Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Elder Sophrony's prayer

O Eternal Lord.... and Creator of all things , in your inscrutable goodness you have called me in to this life, and have given me the grace of baptism, and the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
You have instilled in me the desire to seek your face , Hear my prayer!

I have no life, no light, no joy, no strength, no wisdom without you, O God.
Because of my unrighteousness I dare not lift my eyes in your presence,
but I obey you who said : " whatever you ask in prayer , believe that you have received it and it will be yours." and "if you ask anything of the Father He will give it to you in My name" .
Therefore , I now dare to approach you. Purify me from all stain of flesh and spirit. Teach me to pray rightly Bless this day which you give to me, your unworthy servant. By the power of your blessing enable me at all times to speak and to act with a pure spirit to your glory; with faith, hope and love,
humility, patience, gentleness, peace, purity, simplicity, sobriety, courage and wisdom. Let me always be aware of your presence.

In your boundless goodness, O Lord God show me your will and grant me to walk in your sight without sin. O Lord, unto whom all hearts are open, you know what I need and what is necessary for me. And when my perverted will leads me otherwise, O Lord do not spare me ,but force me back to your way.

You know my infirmity and corruption . You know my blindness and ignorance ,My pain and anguish are not hidden from you,  Therefore I beg you : Grant me ,Lord to hold fast to what is good ,by the power of your love. Preserve me from every word and act which corrupts the soul ,and from every impulse that is unpleasing in your sight and harmful to the people around me and teach me by the power of your Holy Spirit the way in which I should walk. Teach me what I should say and how I should speak. If it be your holy will that I be quiet and make no answer, inspire me to be silent in a peaceful spirit that causes neither harm nor hurt to my fellow human beings.

Establish me in the path of your commandments and until my last breath do not let me stray from the light of your ordinances. May your commandments be the sole law of my being in this life and for all eternity. O Lord, I pray to you: Have mercy on me. Spare me in my affliction and misery and hide not the way of salvation from me. By your Holy Spirit, Lord, teach me good judgment and sound knowledge. Let me know the truth before I die. Maintain my life in this world until the end that I may offer worthy repentance. Do not take me away while my mind  is still blind and bound by darkness. When you are pleased to end my life, give me warning that I may prepare my soul to come before you. Be with me, Lord , at that awesome hour and assure me by your grace of the joy of my salvation. Cleanse me from secret faults. Purify me from hidden iniquities. Give me a good answer at your dread judgement seat. In my foolishness, O God , I plead with you for many and great things. Yet I am ever mindful of my wickedness, my baseness, my vileness. Have pity on me ! Cast me not away from your presence because of my foolish presumption. Increase rather in me the right presumption of your grace and grant that I, the worst of people, may love you with all my mind, all my heart, all my soul and all my strength. as you have commanded. Lord of great mercy and measureless love for all people:Hear my prayer ! Amen.



Note:  Ever more reminded that  Lord gives us  infinite ways to help us.
Fr. Stephen Freeman had this prayer as early at 2008 after a friend shared this to him
Ms. Teodora monica fulga could share this in You tube,
St.  Siluoan and his disciple Elder Sophrony who moved to Essex outside of  Greece to help the western world,
Ancient faith radio and many  others could bring  St, Siluoan and Elder Sophrony's  thoughts to the world.
Lord Have mercy

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016 Saint Thomas day thoughts

Traditionally , the Church in India and its Diaspora pride themselves as their community being the first Christians in the world , founded by none other than the St. Thomas the Apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ . St. Thomas came to point the lost generation of Jews to Christ  , as commanded by our Lord.  In this tradition, through St. Thomas  the locals too turned to Christ and he  was instrumental in establishing the Church in India , speared on December 18 and suffered Martyrdom on December 21.

