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Devotional Readings for the Week of May 16th, 2010


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Theodore the Sanctified Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Brendan the Voyager 

Acts 7:55-60:  

      The specially distinguishing mark of Stephen was the absence of malice. Not even when in peril did Stephen hate his assailants, but was stoned while praying for those who were stoning him as a disciple of Christ, on Whose behalf he was allowed to suffer, and so, in his long-suffering, bearing for God a nobler fruit than his death, he allowed no interval between assault and forgiveness, so that he was almost robbed of pain itself by the speed of pardon. (St. Gregory the Theologian) 

      There is just one place where Stephen says that he saw the Lord Jesus "standing" at the right hand of God. Learn the import of this word. Why do we read everywhere else of the Son as sitting at the right hand of God, but in one place of His standing? He sits as Judge of the living and the dead. He stands as His people's Advocate. He stood as a Priest while He was offering to His Father the sacrifice of a good martyr. He stood, as the Umpire, to bestow, as it were, upon a good wrestler the prize of so mighty a contest. (St. Ambrose) 

Revelation 22:12-20: 

      The fact that many who study the prophetic writings are more interested in finding possible references to space travel and nuclear weapons than in discovering God's commandments for living is a sickening tribute to modern apostasy. From beginning to end, John is intensely interested in the ethical conduct of those who read his prophecy: "Blessed are those who do His commandments" (Rev. 22:14). (David Chilton) 

      God had purposed in the fullness of time to sum up and renew in Christ Jesus all things which are in heaven and on earth. (St. Jerome) 

John 17:20-26: 

      Our unity is recommended by the great example of unity. As the Father is in the Son, and the Son in the Father, so after the likeness of this unity, all may be one in the Father and in the Son. (St. Hilary of Poitiers) 

      The unity of all in God constitutes the ultimate aim of creation and salvation. Christ came in order to gather together all the children of God who are scattered abroad (cf. Jn. 11:52). The Church prays for this unity, for the overcoming of all divisions, for the fulfillment of the prayer of Christ: "that they may become perfectly one." (Fr. Alexander Schmemann) 

      To those upon whom the divine grace of the Spirit has descended, coming to dwell in the deepest levels of their heart, Christ is as the soul. Our Lord thus says: "As I and You are one, so may they be one in Us." What blessing and goodness has human nature received, abased as it was by the power of evil! But when the soul is entangled in the depravity of the passions, it becomes as though one with them, and even though the soul possesses its own will it cannot do what it wants to do. On the other hand, how much closer is the union that the soul enjoys when one with God's will, when His power is conjoined with it, sanctifying it and making it worthy of Him. Then in truth the soul becomes as the soul of the Lord, submitting willingly and consciously to the power of the Holy Spirit. (St. Makarios of Egypt) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Andronicos, Apostle of the Seventy  

Acts 19:1-8: 

      Those who had received only John's baptism and had no knowledge of the Holy Spirit are baptized again, lest any should suppose that water unsanctified could suffice for anyone's salvation. (St. Jerome) 

      There is no baptism outside, and no remission of sins can be given outside the Church. Those who had already been baptized with John's baptism were baptized also by St. Paul. (St. Cyprian) 

John 16:29-33: 

      "In the world you have tribulation." Anyone who would in the smallest degree follow the path of Christ, love Him and give himself to Him, has this tribulation and recognizes this suffering. The Cross is suffering. But through love and self-sacrifice this same tribulation is transformed into joy. It is experienced as being crucified with Christ, and accepting His Cross and hence taking part in His victory. "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (Fr. Alexander Schmemann) 

      For all the deep compassion of the Christian, his tears and prayers for the world, there is none of the despair that destroys. Aware of the breath of the Holy Spirit, he is assured of the inevitable victory of Light. (Archimandrite Sophrony) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Peter of Ancyra, Martyr  

Acts 20:17-27: 

      Paul said, "The Holy Spirit witnesses in every city saying that bonds and afflictions await me." This good Sanctifier of the Church, and her Helper and Teacher, the Holy Spirit, the Encourager, testified before Paul what things should befall him, that he might be the more stout-hearted, from knowing them beforehand. (St. Cyril of Jerusalem) 

      Paul denied himself, when, knowing that chains and tribulations awaited him in Jerusalem, he willingly offered himself to danger. At last, though many were around him weeping and begging him, he did not change his mind, so stern a censor of itself is ready faith. (St. Ambrose) 

John 17:1-11: 

      The kingdom of God is the content of the Christian faith – the goal, the meaning and content of the Christian life. According to the unanimous witness of all scripture and tradition, it is the knowledge of God, love for Him, unity with Him and life in Him. The kingdom of God is unity with God, the source of all life, indeed life Himself. It is life eternal: "And this is eternal life, that they know You." It is for this true and eternal life in the fullness of love, unity and knowledge that man was created. (Fr. Alexander Schmemann) 

