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Devotional Readings for the Week of August 15th, 2010


Your browser may not support display of this image. The Feast of the Falling Asleep of the Theotokos 

Revelation 11:19-12:10:  

      She who is higher than the heavens and more glorious than the cherubim, she who is held greater in honor than all creation, she who by reason of her surpassing purity became the receiver of the everlasting Essence, today commends her most pure soul into the hands of her Son. With her all things are filled with joy and she bestows great mercy upon us. (Hymn for the Feast) 

      This Woman (cf. Rev. 12:1-6), St. John says, is the Mother of the Lord: She is seen to be with child, carrying in her womb the Messiah Who is destined "to rule all nations with a rod of iron". The image of the Woman/Mother has its origins all the way back to the Garden of Eden and the first proclamation of the Gospel, in which God revealed that through the Woman would come the Redeemer to crush the Serpent's head (cf. Gen. 3:15). The picture then becomes a regular motif in the historical outworking of God's purposes with Israel. One familiar example occurs in the story of Jael and Sisera, which tells how the enemy of God's people is destroyed, his head shattered, by a woman (Jdg. 4:9, 17-22; 5:24-27; cf. the death of Abimelech in Jdg. 9:53). This is also a major theme in the story of Esther and her deliverance of Israel. The definitive fulfillment of this prophecy took place in the Virgin Birth, as Mary clearly recognized (cf. Lk. 1:51-55). (David Chilton) 

I Corinthians 15:20-27: 

      When the ruling aspect of the soul governs the others and brings them under its own direction and control, then the discordant elements, united into one and becoming concordant, are led peacefully to God. When all is then subjected to the Logos, He delivers the kingdom to God the Father. (Nikitas Stithatos) 

      Though all will be resurrected, yet the resurrection of each individual will be in accordance with his own inner state. He who through the power of the Spirit has extirpated his materialistic worldly proclivities in this life will hereafter live a divine and truly eternal life in communion with Christ. He who through surrendering to his materialistic and worldly lusts and passions has in this life deadened his spiritual being will, alas, hereafter be co-judged with the devil, who provokes all evil, and will be handed over to unbearable and immeasurable chastisement, which is the second and final death. (St. Gregory Palamas)

Luke 1:39-56: 

      Come, O gathering of those who keep the feasts. Come and let us form a choir. Come let us crown the Church with songs, as the Ark of God goes to her rest. Today heaven is opened wide as it receives the Mother of Him Who cannot be contained. The earth, as it yields up the Source of life, is robed in blessing and majesty. The hosts of angels, present with the fellowship of the Apostles, gaze in great awe at her who bore the Cause of life, now that she is translated from life to life. Let us venerate and implore her: "Forget not, O Lady, your ties of kinship with those who commemorate in faith the feast of your all-holy falling asleep." (Hymn for the Feast) 

      Elizabeth says, "Blessed are you among women;" for none was ever partaker of such grace or could be, since of the one Divine seed, there is one only parent. (St. Ambrose) 

      The Virgin, with lofty thoughts and deep understanding, contemplates the boundless mystery, the further she advances, magnifying God; And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord." (St. Basil the Great) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Diomedes the Unmercenary Healer, Martyr Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Stephen I, King of Hungary 

Ezekiel 24:15-23: 

      God told Ezekiel that He was going to take away his wife. The death of Ezekiel's wife was a symbol of God's judgment against Israel, His own bride. (James Jordan) 

      There is nothing more fearful than the thought of death, or more wonderful than the remembrance of God. The first induces the grief that leads to salvation. The second bestows gladness. (Ilias the Presbyter) 

Matthew 19:16-22: 

      God knew that anything the rich man kept back would give rise to all kinds of distractions. (St. Neilos the Ascetic) 

      Some people with possessions possess them with an orderly passion and so when they are deprived of them they are not dismayed. Others possess with inordinate passion, so that when they are in danger of being dispossessed they become utterly dejected. If they are actually dispossessed, they remain dejected until they die. Dispossession reveals whether a man's inner state is ordered in its passions or dominated by passion. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Myron, Martyr Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Alypios the Hymnographer 

Ezekiel 28:1-10: 

      Be quiet, you who exalt yourself! If you glory in your wisdom, if your mind is puffed up by your years because they are many; they are not more in number than those of the Prince of Tyre. During that time he said in his heart, "I am God and sit in the seat of God in the heart of the seas." But Ezekiel rebuked him and he was destroyed. (Aphrahat) 

      The demon of pride persuades a man to ascribe his achievements to himself and not to God, the Giver of all goodness and helper in every achievement. Even when impelled towards what is good, our weakness cannot bring anything to fruition without the Giver of all goodness. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

Matthew 19:23-30: 

      It is disbelief in God's providence that makes it difficult for us to eradicate the disordered passions that arise from our love of possessions, for such disbelief leads us to put our trust in material riches. We then long for worldly, perishable wealth; not for a heavenly, eternal kingdom. (St. Gregory Palamas) 

      Christ's words that the "first will be last and the last will be first" refer to those who participate in the virtues and those who participate in love; for love is the last of the virtues to be born in the heart but it is the first in value so that those born before it turn out to be "last". (St. Mark the Ascetic) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. Sts. Floros and Lauros, Martyrs   

Ezekiel 34:1-11: 

      He is rightly numbered among the hypocrites who under pretence of discipline turns the service of government to the purpose of domination. God upbraids such shepherds through the prophets, saying, "That which was broken you have not bound up, and that which was cast away you have not brought back." (St. Gregory the Great) 