For me, my fascination on St. Thomas was a series of incidents in my own history not limited to my grandmother speaking of her family background to St. Thomas, my own glorious building up castles in air seeing how generations back we were members of the first parish - the  Church in Niranam founded by St. Thomas
(http://niranamchurch.com/history/) , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niranam_Church

My personal take on history , as written by Mankind  is that it is and was always written and will be rewritten and being modified at any particular time to suit any particular side or a particular position . It is my faith that in seeking this history , we will see that Truth lies in between the positions and views of the differing sides , and even as we discover a partial knowledge of this Truth in this journey, will only be humbled  that there is more to it and our time is limited . It is my hope that you will forgive any errors and  correct any short comings in this posting.  It is my prayer that  you reading this and me posting this will be inspired and seek Him the Truth whom St. Thomas declared as soon it was revealed to him by crying out ' My Lord and My God'

1. It was He that led the Church in India to defend against  subjugation by the Roman Catholics in 16th Century
2. It was He that made our forefathers to seek out help from amongst all the other historical Churches  founded by Apostles or their disciples
3. It was He that led  after 50 years the age old bishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem HG Gregorios Abdul Jaleel to come to Kerala.
 3. It was  He that caused through this interaction with this West Syrian Church to introduce the Church in India to turn more fully to Orthodox Christianity as developed till 16h Century.
4. It was He that made us to chose and adopt this Liturgical practice that sustain us in Right Glory.
5. It was He that led the Church and St. Dionysius to stand up to show its independence and put trust in God to tell the West Syrian Patriarch  that Church in India is not going to under the Syrian Orthodox Church as its subdivision .
6. It was He that led yet another  West Syrian Patriarch to come to India and have the Catholicate established in 1912. (http://rightglory.blogspot.ca/2014/02/last-kalpana-of-vattasheril-tirumeni-to.html)
6. It was He who led the Church in India to not follow teachings that were known as heresy to the Church all over even though it was brought forward the British and Anglican Church
7.It was He that led the Church in India to be united though for a short time that led the aged Bishop Augen (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baselios_Augen_I) to be a part of the 1965 Oriental Orthodox Conference where the Heads of the Church could meet after 16 Centuries of separation through it brought the relics of St. Thomas to the Church even though he was martyred in India and  his remains taken to Edessa

Let us  remember today  St. Thomas and seek his intercession and prayers to God so that this history that God started in Kerala will still being written through each of us irrespective of where we are and what situation we are being placed and His Mercy upon us.

December 21, 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

November 20 ,2016 - Annunciation to St. Mary Mother of God

November 20 - Annunciation to St. Mary Mother of God. Let us remember she who was chosen for our Salvation that we can cry out . O Holy Mother Mary Mother of God Save us .

From Evening Prayer

In Heaven and Earth and Eden – Halleluiah
1. May a good memory be made of the Virgin In churches and monasteries throughout the world .She was pure and holy in virginity Pleasing to the King of Kings who dwelt - in her womb Her memory- is in heaven and earth May her prayer – be for our refuge Lord, make us share in the memory of Your mother. Barekmor
Priest: Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit People: Unto the ages of ages and for ever more.
2. Glory to the Son of God who was so pleased To come forth from the blessed and Holy  virgin Through her ear she received him and - she bore him He came forth from her womb and yet it - remained sealed Praise to Him – Who humbled Himself Praise to Him – Who did become Man Praise to Him who saved His Church and she – sings His praise!

From Lectionary of Malankara Orthodox Church .

Evening St.Luke8:16-21  ,
Morning St.Mark3:31-35

Before Holy Qurbana
Genesis28:10-22 ,  Judges13:2-14

Holy Qurbana
IJohn3:2-17 , Galatians:4:1-7

Friday, November 4, 2016

Hoodosh Etho ( "Dedication or Renewal"Sunday) Readings

Hoodosh Etho ( "Dedication or Renewal")  Sunday is the second Sunday in the Liturgical calendar of  West Syrian tradition .
The  Church prescribes to its members to reflect prior to coming together to Church and partake of the Body and Blood of Christ these Scripture Readings and hear it each year being read and listen to the Homily on these from the mouth of the Priest .

Evening St.Luke19:47-20:8
Morning St.Mark12:41-44

Before Holy Qurbana
Exodus33:7-11 , IKings:8:22-40
Holy Qurbana
Acts7:44-53  ,  Hebrews9:1-14

Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way,And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him;And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.  Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.  For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,  how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.  I and My Father are one.”
Lord , Have Mercy upon us. We have forgotten your teachings, willingly closed our eyes to what Church is to what we want it to be for us- from the Abode of you O Lord the Holy Spirit in its fullness for your Right Glory to be a community of mere men gathering as Social gathering and bring your percepts as mere rituals.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

