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Devotional Readings for the Week of July 11th, 2010



Your browser may not support display of this image.  St. Euphemia, Great-Martyr Your browser may not support display of this image. The Fathers of the 4th Ecumenical Council 

Deuteronomy 30:10-14:  

      There is demanded of us an unwavering certainty when we confess our Faith. "The word is near, in your mouth and in your heart." The words of our confession must not be tardy or deliberately vague. There must be no interval between heart and lips, lest what ought to be the confession of true reverence become a subterfuge of infidelity. The word must be near us, and within us; no delay between heart and lips; a faith of conviction as well as words. Heart and lips must be in harmony, and reveal in thought and utterance a faith which does not waver. (St. Hilary of Poitiers) 

      Let us keep the treasure of our Faith with labor of mind and body, with an even and ready will, that the word may be near, even in our mouths and in our hearts. (St. Ambrose) 

Colossians 1:15-20: 

      Christ is God's masterpiece in human nature, the perfection of the whole creation with the fullness of the Divinity and the fullness of humanity; the fullness of perfection and of holiness. (Emile Guerry) 

      The Second Person of the Trinity was the center of the first creation and Christ Jesus, fully man and fully God is the center of the new creation. (James Jordan) 

Luke 10:25-37: 

      The question "Who is my neighbor?" is the parting shot of despair. The lawyer is trying to justify his disobedience. The answer is: "You are the neighbor. Go along and try to be obedient by loving others." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) 

      Love of God is opposed to unrestrained desire, for it persuades the heart to control itself with regard to sensual pleasures. Love for our neighbor is opposed to anger, for it makes us scorn fame and riches. These are the two pence which our Savior gave to the innkeeper, so that he should take care of you. But do not be thoughtless and associate with robbers; otherwise you will be beaten again and left not merely unconscious, but dead. (St. Maximos the Confessor)

      By recognizing your duty you easily discover who your neighbor is. He towards whom I have a duty is my neighbor. Christ does not speak about recognizing one's neighbor but about being a neighbor oneself, about proving oneself to be a neighbor, something the Samaritan showed by his compassion. By this he did not prove that the assaulted man was his neighbor but that he was a neighbor to the one assaulted. (Soren Kierkegaard)


Your browser may not support display of this image.  Sts. Proclos and Hilary, Martyrs


Isaiah 6:1-8: 

      The cloud of smoke arising from the altar of incense is to be associated with God's glory-cloud, as it appeared in the firmament-heavens (Ex. 19:18). Incense has to do with prayer, and the glory-cloud is an environment of ceaseless angelic prayer (Isa. 6:3-4; Rev. 5:8). (James Jordan) 

      God revealed His presence to His people in the Cloud of Glory. The Cloud was His fiery chariot by which He made His presence known to His people. The cloud served as a guide to Israel, giving light in the darkness and shade from the heat (cf. Ex. 13:21-22; Ps. 105:39), but bringing judgment on the wicked (Ex. 14:19-25). On Sinai, the Cloud was accompanied by thunder, light, fire, smoke and an earthquake (Ex. 19:16-20), and was filled with innumerable angels (Dt. 33:2; Ps. 68:17). The Cloud is nothing less than a revelation of the invisible Heaven, where God is seated on His throne of glory, surrounded by His heavenly court and council (cf. Isa. 6:1-4; Ex. 24:9-15). (David Chilton) 

Matthew 10:34-11:1: 

      Christian love is not a simple increase, crowning and religious sanction of natural love, but is radically distinguished from it and even, at times, opposed to it. (Fr. Schmemann) 

      Christianity is not a religion of comfort, of ease, of calm assurance for this life and for a life beyond the grave. It is not a religion of sentimentality and weakness. It is a religion of virility, of strength, of courage; and, at the same time, a religion of meekness, of mercy and of compassion. These two categories of virtue are complementary, one of the other; and both are equally necessary in the life of combat which the Christian must lead, more especially when the field of that combat is his own nature. (Emile Guerry) 

Your browser may not support display of this image.  St. Stephen of St. Sabbaite  

Isaiah 7:1-9: 

      The demons say to themselves: "Let us rise up, and fall upon a people that lives in hope and stillness; come, let us go and speak to them with words of spiritual deceit, seducing them from the truth over to our side" (cf. Isa. 7:6 LXX; Judg. 18:27). So they sharpen the sword of temptation against us who have chosen the life of stillness, and continue their attacks up to the last moment of our life. The more fervent our devotion and love for God, the more savage are their assaults. They urge us on to acts of sin, making war upon us in ways that test our endurance, trying in this manner to deprive us of our faith in Christ, of prayer and of every hope. (St. John of Karpathos) 

      We gain not faith from understanding, but understanding from faith, as it is written: "Except you believe, you will not understand" (Isa. 7:9). (Abba Nesteros) 

Matthew 11:20-24: 

      It is our Lord Who uses the words that it will be more tolerable for Sodom in the general judgment than for those who beheld His wonders and did not believe in Him nor receive His doctrine; for as He gave by His advent a greater privilege to those who believed in Him and who do His will, so also did He point out that those who did not believe in Him should have a more severe punishment in the judgment; thus extending equal justice to all and exacting more from those to whom He gives the more. (St. Irenaeus) 

      The Savior, while reproving the cities in which he had done great works, but which had not believed, and while setting them in unfavorable comparison with foreign cities, says, "I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you." A little after He says, "Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you." Here He most plainly predicts that a day of judgment is to come. (St. Augustine) 


Your browser may not support display of this image.  St. Aquila, Apostle Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Priscilla 

Isaiah 10:5-16: 

