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Redeeming the Time Vol. 01.21 Second Sunday of Great Lent Mar 2/15 1998


Redeeming the Time

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church Dallas TX

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Mar 2/15 1998

Second Sunday of Great Lent

St Gregory Palamas

Vol. 01.21

News and Announcements *

Fasting during Great Lent *

Pastoral Conference *

Travelers *

Sick *

Gleanings from the Fathers *

Pearls from St Gregory Palamas *

The Superior knowledge *

The foolishness of pride *

The only way to perfection *

The Kingdom of God is within you *

Concerning the commandments of God and true knowledge *

Concerning angels and souls *

A Prayer of St Ambrose *

Concerning the Paralytic *

The Gentiles *

The Soul is sick *

Ask for Help *

Take up Thy bed and walk *

Go into Thine House *

O if we but chose! *

Why use a boat? *

News and Announcements

Fasting during Great Lent

For your reference, we repeat here part of the guidelines on fasting from the last Redeeming the Time.

During all of Great Lent, we eat no animal products (with one exception). We abstain from all flesh meat, fish, milk, cheese and other milk products, eggs, olive oil, wine and hard liquor on all weekdays (Monday through and including Friday). On the weekend (Saturday and Sunday), the fast is relaxed a little. We can have olive oil or wine if we wish. On Annunciation, fish is allowed, since this is such a joyful feast of the Mother of God.

Pastoral Conference

Fr Seraphim was at the Southern Diocese Pastoral Conference last Thursday and Friday, In Washington DC March 12-13 (civil dates)

Travelers

Sergius (Sumeet) Bahadur will be traveling the entire month of February and part of March, in India and South Africa. Please pray for his safe return, and spiritual protection during his trip.

Catechuman Nicholas will be abroad for a month (in Copenhagen). Please pray for his safe return.

Reader John Wilder is in China right now and will be abroad for about two weeks.

Sick

Please pray for the sick every day. Your prayer can be very simple: "Lord have mercy upon Thy (suffering) servantů"

    • Child Nikita
    • Nikita was born prematurely (at 26 weeks) in Australia, and is fighting for his young life.
    • Priest Martin
    • Serious back pain
    • Mother Seraphima - God's little sufferer
    • Tim Clader
    • serious ankle injury
    • David Miller
    • David will be having back surgery soon.
    • Alexandra
    • breast cancer
    • Emily
    • severe headaches
    • Iakavos (James)
    • James is the son of Fr Paul Volmensky (CA). He has problems with pain in his legs and ankles.

Gleanings from the Fathers

Pearls from St Gregory Palamas

The Superior knowledge

For a man to know God, and to know himself and his proper rank - a knowledge now possessed even by Christians who are thought to be quite unlearned - is a knowledge superior to natural science and astronomy and to all philosophy concerning such matters. Moreover, for our intellect to know its own infirmity, and to seek healing for it, is incomparably greater than to know and search out the magnitude of the stars, the principles of nature, the generation of terrestrial things and the circuits of celestial bodies, their solstices and risings, stations and retrogressions, separation and conjunctions and, in short, all the multiform relationships which arise from the many different motions of the heavens. For the intellect that recognizes its own infirmity has discovered where to enter in order to find salvation and how to approach the light of knowledge and receive the true wisdom that does not pass away with the present world.

St. Gregory Palamas, Philokalia, Vol. 4.

The foolishness of pride

What benefit does one procure in being puffed up? Does it sustain one, or protect one, or having made a mistake does it take one up to where one was previously and heal one? Certainly no one could possibly claim something such as this. But I think that in this passion of vainglory is given proof of the evil done under the guise of virtue. If, then, one wishes to examine more precisely this passion, one will discover that it, in a very deceitful manner, causes and manifests the greatest varieties of shame. Sometimes this passion even shamelessly removes its mask and disgraces those who are in love with this passion, despite of the fact that the Greek philosophers taught that without it nothing could be achieved in this life. What delusion!

St. Gregory Palamas, Treatise on the Spiritual Life.