St. Polycarp - A Reminder of need for martyrdom

I stayed up yesterday night watching the movie of St. Polycarp and thought it beneficial to capture some thoughts that came to mind .
The response of St. Polycarp at the time of his martyrdom "I have served my Lord Christ for 86 years and He never harmed me so how can I blaspheme against my King Who saved me?" was very much an inspiration in my Engineering days when within the Church seeing shortcomings of many including priests , I was reminded then that it is not my place to condemn and walk away from Church which served the Lord Jesus Christ for 2000 years and join in like many close to me to join in born again fellowships.  
Even then I could see the parallels in line of St. Polycarp's  with the message of St. Paul to the Church in Ephesians ( Ephesians Chapter 1 and 2) and that it holds to me an everyone within the Church .  For reference just Eph 1:7-14)  
" In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. "
I could see very clearly  then that these new born again preachers, bible studies without the foundation of the teaching of the Apostles , the Apostolic fathers like St. Polycarp and the Church are the heretics against whom the Church will face martyrdom .
They miss out in not asking  the most crucial question in the teaching of the Church to those who through  Holy Baptism and Chrismation as Orthodox Christians - How have we have served our Lord Jesus Christ in whatever we are faced  and  how worthy by our lives have borne the name as Orthodox Christians as followed by those before us.   By us spending time more with them and pondering on their thoughts , they lead those out from the Church into not reading up learning from the teachings of the Church  and implementing it in our lives- The faith and practice followed by the Apostles , the Apostolic fathers and the Church from first Century.
Now as I grow older, I see that added to them  this heretical teaching and behavior will creep into the mind of the Clergy and  Laity within the Church  . Also, more than any of these -  the short coming and willingly not to ponder within my heart and put to practice what I  should have learned from the Church.
Praying the Lord have Mercy upon us and Help
In Christ
July 9, 2016

Friday, June 3, 2016

A Prayer in trouble and their Prayer of exaltation ( From the Septuagint Daniel 3 : Sedrach, Misach, and Abdenago)

23 Then these three men, Sedrach, Misach, and Abdenago, fell bound into the midst of the burning furnace, and walked in the midst of the flame, singing praise to God, and blessing the Lord.
Song of the Three Children
1 Then Azarias stood up, and prayed on this manner; and opening his mouth in the midst of the fire said,
Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers: thy name is worthy to be praised and glorified for evermore: For thou art righteous in all the things that thou hast done to us: yea, true are all thy works, thy ways are right, and all thy judgments truth.

In all the things that thou hast brought upon us, and upon the holy city of our fathers, even Jerusalem, thou hast executed true judgment: for according to truth and judgment didst thou bring all these things upon us because of our sins. 

For we have sinned and committed iniquity, departing from thee.

In all things have we trespassed, and not obeyed thy commandments, nor kept them, neither done as thou hast commanded us, that it might go well with us. 

Wherefore all that thou hast brought upon us, and every thing that thou hast done to us, thou hast done in true judgment.
And thou didst deliver us into the hands of lawless enemies, most hateful forsakers of God, and to an unjust king, and the most wicked in all the world. 

And now we cannot open our mouths, we are become a shame and reproach to thy servants; and to them that worship thee.
10 Yet deliver us not up wholly, for thy name’s sake, neither disannul thou thy covenant: 11 And cause not thy mercy to depart from us, for thy beloved Abraham’s sake, for thy servant Isaac’s sake, and for thy holy Israel’s sake;

 12 To whom thou hast spoken and promised, that thou wouldest multiply their seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that lieth upon the seashore. 

13 For we, O Lord, are become less than any nation, and be kept under this day in all the world because of our sins. 

14 Neither is there at this time prince, or prophet, or leader, or burnt offering, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense, or place to sacrifice before thee, and to find mercy.
15 Nevertheless in a contrite heart and an humble spirit let us be accepted. 16 Like as in the burnt offerings of rams and bullocks, and like as in ten thousands of fat lambs: so let our sacrifice be in thy sight this day, and grant that we may wholly go after thee: for they shall not be confounded that put their trust in thee.
17 And now we follow thee with all our heart, we fear thee, and seek thy face. 

18 Put us not to shame: but deal with us after thy lovingkindness, and according to the multitude of thy mercies.
19 Deliver us also according to thy marvellous works, and give glory to thy name, O Lord: and let all them that do thy servants hurt be ashamed; 
20 And let them be confounded in all their power and might, and let their strength be broken; 21 And let them know that thou art God, the only God, and glorious over the whole world.

