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Devotional Readings for the Week of June 20th, 2010


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Methodios, Bishop of Patera, Martyr and St. Kallistos, Patriarch of Constantinople  

Zechariah 12:10-13:1:  

      The prophet Zechariah says that God promised to pour upon Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and mercy. So grace comes also of the Holy Spirit as of the Father and the Son. (St. Ambrose) 

      If, as some who are without God say, our Lord became man in appearance only, that He did not in reality take a body for Himself, that He died merely in appearance and did not in very deed suffer, then for what reason am I now in bonds and long to be exposed to the wild beasts for His sake? In such a case I die in vain and am guilty of falsehood against the Cross of Christ. Then also the prophet declared in vain, "They shall look on Him Whom they have pierced and mourn over themselves as over one beloved." The men who say this are not less unbelievers than were those who crucified Him. As for me, I do not place my hopes in One Who died for me in appearance only, but in reality. That which is false is quite abhorrent to the truth. (St. Ignatius of Antioch) 

Galatians 3:26-29: 

      For him who is perfect in love and has reached the summit of controlling his passions there is no difference between his own or another's, or between Christians and unbelievers, or between slave and free, or even between male and female. Because he has risen above the tyranny of unruly passions and has fixed his attention on the single nature of man, he looks on all in the same way and shows the same disposition to all. All are one in Christ. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      If a Christian has truly withdrawn from the world and its affairs and has come to Christ, if he is fully conscious of his calling and has been raised to the heights of spiritual contemplation through the practice of the commandments, then he will look unwaveringly on God and be well aware of the change that has taken place in him. He will see the grace of the Spirit always illuminating him – the grace that is called a garment, the royal purple or, rather, that is Christ Himself, if it is indeed true that those who believe in Christ are clothed in Christ. (St. Symeon the New Theologian) 

Luke 9:18-24: 

      Great and noble leaders provoke the mighty in arms to deeds of valor, not only by promising them the honors of victory, but by declaring that suffering is in itself glorious. Such we see is the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ; for He had foretold to His disciples that He must suffer the accusations of the Jews, be slain and rise again on the third day. Lest then they should think that Christ indeed was to suffer persecution for the life of the world but that they might lead a soft life, He shows them that they must pass through similar struggles, if they desired to obtain His glory. (St. Cyril of Alexandria) 

      A denial of one's self is indeed a total forgetfulness of things past, and a forsaking of his own will and affection. (St. Basil the Great) 

      It is but little for a Christian to have once made his renunciation of the world in the early days of his conversion, unless he continues to renounce it daily. (Abba Abraham) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Julian of Tarsus Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Aloysius Gonzaga 

II Kings 17:5-18: 

      Those who forgot God were themselves forgotten, and those who studied to be like the nations were buried among them. (John Wesley) 

      We know that the providence which sustains created beings exists in them as a divine rule and law. In accordance with God's justice, when those rich in blessings are ungrateful to Him Who bestows them, they are schooled in gratitude by this richness being drastically curtailed; and through this adversity they are led to recognize the true source of the blessings they receive. When conceit about one's virtues is left undisciplined it naturally generates arrogance, and this induces a sense of hostility to God. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

Matthew 7:1-5: 

      If you want to correct your brother when he is doing wrong, you must try to keep yourself calm; otherwise you yourself may catch the sickness you are seeking to cure and you may find that the words of the Gospel now apply to you: "Why do you look at the speck of dust in your brother's eye, and not notice the rafter in your own eye?" (Mt. 7:3). (St. John Cassian) 

      He does not say, 'Do not cause a sinner to cease,' but 'do not judge;' that is, correct him indeed, but not as an enemy seeking revenge, but as a physician applying a remedy. (St. John Chrysostom) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Alban, First-Martyr of Britain Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Eusebios the Confessor, Bishop of Samosata 

II Kings 19:9-36: 

      The demons, as they have no power, are like actors on the stage changing their shape and frightening children with tumultuous apparitions and various forms. In this they ought to be despised as showing their weakness. At least the true angel of the Lord sent against the Assyrians had no need for tumults, nor displays from without, nor noises nor rattlings, but in quiet he used his power and forthwith destroyed a hundred and eighty-five thousand. Demons, who have no power, try to terrify by their displays. (St. Antony the Great) 

      Unhappy are we who are so displeasing to God that He uses the fury of the barbarians to execute His wrath against us. Still when Hezekiah repented, one hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrians were destroyed in one night by a single angel. (St. Jerome)  

Matthew 7:6-14: 

      What Christ our God called the "narrow way," He also called an "easy yoke" and "light burden" (Mt. 11:30). How could He equate these things when they seem to be contraries? For our nature, certainly, this path is harsh and steep, but those who pursue it wholeheartedly and with good hope, and who aspire after holiness, find it attractive and full of delight, for it brings them pleasure, not affliction. (St. Theodoros the Great Ascetic) 

      In one place it is said that the Father "will give good things to those who ask Him" (Mt. 7:11). Elsewhere it is said that He will "give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him" (Lk. 11:13). From this we learn that those who pray to God with steadfast faith in these promises receive not only remission of sins but also heavenly gifts of grace. The Lord promised these "good things" not to the righteous but to sinners, saying: "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" Ask, then, unremittingly and without doubting, however poor your efforts to gain holiness, however weak your strength; and you will receive great gifts, far beyond anything that you deserve. (St. John of Karpathos)


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

II Kings 22:8-23:3: 

      We need not wonder that Huldah, the prophetess and wife of Shallum, was consulted by Josiah, King of Judah, when the captivity was approaching and the wrath of the Lord was falling upon Jerusalem. It is the rule of Scripture that when holy men are lacking, women are praised to the reproach of men. (St. Jerome) 