      When of old Satan deceived the first man Adam, thinking that through him he should have all men subject to him, he exulted with great boldness and said: "My hand has found as a nest the riches of the people; and as one gathers eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there is none who shall escape me or speak against me." But when the Lord came upon the earth Satan could not deceive Him and thus suffers and is dishonored. (St. Athanasius) 

      Everyone who glories in himself shall be humbled. (Aphrahat) 

Matthew 11:25-27: 

      Christ has said that He reveals the truth to whomsoever He wishes (cf. Mt. 11:27). This means that He reveals it only if we have previously resolved to receive this knowledge from Him spiritually through the keeping of His divine commandments; because without this anyone who claims to possess knowledge is lying. (St. Peter of Damaskos) 

      The Fatherhood of God manifested to us by Christ is not the natural, anthropomorphic fatherhood, the knowledge of which, in relation to God, religion infers from below, and which God thus shares with various earthly fatherhoods. This Fatherhood is possessed only by God and manifested and granted only by the only-begotten Son of God. "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him." Christianity did not begin with an ecumenical universal message of a Father-God common to all religions – in which the word "father," to cap it all off, is ambiguous, for God did not give birth to the world and man, but created them, and thus they are in no way an "emanation" from God. Christianity began with faith in the coming into the world, in the Incarnation, of the only-begotten Son of God and in our becoming sons – in Him and only in Him – of His Father. Christianity is the gift of double revelation: the revelation by the Father of the Son, Whom "no one knows except the Father," and the revelation of the Father by the Son, Whom "no one knows except the Son," but in Whose manifestation to us, in our being brought to Him, consists the matter of the salvation of man and the world, accomplished by Christ. (Fr. Alexander Schmemann) 

Your browser may not support display of this image.  St. Bonaventure Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Vladimir, the Great Prince  

Isaiah 26:7-19: 

      When you fail to carry out the divine precepts of faith, your faith is blind; for if the precepts of God are light, it is clear that when you fail to put the divine precepts into practice you are without divine light. You are God's servant merely in name, not in reality. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      Persistently suffer hardships in order to avoid the hardship of vain sufferings, for unless our loins are exhausted by the weakness induced through the exertions of fasting, and unless like a woman in childbirth we are afflicted with pains arising from the constriction of our heart, we will not conceive the Spirit of salvation in the earth of our heart (cf. Isa. 26:18; 21:3). (St. Gregory of Sinai 

Matthew 11:28-30: 

      The meekness of Jesus has an incomparable power of attraction, and it is the quality He specially chooses to predicate of Himself. He is not impatient or irritated with us; nor does He repulse us. He welcomes us, draws us and desires to conquer our souls by revealing to them His inexhaustible riches. (Emile Guerry) 

      In proportion to our labors and sufferings for the sake of virtue, and generally in the measure of our endeavors, God adjudges to us gifts, crowns and comforts. (The Monks Callistus and Ignatius) 

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

Isaiah 38:1-22: 

      "Those who are in Hades cannot praise You. The dead cannot bless You. The living shall bless You, as I also do." To praise and bless God belongs only to those who live in Christ. (St. Athanasius) 

      Hezekiah was glorified by God in his sickness and prayers with an extension of life, and this was signified by the return of the shadow of the degrees, according to the request of the king who was restored, whom God honored at once by the favor and the sign, assuring him of the extension of his days by the extension of the day. (St. Gregory the Theologian) 

Matthew 12:1-8: 

      He who imitates the disciples of the Lord does not refuse, out of fear of the Pharisees, to walk through the cornfields on the Sabbath and pluck ears of corn. On the contrary, when after practicing the virtues he attains the state of controlling his passions, he culls the inner principles of all created things and devoutly nourishes himself with the divine knowledge they contain. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      The work of our salvation is not in the sacrifice of the Law, but in mercy; and the Law having ceased, we are saved by the mercy of God. (St. Hilary of Poitiers) 


Your browser may not support display of this image.  St. Marina, Great-Martyr  

Micah 2:1-5: 

      When the heart begins to advance in love for God, the demon of blasphemy starts to tempt it, suggesting thoughts such as no man but only the devil, their father, could invent. He does this out of envy, so that the man of God, in his despair at thinking such thoughts, no longer dares to soar up to God in his accustomed prayer. But the demons do not further their own ends by this means. On the contrary, they make us more steadfast; for through their attacks and our retaliation we grow more experienced and genuine in our love for God. May the swords of the demons enter into their own hearts and may their bows be broken. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

           As often as holy men feel themselves to be beset by  shameful thoughts and to be spurred on to illicit delights, so often are they accustomed in the very approach of temptation to place future torments before the eyes of the mind and from such consideration to blot out whatever illicit thing the mind suggests, before shameful delight arises. Therefore, in this way immediately they punish themselves through consideration of punishment and destroy the allurement of sin. Therefore, through the function of judgment we perceive, reprove, condemn and punish seductive thoughts. But we say this not only of shameful thoughts, but even vain and useless ones, which perfect men seriously detest also. (Richard of St. Victor) 

Matthew 12:14-21: 

      Our Savior, teaches us not to break a bruised reed or quench smoking flax (cf. Mt. 12:20). None of us could endure the plots of the enemy, or allay the fiery turmoil of our nature, if God's grace did not protect our human weakness. (St. John Cassian) 

      Him whom the Pharisees, with one consent plotted against to destroy, the untaught multitude with one consent love and follow; whence they soon received the fulfillment of their desires, for it follows, "And he healed them all." (St. Jerome) 
 Via Aqilifier Chris-- 

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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