 22 And the king’s servants, that put them in, ceased not to make the oven hot with rosin, pitch, tow, and small wood; 23 So that the flame streamed forth above the furnace forty and nine cubits. 24 And it passed through, and burned those Chaldeans it found about the furnace.
25 But the angel of the Lord came down into the oven together with Azarias and his fellows, and smote the flame of the fire out of the oven; 26 And made the midst of the furnace as it had been a moist whistling wind, so that the fire touched them not at all, neither hurt nor troubled them.

27 Then the three, as out of one mouth, praised, glorified, and blessed, God in the furnace, saying,
28 Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever. 

29 And blessed is thy glorious and holy name: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
30 Blessed art thou in the temple of thine holy glory: and to be praised and glorified above all for ever. 

31 Blessed art thou that beholdest the depths, and sittest upon the cherubims: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever. 

32 Blessed art thou on the glorious throne of thy kingdom: and to be praised and glorified above all for ever.

 33 Blessed art thou in the firmament of heaven: and above all to be praised and glorified for ever.
34 O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever, 

35 O ye heavens, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. 

36 O ye angels of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. 

37 O all ye waters that be above the heaven, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. 

38 O all ye powers of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
39 O ye sun and moon, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. 

40 O ye stars of heaven, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. 41 O every shower and dew, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

 42 O all ye winds, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever, 43 O ye fire and heat, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. 

44 O ye winter and summer, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. 

45 O ye dews and storms of snow, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
46 O ye nights and days, bless ye the Lord: bless and exalt him above all for ever.

 47 O ye light and darkness, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. 

48 O ye ice and cold, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. 49 O ye frost and snow, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

 50 O ye lightnings and clouds, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
51 O let the earth bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

 52 O ye mountains and little hills, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. 

53 O all ye things that grow in the earth, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. 

54 O ye mountains, bless ye the Lord: Praise and exalt him above all for ever.

55 O ye seas and rivers, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. 56 O ye whales, and all that move in the waters, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. 

57 O all ye fowls of the air, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. 

58 O all ye beasts and cattle, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
59 O ye children of men, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

60 O Israel, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
61 O ye priests of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. 

62 O ye servants of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. 

63 O ye spirits and souls of the righteous, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

64 O ye holy and humble men of heart, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
65 O Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever: for he hath delivered us from hell, and saved us from the hand of death, and delivered us out of the midst of the furnace and burning flame: even out of the midst of the fire hath he delivered us.

66 O give thanks unto the Lord, because he is gracious: for his mercy endureth for ever.
67 O all ye that worship the Lord, bless the God of gods, praise him, and give him thanks: for his mercy endureth for ever.

24 And Nabuchodonosor heard them singing praises; and he wondered, and rose up in haste, and said to his nobles, Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? and they said to the king, Yes, O king. 25 And the king said, But I see four men loose, and walking in the midst of the fire, and there has no harm happened to them; and the appearance of the fourth is like the Son of God. 26 Then Nabuchodonosor drew near to the door of the burning fiery furnace, and said, Sedrach, Misach, and Abdenago, ye servants of the most high God, proceed forth, and come hither. So Sedrach, Misach, and Abdenago, came forth out of the midst of the fire. 27 Then were assembled the satraps, and captains, and heads of provinces, and the royal princes; and they saw the men, and perceived that the fire had not had power against their bodies, and the hair of their head was not burnt, and their coats were not scorched, nor was the smell of fire upon them.
28 And king Nabuchodonosor answered and said, Blessed be the God of Sedrach, Misach, and Abdenago, who has sent his angel, and delivered his servants, because they trusted in him; and they have changed the king’s word, and delivered their bodies to be burnt, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. 29 Wherefore I publish a decree: Every people, tribe, or language, that shall speak reproachfully against the God of Sedrach, Misach, and Abdenago shall be destroyed, and their houses shall be plundered: because there is no other God who shall be able to deliver thus. 30 Then the king promoted Sedrach, Misach, and Abdenago, in the province of Babylon, and advanced them, and gave them authority to rule over all the Jews who were in his kingdom.
31 King Nabuchodonosor to all nations, tribes, and tongues, who dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied to you. 32 It seemed good to me to declare to you the signs and wonders which the most high God has wrought with me, 33 how great and mighty they are: his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his power to all generations.