The only way to perfection

A human being who does not endure courageously the unpleasant burdens of temptations, will never produce fruit worthy of the divine wine-press and eternal harvest, not even if one possess all other virtues. For one is only perfected through zealously enduring both all the voluntary and involuntary afflictions. Some of these afflictions are inflicted upon u s externally and others are borne internally. That which happens to the earthly plants naturally, during the changes of the season when cultivation is done by the vinedressers - who are us, the intelligent branches of Christ who are obedient to that Vinedresser of souls - is endured from self-determined free choice. Furthermore, without enduring the involuntary afflictions which come upon us, nor those voluntary things, one will not acquire divine blessings. For love towards God is received especially through the sorrows which are a result of the trial of temptations.

St. Gregory Palamas, Treatise on the Spiritual Life.

The Kingdom of God is within you

Since the Logos of God though His descent to us has brought the kingdom of heaven close to us, let us not distance ourselves from it by leading an unrepentant life. Let us rather flee the wretchedness of those who sit `in darkness and the shadow of death' (Isa. 9:2). Let us acquire the fruits of repentance: a humble disposition, compunction and spiritual grief, a gentle and merciful heart that loves righteousness and pursues purity, peaceful, peace-making, patient in toil, glad to endure persecution, loss outrage, slander and suffering for the sake of truth and righteousness. For the kingdom of heaven or, rather, the King of heaven - ineffable in His generosity - is within us (cf. Luke 17:21); and to Him we should cleave through acts of repentance and patient endurance, loving as much as we can Him Who so dearly has loved us.

St. Gregory Palamas, Philokalia, Vol. 4.

Concerning the commandments of God and true knowledge

But we also know that the fulfillment of the commandments of God gives true knowledge, since it is through this that the soul gains health. How could a rational soul be healthy, if it is sick in its cognitive faculty? So we know that the commandments of God also grant knowledge, and not that alone, but deification also. This we possess in a perfect manner, through the Spirit, seeing in ourselves the glory of God, when it pleases God to lead us to spiritual mysteries, in the manner indicated by St. Isaac.

St. Gregory Palamas, The Triads

Concerning angels and souls

Since angels and souls are incorporeal beings, they are not in a particular place, yet neither are they everywhere. They do not sustain all things, but themselves depend on Him Who sustains them. Hence they, too, are in Him Who sustains and embraces all things, and they are appropriately delimited by Him. The soul, since it sustains the body with which it is created, is everywhere in the body, although not in the sense of being located in a place or encompassed, but it itself sustains, encompasses and quickens the body, by virtue of the fact that it is in God's image.

St. Gregory Palamas, Philokalia, Vol. IV.

A Prayer of St Ambrose

Thee alone do I follow, Lord Jesus, Who heals my wounds. For what shall separate me from the love of God, which is in Thee? Shall tribulation, or distress, or famine? I am held fast as though by nails, and fettered by bonds of charity. Remove from me, O Lord Jesus, with Thy potent sword, the corruption of my sins. Secure me in the bonds of Thy love; cut away what is corrupt in me. Come quickly and make an end of my man, my hidden and secret afflictions. Open the wound lest the evil humor spread With Thy new washing, cleanse in me all that is stained. Hear me, you earthly men, who in your sins bring forth drunken thoughts. I have found a physician. He dwells in heaven, and distributes His healing on earth. He alone can heal my pains Who Himself has none. He alone Who knows what is hidden, can take away the grief of my heart, the fear of my soul: Jesus Christ. Christ is grace, Christ is life, Christ is Resurrection. Amen.

Prayer of St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. From his commentary on the healing of the Paralytic, Luke 5:18-19. Quoted from the Sunday sermons of the Great Fathers, vol. 4 pg. 184

Concerning the Paralytic

The Gentiles

In the paralytic, all the Gentiles are brought to Him to be healed. He accordingly is brought by the ministry of angels; he is called son, because he is the work of God; the sins of his soul are forgiven, which the law could not forgive. For faith only justifies. Then he manifests the power of the resurrection, when, by taking up his bed, he teaches that in heaven bodies shall be without infirmity.