      I pray that you may discern your affairs in a manner pleasing to God and may so act and endeavor that you may find Christ, as He even now cooperates with you, and in time to come will bestow on you abundantly the enjoyment of illumination that comes from Him. Do not follow the wolf instead of the shepherd, nor enter into a flock that is diseased. Do not be alone by yourself, lest you be seen carried off by the wolf, who destroys souls, or succumb to one disease after the other and so die spiritually. (St. Symeon the New Theologian) 

Matthew 20:1-16: 

      If we choose death rather than true life, God does not take away the power of choice He gave us. Not only does He not take it away, but He reminds us of it again and again. From the dawn until the dusk of this life He goes about, as in the parable of the vineyard, seeking us out and inviting us to engage in the works of life. (St. Gregory Palamas) 

      Because life eternal shall be equal to all the saints, a denarius is given to all; but forasmuch as in that life eternal the light of merits shall shine diversely, there are with the Father many mansions; so that under this same denarius bestowed unequally one shall not live longer than another, but in the many mansions one shall shine with more splendor than another. (St. Augustine) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Andrew the Commander, Martyr  

Ezekiel 36:23-28: 

      Those who declare that God would make a new covenant with men, not such as He made with the fathers at Mount Horeb, and would give to men a new heart and spirit plainly announced that liberty which distinguishes the new covenant, the faith which is in Christ, by which He has proclaimed the way of righteousness and the gift of the Holy Spirit to the elect people of God, whom He has acquired, that they might show forth His praise. (St. Irenaeus) 

      The Church, without spot or wrinkle, gathered out of all nations, and destined to reign with Christ forever, is itself the land of the blessed, the land of the living. We are to understand that this was given to the fathers when it was promised to them in the sure and immutable purpose of God, for what the fathers believed would be given in its own time was to them, on account of the unchangeableness of the promise and purpose, the same as if it were already given. (St. Augustine) 

Matthew 22:1-14: 

      Properly ordered passion is the wedding garment of the deiform soul that is separated from worldly pleasures, has renounced misdirected desires and is occupied with devout thoughts and the practice of contemplation in its purest form. But through intercourse with shameful passions the soul discards its robe of self-restraint and debases itself by wearing filthy rags and tatters. (St. Theodoros the Great Ascetic) 

      The wedding garment signifies the grace of the Holy Spirit. The man who is not worthy of wearing it has no part in the celestial marriage and in the spiritual wedding feast. (St. Makarios of Egypt) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Samuel, Prophet Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Bernard of Clairvaux 

Ezekiel 37:1-14: 

      How can someone with little or no faith be made to realize that an ant grows wings, a caterpillar turns into a butterfly and many strange and unexpected things happen in nature, so that in this way he shakes off the sickness of unbelief and despair, himself acquires wings and buds in spiritual knowledge like a tree? "I give life to the dry bones," says God. (St. John of Karpathos) 

      The root of all good works is the hope of the Resurrection; for the expectation of recompense nerves the soul to good works. Every laborer is ready to endure the toils, if he sees the reward in prospect. But when men weary themselves for nothing, their heart soon sinks as well as their body. Every soul believing in a Resurrection is naturally careful of itself; but, disbelieving it, abandons itself to perdition. He who believes that his body shall remain to rise again is careful of his robe, and defiles it not. He who disbelieves defiles himself and misuses his own body, as though it were not his own. (St. Cyril of Jerusalem) 

Matthew 22:34-40: 

      Love has fittingly been called the citadel of the virtues, the sum of the Law and the Prophets. So let us make every effort to attain it. Through love we shall shake off the tyranny of inordinate passions and rise to heaven, lifted up on the wings of virtues; and we shall see God, so far as this is possible for human nature. (St. Theodoros the Great Ascetic) 

      When intellect, intelligence and spirit prostrate themselves before God, the first through attentiveness, the second through invocation and the third through compunction and love, the whole of your inner self serves God. (Nikitas Stithatos) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Thaddeus, Apostle Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Vassa and her 3 sons, Martyrs  

Ezekiel 43:1-7: 

      During Judah's apostasy, the prophet Ezekiel saw the Glory-Cloud depart from the Temple and travel east, to the Mount of Olives (Ezk. 10:18-19; 11:22-23). Later, in his vision of the New Jerusalem, he sees the Glory-Cloud returning to dwell in the new Temple, the Church (Ezk. 43:1-5). This was fulfilled when Christ, the Glory of God and the Son of the Father, was incarnated and ascended to His Father in the Cloud from the Mount of Olives (Lk. 24:50-51). (David Chilton) 

      The divine and inexpressible light is God's divinity and kingdom, the beauty and resplendence of the divine nature, the vision and delight of the saints in the age without end, the natural ray and glory of the Divinity. (St. Gregory Palamas) 

Matthew 23:1-12: 

      It is characteristic of the Spirit to act and speak in the heart, while a literal, outwardly correct observance of things characterizes the fallen unregenerate person. The Spirit of life frees the intellect from sin and death, whereas a literal, outwardly correct observance imperceptibly turns us into Pharisees, since we then act only in an external bodily sense and practice the commandments merely in order to be seen doing so. (St. Gregory of Sinai) 

      Whoever exalts himself will be abased. Thus he who is not humble has lost life and will be found with its opposite. (St. Hesychios the Priest)

Via Centurion 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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