Presented by The Common Man's Prospective. Copyright© 1999-2012 Ernest C. Marsh

Friday, March 25, 2016

One Christ, Our Lord and God and His Suffering

Very often, the world immortalizes Jesus Christ focusing primarily at the Friday of the Passion on His suffering to bring the penitent to heights of emotional frenzy. However, this is not  the teaching of the Church which is so clearly identified in its Liturgical tradition that developed over the last 2000 years , but  has never deviated from the very basis that it was not in the human suffering our minds and thoughts  should be , but that it is the One Incarnated Lord and God that suffered , died and rose again. In a time when even within the Oriental Orthodox Christian traditions this is not taught so much that the laity had chosen to seek tainted faith from others. Praying that our Lord  transform each of us in this Friday and strengthen us to hold steadfast to this faith that was relevant to St. Dioscoros in 4th Century and yet important now even amidst fruitful discussions on reconciliation with the Chalcedonian Eastern Orthodox.

An old gem of a post by Thomas P. one of the early members of the ICON discussion group that has been very meaningful from the very first time I read in 2001.

There are "many christs" today. We also see many images of christs, some  depicting him as a blonde haired - blue eyed person, with highly  developed neck and shoulder muscles, resembling a wrestler. Such  imagery originates from our need for a physically powerful person to  protect us in our daily life or for prevailing in a highly competitive  world. So the world is creating christs to suite the physical needs.  The Bible also says that there will arise many christs after the  Christ.

Majority of followers of Christ of modern world does not believe in  the "One Christ". They tend to believe in Christ as an exceptional  human being or a "god-man" or "human-god" or one of many "avatArAs"  in history. We also see e-mails circulating in the Internet during  Passion Week explaining the painful experience (as a human experience) of crucifixion. If it was just a human being that  suffered on the Cross, then there are humans suffering even today.
There are those crucifying themselves every year during Holy Week as a  ritual. Even in other religions too, they inflict physical pain for a  religious experience.

In our Church, we do not divide Christ in to "human" and "divine" and  say that when Christ walked over water it was his divine nature  walking or when was hungry it was his human nature that experienced  the hunger. We maintain our faith in "One Christ". Just believing in  his human nature and his divine nature (in a separate manner) is not  enough for a Christian. Few years ago I asked a person who believes in  Chalcedon about his faith. He replied that Christ is "Perfect God and
Perfect Man", kind of "Human-God". This faith is not enough for a  Christian.

Christians must believe that God unified our corruptible humanity with His incorruptible divinity (out of his deep love and great compassion  for us), perfectly preserving the human nature. It is because of this  "Unity" of "His divine nature and our human nature" that we have  salvation through faith in the "One Christ". Thus we talk only about  "One Christ" and "One Church" which believes in Christ in this way.

The Church and the saints remembered in "Tubdeen" (Diptych), especially, St. Kurilose (Alexandria), St. Severios(Anthioc), St.  Diascoros (Alexandria), St. Anthimus (Constantinople), St. Philoxenos
(or Xenias, bishop of Mabug), St. Thimothios (Alexandria), St. Jacob  (Yakub Burdana, Anthioc) suffered a great deal for maintaining this  faith. There is no other way, but through the "One Christ", for the  salvation of human kind as explained by our Bishop Mar Barnabas  (America) through his Sermons and numerous works in English.

Our Passion week prayers (Promion, Sedra etc.) are rich with  explanation and confession of our faith in Christ. It is an  opportunity for us to concentrate on these prayers and meditate  on the content during the Holy Week.
Our Bishop Mar Osthathios (Niranam) encouraged the youth about the  writings of Pope Shenouda, some four years ago, in a youth meeting.  Following excerpts from the work "The One Nature and Suffering" will  help us understand our Holy Week prayers.

__________The One Nature and Suffering_____________

Surely, Divinity is not susceptible to suffering, but when the human nature underwent suffering, it was united with the divine nature.
Thus pain was inflicted upon this one Nature. This Explains why the  Creed set by the Holy Council of Nicea says, "The Only-Begotten Son of  God descended from heaven, was Incarnate and became man and was  crucified for our sake in the reign of Pilate, suffered and was buried  and rose from the dead".