      Josiah cleansed the land of Israel from its uncleanness; and Jesus cleansed and caused to pass away uncleanness from the earth. Josiah hallowed and glorified the name of his God; and Jesus said: "I have glorified and will glorify His Name" (Jn. 12:28). Josiah because of the iniquity of Israel "rent his clothes;" and Jesus because of the iniquity of the people "rent the veil of the Holy Temple" (Mt. 27:51). Josiah said: "Great is the wrath that shall come upon this people;" and Jesus said: "There shall come wrath upon this people, and they shall fall by the edge of the sword" (Lk. 21:23-24). Josiah cast out uncleanness from the Holy Temple; and Jesus cast out the unclean traders from His Father's house. (Aphrahat) 

Matthew 7:15-20: 

      The intellect should not yield to the flesh or cling to the passions. It is said, "men do not gather figs from thorns," that is, they do not gather virtue from the passions, "nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush," that is, they do not gather from the flesh that spiritual knowledge which gladdens the heart. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      Do not readily assume that someone who in outward appearance and dress, and in manner of speech, seems to be humble is actually humble at heart; and do not assume – unless you have put it to the test – that someone who speaks exaltedly of high things is full of boastfulness and vanity; for "you shall know them by their fruits". (Nikitas Stithatos) 

Your browser may not support display of this image. The Nativity of St. John the Baptist Your browser may not support display of this image. Your browser may not support display of this image. Sts Zacharias and Elizabeth 

Isaiah 49:1-6: 

      It is a great thing for you to be called God's servant. Yet, even beyond this, He calls for us to be His friends. 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 the Lord, mounting with keenness of soul from fear to hope, is summoned in the end to that still more blessed stage which is love. He who is a faithful servant will pass from to the companionship of friendship to the adoption of sons. (Abba Chaeremon) 

      You have said, Lord, to one of Your servants, "It is no light thing for you to be called by My name." This is more to me than all the kingdoms of heaven or of earth. Let me always be called by Your most sweet name. O Master, full of compassion, I give thanks to You. (St. Peter of Damaskos) 

Acts 13:22-26: 

      "I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart." Now by the heart is denoted the desire, to which David was well-pleasing through the uprightness of his character. (St. Hilary of Poitiers) 

      Why was David, the father of God, loved by God? Because he was good even to his enemies. "I have found a man after My own heart." So said the Lover of good, Who transcends good. (St. Dionysius) 

Luke 1:57-66: 

      If the name John restored speech to his father, I, too, ought not to despair that although dumb I may yet receive speech, if I speak of Christ. (St. Ambrose) 

      John did not merely choose the good before knowing evil (cf. Isa. 7:16), but while still unborn, before knowing the world, he surpassed it. Then once he was born he delighted and amazed everyone by reason of the miraculous events surrounding him. "The hand of the Lord was with him," working wonders again as it had in earlier time. (St. Gregory Palamas) 


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

II Kings 25:1-12: 

      By the burning of the temple God would show how little He cares for the outward pomp of his worship, when the life and power of religion are gone. About four hundred and thirty years the temple of Solomon had stood. And it is observed by Josephus, that the second temple was burnt by the Romans, the same month, and the same day of the month that the first temple was burnt by the Chaldeans. (John Wesley) 

      So long as the world and the soul's willing attachment to material things are alive in us, we must not give freedom to desire and incensiveness, lest they commingle with the sensible objects that are cognate to them, and make war against the soul, taking it captive with the passions, as in ancient times the Babylonians took Jerusalem. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

Matthew 8:1-4: 

      He was able to cleanse by a word, or even by mere will, but He put out His hand, "He stretched forth his hand and touched him," to show that He was not subject to the Law, and that to the pure nothing is impure. (St. John Chrysostom) 

      He was not only God, but man also, whence He wrought Divine wonders by touch and word; for as by an instrument so by His body the Divine acts were done. (St. John of Damascus) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. David of Thessalonica Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Brannock 

Lamentations 2:2-19: 

      Let those who repent learn how they ought to carry it out, with what zeal, with what affection, with what intention of mind, with what shaking of the innermost bowels, with what conversion of heart. Here you recognize the intention of the soul, the faithfulness of the mind, the disposition of the body: "The elders of the daughters of Zion sat upon the ground. They put dust on their heads. They girded themselves with haircloth. The princes hung their heads to the ground. The virgins of Jerusalem fainted with weeping. My eyes grew dim. My bowels were troubled. My glory was poured on the earth." (St. Ambrose) 

      Weep for those who by reason of their crimes and sins go away from the Church and who suffering condemnation for their faults shall no more return to it. It is in this sense that the prophet speaks to ministers of the Church, calling them its walls and towers, and saying to each in turn, "O wall, let tears run down." In this way, it is prophetically implied, you will fulfill the apostolic precept: "rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep" (Rom. 12:15). (St. Jerome) 

Matthew 8:5-17: 

      Bring to mind the punishment that befalls sinners, the reproach, the reprobation of the conscience, how they will be rejected by God and cast into the age-long fire, to the worm that does not die, to the impenetrable darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (cf. Mt. 8:12; Mk. 9:44). Meditate on all the other chastisements, and let your tears drench your cheeks, your clothes, and the place where you are sitting. I have known many men in whom such thoughts have produced such tears and who in this way have wonderfully cleansed all the powers of their soul. (St. Theodoros the Great Ascetic) 

      Through the profession of the true faith you were numbered among Christ's flock. Now you are united to Him through repentance. Beware lest you fail to fulfill this promise, and are cast, like some shattered pot, into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. No path other than that of repentance leads to salvation. (Nikitas Stithatos) 

via Ordo Aquillifer

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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