St Hilary Bishop of Potiers, cited in Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers vol. 4. Pg. 180

The Soul is sick

In figure, the soul lying sick in its body, its power enfeebled, is offered to the Lord, the Perfect Physician, to be cured

St Jerome, cited in Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers vol. 4. Pg. 181

Ask for Help

... Let us say again what we have said before: That anyone who is sick should seek the help in prayer of others, that they may be restored to health; that through their intercession, the enfeebled frame of our body, the wavering footsteps of our deeds, may be restored to health by the remedy of the heavenly word. Let there be therefore be certain helpers of the soul (monitores), to raise the soul of man, even lying indifferent in the weakness of the outer body, so that by their assistance it may be easy for a man to raise himself and lower himself again, to be placed in the sight of Jesus; worthy to appear in the Lord's sight. For the Lord looks with affection on the humble: Because "he hath regarded the humility of His handmaid" (Lk 1:48)

St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan

Cited in Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers vol. 4. Pg. 182-183

Take up Thy bed and walk

In this place He gives a complete likeness of the resurrection. Healing wounds of mind and body, He forgives the sins of souls and makes an end to the infirmity of the flesh: This is to cure the whole man. And though it is a great thing to forgive men their sins (for who can forgive sins but God alone, Who also forgives them through those to whom He has given the power of forgiving sin?) nevertheless, it is a much more divine work to give resurrection to their bodies; because the Lord is Himself the Resurrection

St Ambrose Op. Cit. Pg. 183

Go into Thine House

House is also used to mean the dwelling place of the heart. So to a certain man who was cured was it said: Go into thy house (Mk 5:19) for it is fitting that a sinner after he is forgiven, should return again to his own mind, lest he yield again to that for which he will justly be punished.

St Gregory the Dialogist, Pope of Rome

Op. Cit. Pg. 192

O if we but chose!

O if we but chose! Brethren, if we but chose to look into every paralysis of our mind, and see our soul as it lies abandoned upon its bed of sin; we would see it clearly as Christ sees us; urging us, even unwilling, towards His saving remedies!

St Peter Chrysologos Op. Cit. Pg. 190

Why use a boat?

Today's lesson makes clear to us that Christ in His human actions wrought divine mysteries, and that in His visible works He had in mind invisible ends. Entering into a boat, it says, he passed over the water and came into his own city. Is this not He Who thrusting aside the waves of the sea laid bare it's deeps, that the people of Israel might pass on dry ground through the midst of the fearful waves b between mountains? (Ex 14) Is this not He Who supported the feet of Peter upon the crests of the waves, so that his watery path upon the sea stayed firm beneath his step? (Mt 14) And why does He deny Himself the service of the sea, to make a brief crossing of the lake in a hired boat? Entering into a boat, it says, He passed over the water.

And why should we wonder, brethren? Christ came to take upon Him our infirmities, and confer on us His powers; to seek what is human, to give what is divine; to receive injuries, and return them with honors; to suffer affliction, and bring healing to others: for the physician who does not suffer infirmities, knows not how to cure infirmities; and he who is not weak with the weak, cannot bring health to the weak. Christ therefore, had He remained within His own powers, would have had nothing in common with men; and unless He conformed to the way of life of our body, His taking of flesh would have been in vain. He therefore shared our necessities, that by these human needs He might be proved a true man.

St Peter Chrysologos - commentary on Matthew 9:1-8

Op. Cit. Pg. 189

"Redeeming the Time" is an almost weekly Journal of St Nicholas Orthodox Church, Dallas Texas. All issues may be found at: http://www.orthodox.net/redeeming

All unsigned or unattributed portions Copyright 1998 Fr Seraphim Holland

Address: 2102 Summit, McKinney TX 75071

Phone: 972 529-2754

Email: seraphim@orthodox.net

Web: http://www.orthodox.net

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Phone: 972 529-2754
Priest Seraphim Holland

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