      We must cast fear and faint-heartedness aside and in spirit follow after Christ that we may inherit life eternal in true knowledge of the Heavenly Father of Christ, Whom He, the Father, sent into the world. (Archimandrite Sophrony) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St Patrick of Prusa, Martyr  

Acts 20:28-38: 

      A Christian has not yet renounced the world or achieved perfection so long as they are ashamed to accept for Christ's sake the poverty of the Apostle and to provide for themselves and the needy through the labor of their hands; for only in this way will they be glorified with the Apostle. (St. John Cassian) 

      The Apostle said: "These hands have ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me." This proves that it is more convincing to teach through actions than through words. (St. Neilos the Ascetic) 

John 17:11-19: 

      The Scripture teaches us that not the Godhead of our Lord but His flesh needed sanctification, for He said, "I sanctify Myself for them," in order that you may acknowledge that He is both sanctified in the flesh for us, and sanctifies by virtue of His Divinity. (St. Ambrose) 

      Man in prayer does not merely come into the presence of the truth and contemplate it as an object. He lives "in the truth" Himself. (Hans Urs von Balthasar) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Thalelaeus, Martyr Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Lydia of Philippi  

Acts 22:30-23:11: 

      Find me a man who is never hungry, thirsty or cold, who knows nothing of pain, or fever or torture, and I will grant you under those conditions that a man is able to think of nothing but virtue. When the Apostle was struck by the servant, he responded to the High Priest who commanded that the blow be given: "God shall strike you, you white-washed wall." We miss the patience of the Savior Who was led as a lamb to the slaughter and did not open His mouth, but said to the one who struck Him: "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me? (Jn. 18:23)" We do not disparage the Apostle, but declare the glory of God Who suffered in the flesh and overcame the evil inflicted on the flesh, and the weakness of the flesh. (St. Jerome) 

      The Apostle Paul who was let down in a basket, and fled, when He were told, "You must bear witness at Rome," did not delay the journey, but departed rejoicing. He did not shrink from the time when it came, but gloried in it. (St. Athanasius) 

John 17:20-26: 

      Christ constantly speaks to a Father Who is a Person other than He, but with Whom He is, at the same time, one in essence. It is this that is indicated by the statement that "all My things are Yours, and Yours are Mine." (Hans Urs von Balthasar) 

      Protect the pledge of enriching humility that has been entrusted to you, for in it are stored the hidden treasures of love and the pearls of compunction. In it, too, the King, Christ our God, reposes as on a golden throne, bestowing the gifts of the Holy Spirit on those it nourishes and giving them His great glories: consciousness of His divine knowledge, His ineffable wisdom, the vision of permanent reality, the prevision of human realities, the life-quickening deadness induced by dispassion, and union with Himself, so that we co-reign with Him in the kingdom of God the Father. This accords with His petition to the Father, when He said: "Father, I desire that those whom You have given Me should be with Me wherever I am." (Nikitas Stithatos) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. The Sovereign Constantine and his mother, Helena 

Acts 25:13-21: 

      Every virtue lies between two unnatural passions. Justice lies between over-frugality and greed. (St. Peter of Damaskos) 

      Greed corrupts the equity of justice. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

John 21:15-19: 

      Our Lord having made Peter declare his love, informs him of his future martyrdom; an intimation to us of how we should love. (St. John Chrysostom) 

      Whatever be the pain of death, it ought to be conquered by the strength of love for our Lord, Who being our life, voluntarily also underwent death for us. (St. Augustine) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Melchizedek, King of Salem Your browser may not support display of this image. The Holy Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council  

Acts 28:16-31: 

      He who chooses maltreatment and dishonor for the sake of the truth is walking on the apostolic path. He has taken up the Cross and is bound in chains. But when he tries to concentrate his attention on the heart without accepting these two, his heart wanders from the path and he falls into the temptations and snares of the devil. (St. Mark the Ascetic) 

      One would not err in calling Paul's heart both a sea and a heaven: the one for purity and the other for depth. Let us emulate Paul, imitating that noble and adamantine soul, so that, advancing in the steps of his life, we may be enabled to sail through the sea of this present life, and to come to the haven. (St. John Chrysostom) 

John 21:20-25: 

      There is nothing for us to fear in death, nothing for us to mourn, whether life which was received from nature be rendered to her again, or whether it is sacrificed to some duty which claims it, and thus it is an act of religion or the exercise of some virtue. No one has ever wished to remain as they are now. That was supposedly promised to John, but it is not the truth. We hold fast to the words and thus deduce their meaning. He denied that there was a promise that he would not die, that no one from that instance might yield to an empty hope. It is wrong to grieve without limit for what has happened due to the limits placed on us. (St. Ambrose) 

      "There are many other things which Jesus did." Here St. John does not say as he did before (cf. Jn. 20:30), "in the presence of His disciples." In that case he may have been referring to the miracles and other things the Lord did which St. John did not record because others had recorded them. Here he may be referring to the creation of the world, when the Logos was not yet incarnate, and when together with Him the Father created all things out of non-existence. (St. Peter of Damaskos)

via Ordo Aquilifier 
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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