will, for in fact, through another in the Trinity, the Son Himself, He is fulfilling His own will, which is the good-will of the Father. (St. Symeon the New Theologian) 

      Our Lord ascended for the purpose of sending us the Spirit of truth. Let us weep and pray that the Spirit may find us or rather make us worthy. (St. Bernard of Clairvaux) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. Sts. Cyril and Methodios, Apostles to the Slavs 

Acts 16:22-34: 

      God penetrates everything, and shines forth everywhere in the soul capable of receiving the light of the heavenly truth into itself. Even in the depths of prison Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God, and the Lord heard their prayer. (St. John of Kronstadt) 

      What could equal these souls? These men were scourged. They were misused, were in peril of their lives, were thrust into prison and set fast in stocks. They, however, did not let themselves sleep, but kept vigil all night. Do you note what a blessing tribulation is? (St. John Chrysostom) 

John 16:5-11: 

      The Holy Spirit breaks in upon the whole world and convinces it of sin, as if challenging it to battle. (Martin Luther) 

      When someone considers the suffering and death of the Lord, he ought to start out from the fact of the Resurrection so that his basic disposition is one of gratitude. The Holy Spirit sent to us by the risen Christ makes the world conscious that there is sin, justice and judgment. The tremors that shake the earth and cleave it to its depths are forms of the grace of the Holy Spirit by which he stirs it. In fact, what to the earth appears only a judgment passed in justice is itself a beginning of the resurrection, for the splitting of the earth opens hell, and the upturned graves liberate their bodies to resurrection (cf. Mt. 27:51). The darkening of the sun, the withdrawal of the Father's favor – for it is the Father Who makes the sun shine on the just and unjust – is also a sign of the coming judgment, of the dawning of the Day of the Lord, the day on which Israel had placed its entire hope. The dramatic culmination of the death and resurrection of the Lord was the sudden transformation of darkness and perdition in death and hell into eternal redemption and heavenly glory. These two extremes are thus inseparably conjoined, and the descent of the light of heaven into the depths of hell itself indicates that this spiritual light breaks through and prevails. (Hans Urs von Balthasar) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Epiphanios, Bishop of Cypros and St. Germanos, Patriarch of Constantinople  

Acts 17:15-18:1: 

      The Perfect is a Being Who has comprised and embraced in Himself and in all His Being all that is. Without this Being and outside of it there is no true being and in it all things have their being since it is the core of all things. This ultimate Being is in Himself unchangeable and immovable, yet changes and moves everything else. (Theologia Germanica) 

      A person who wants to arrive at union with the Supreme Repose and Good in this life must climb all the steps, which are considerations, forms and concepts, and leave them behind, since they are dissimilar and unproportioned to the goal toward which they lead. This goal is God. Accordingly, St. Paul teaches: "We should not consider or esteem the Divinity to be like gold or silver, or stone sculptured by the artist, or like anything a person can fashion with the imagination." (St. John of the Cross) 

John 16:12-15: 

      That the Holy Spirit first opens our minds and teaches us the things concerning the Father and Son, our Lord told us: "When He, the Spirit of truth comes, Who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me (Jn. 15:25), and will guide you into all truth (Jn. 16:13)". Do you see how through the Spirit, or, rather, in the Spirit, the Father and the Son are made known inseparably? (St. Symeon the New Theologian) 

      It is the Lord Himself Who has saved us and the very Spirit of God Who has instructed us in all truth. He deigned to make His dwelling in man, to appear to him and speak to him without intermediary, so that man should be not only righteous, but sanctified and purified in advance in soul and body by keeping the divine commandments, and so be transformed into a vehicle worthy to receive the all-powerful Spirit. (St. Gregory Palamas) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. The Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord God and Savior, Jesus Christ Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Glyceria, Virgin Martyr  

Acts 1:1-11: 

      The Only-begotten Son is a bridge joining the Most High with the most lowly. When He returned to the Father forty days after His resurrection, this bridge was raised high above the earth; for He left us and ascended to heaven by the power of the Divine nature to sit at His eternal Father's right hand. On the day of His ascension the disciples were as good as dead, because their hearts had been lifted up to heaven along with the Son, Who is Wisdom. So the angel said to them: "Do not stay here, for He is seated at the Father's right hand." (St. Catherine of Siena) 

      The true teaching of the Gospel says clearly and plainly that the Word of God became flesh, and was called like us a son of man, and suffered for us in the flesh, and will come back in the same way as He went up into heaven. (St. Cyril of Alexandria) 

Ephesians 1:17-23: 

      Learn that it is not merely in the future, but even now that the unutterable treasure which "is above every rule and authority" lies open before your very eyes and hands and feet. Be persuaded that this treasure of which you are told is the light of the world. (St. Symeon the New Theologian) 

      Christ appeared in His Incarnation as if He had gone out of Himself, that is, out of the authority of His natural divinity. When He was resurrected, He returned – so to speak – to Himself and His own former authority of divinity was restored. The resurrection from the dead is an activity of the almighty power and authority of the divinity. St. Paul wrote: "According to the working of His great might, which He accomplished in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and made Him sit at the right hand in the heavenly places." Through the resurrection the body of the Lord, which was previously susceptible to suffering, transcended suffering; the corruptible became incorruptible. The body that had become through suffering and death without form and comely glory was now brightened and beautiful and glorified with the same glory of divinity hypostatically united with Him. (St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain) 

Luke 24:46-53: 

      Forty days after the Lord's resurrection having eaten with His disciples, the good Master climbed the Mount of Olives; and then "while they looked on, He lifted up His hands and was carried into heaven," and a cloud engulfed Him as He ascended, and He hid Himself from the view of men. And so "ascending on high, He led captivity captive" (Ps. 67:19; cf. Mic. 2:13); and with the gates of heaven now open, He made a way for His followers and led the exiles into the kingdom. He made them fellow citizens with the angels and members of God's household. Thus He repaired the fall of the angels, increased the honor of His eternal Father, manifested Himself in triumph and proved that He is the Lord of hosts. (St. Bonaventure) 

      The Lord was separated from the disciples in the body (though as God He was with them) and, as He promised them, He was taken up and sat on the right hand of the Father with our human flesh. As He lived, died, rose and ascended, so we all live, die and are resurrected. Not all of us, however, will attain to ascension, but only those for whom to live is Christ, and to die for Him is gain, those who, before they died, crucified sin through repentance and a way of life in accord with the Gospel. After the Resurrection of all, they alone will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (cf. I Thess. 4:17). A cloud also received the Lord as He ascended. After the Ascension the disciples did not see Him with their bodily eyes but with the eyes of their soul, yet they worshipped Him. Let us do the same, then, like them, stay in peace (for Jerusalem means peace) keeping peace with ourselves and with one another. Let us each go into our own upper room (cf. Acts 1:13), our mind, and stay there praying, and let us purify ourselves from passionate and base thoughts. In this way we shall not miss the coming of the Encourager, and shall worship the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in spirit and truth, now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen. (St. Gregory Palamas) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Isidore of Chios, Martyr  

Acts 18:2-22: 

      The Spirit is so simple that He passes through every spiritual and material being; through all reasonable beings and through all creatures not endued with reason, through the heavenly bodies, the earth and all its organic and inorganic bodies, and is not in the least bit limited by them, being always higher than them and quickening them as the Spirit of God, or it easily passes through every kind of matter without quickening it, such as mountains, stones, walls of buildings, as if there was no matter whatever there. God is such, as though there were no other spiritual or material being at all; and therefore I can always truly say that I am always with God, or as though there were only God and myself. "I am with you," says the Lord to the Apostle Paul. (St. John of Kronstadt)

      St. Paul, who had not known the Lord while He was on the earth, or shared the forty days' time with Him after His resurrection, but had communed with the glorified Lord of heaven on the road to Damascus and on many other occasions, spoke from the same experience as the other Apostles, and shared the same longing for His coming. (Hans Urs von Balthasar) 

John 16:16-22: 

      When a man does not try to escape or avoid the grief which is born of the fear of eternal retribution, but follows after it with ready heart and wraps its chains around him all the more, he will then progress more rapidly until he comes to stand before the face of the King of kings. On that day, when he perceives His glory no matter how obscurely, his chains shall immediately fall away. The executioner (who is fear) will run far away from him, and the grief in his heart will be turned to joy. He will feel this sensibly as a spring gushing out, an endless river of tears, and he will understand it intelligibly as peace, sweetness and unspeakable tenderness. It is also a source of strength and freedom which enables us to run without hindrance in complete obedience to the commands of God. (St. Symeon the New Theologian) 

      The soul is first summoned to the struggle by initiatory joy and then rebuked and tested by the truth of the Holy Spirit as regards both its past sins and the vain distractions in which it still indulges. In this manner the soul is tested as if in a furnace and through fervent remembrance of God it actively experiences the joy of perfection. (St. Diadochos of Photiki) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Pachomios the Great Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Dymphna of Flanders, Martyr 

Acts 18:23-28: 

      Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, as long as you ever can. (John Wesley) 

      Humility consists in constant prayer combined with tears and suffering. This ceaseless calling upon God for help prevents us from foolishly growing confident in our own strength and wisdom. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

John 16:23-28: 

      Although the Son was made a bridge when He was among us in the flesh, when He was taken from our sight there remained the bridge-way of His teaching, which is held together by the Father's power, the Son's wisdom and the mercy of the Holy Spirit. The Father's power gives the virtue of courage to those who follow this way. Wisdom gives us light to know the truth along the way. The Holy Spirit gives us a love that uproots all sensual love from the soul and leaves only virtuous love. So now as much as before, through His teaching as much as when He was among us in the flesh, He is the way and truth and life – the way that is the bridge leading to the very height of heaven. That is what He meant when He said: "I came from the Father and I am returning to the Father," and "I will come back to you." In other words: My Father sent Me to you and made Me your bridge so that you might escape from the river and be able to reach life. (St. Catherine of Siena) 

      "Truly, truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in My name, He will give it to you. Till now you have asked nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full." What a wonderful gift! It is a guarantee of unending, infinite blessings! It came from the lips of the unlimited God, clothed in limited humanity and called by the human name of Savior. The name by its exterior form is limited, but it represents an unlimited object, God, from Whom it borrows infinite, divine value or worth, the power and properties of God. (Ignatius Brianchaninov)

ex 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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