There is a great difference between saying that the human nature  alone, apart from the Divine nature, suffered, and that the Incarnate  Only-Begotten Son was crucified, suffered, was buried and rose from
the dead. Thus, here we find the advantage of believing in the One  Nature which provides effective unlimited redemption.

If the first aim of the Incarnation is redemption, and redemption  cannot be fulfilled through the human nature alone, faith in the One  Nature of the Incarnate Logos is an essential and undeniable matter.  Redemption cannot be fulfilled if we say that the human nature alone  underwent suffering, crucifixion, blood-shedding and death.

Turn to the Holy Bible and read what it says about God the Father, "He  that spared not His Own Son but delivered Him up for us all. (Rom.  8:32) and also, "For God so loved the world that He gave His Only  Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish..."  (Jn. 3:16), and "But that He loved us, and sent His One Son to be the  propitiation for our sins. ) (1 Jn. 4:10).

Thus, the One sacrificed by God is the Son, the Only Begotten Son,  that is, the Second Hypostasis (Person) of the Holy Trinity; the  Logos. The Bible did not say that He sacrificed His humanity or
anything of the kind although He died on the cross with His human  body, this is clear proof of the One Nature of God the Logos, and  herein is the importance of this unity for the act of redemption.

But, did the Divinity suffer?

We say that, essentially, the Divine nature is not susceptible to  suffering yet He suffered due to His humanity, and was physically  crucified. Hence we say in the prayer of the None (the sixth hour),
"You Who have tasted death physically in the sixth hour". He, the  man, united with the Godhead, physically died and His death provided  unlimited atonement.

The holy fathers explained this point through the aforementioned clear  example of the red-hot iron, it is the analogy equated for the Divine Nature which became united with the human nature. They explained that when  the blacksmith strikes the red-hot iron, the hammer is actually  striking both the iron and the fire united with it. The iron alone  bends (suffers) whilst the fire is untouched though it bends with the  iron.

As for the crucifixion of Christ, the Holy Bible presents us with a  very beautiful verse; St. Paul the Apostle speaks to the bishops of  Ephesus asking them: "... to feed the Church to God which He has
purchased with His Own Blood" (Acts 20:28); he ascribes, the Blood to  God, although God is Spirit, and the Blood is that of His human  nature. This expression is the most wonderful proof of the One Nature  of the Incarnate Logos; what is related to the human aspect can be  attributed to the Divine nature at the same time without distinction,  as there is no separation between the two natures
A resource by our Diocese to make each of us participate more meaningfully
A resource by St. Gregorios Church in Toronto under the guidance of Fr. Lazarus shared through ICON
March 25 , 2016
Calgary, Canada

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Homily Notes and Scripture Readings - 2nd Week after Denaha

The Liturgical readings of the second week after Danaha ( Jan 17, 2016)  were

Evening :St.John1:26-34 , Morning :St.John1:35-42

Before Holy Qurbana
Holy Qurbana
The fathers really  prescribed , we spent time trying to read and meditate on the words from Scripture prior to coming to Church and hear attentively from the noble priest the Homily.
Through various activities that we have filled our lives , We often neglect this practise and even  when if I listen quite often forget what was preached. In this week  ,  some thoughts that felt  really meaningful
( I Peter 3:15)
 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;   ( I Peter 3:15)

 ( Hebrews 1: 14- 2:4)
Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation
 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.   For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,   how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,   God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

These words really made sense so much reflecting on the Homily on St. John 1:43-51 given by our priest asking each of us to ask if a Christ centred experience through  whom the Apostle Nathanael whose doubts were cleared that he had to  exclaim out " “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

 Our Priest explained  the experience what led  the Apostle to have the experience. See it here explained in the Coptic synaxarium on the life of the Apostle thereafter ending in Martyrdom.


The key message that I believe that our priest was trying to convey is that each of us  instead of using the lives , piety ,holiness of the others etc. to set up our baselines, We come to realize that we have a Lord who knows all of us and who awaits and knows our inner needs  and to whom we must approach and be changed as the Apostle did first and which he abided through out his life.

In our Church school discussion , we also had opportunity to reiterate this message  by God's grace, as  the topic of discussion was on St. Basil who writes of his own experience with Christ

" I had wasted much time on follies and spent nearly all of my youth in vain labors, and devotion to the teachings of a wisdom that God had made foolish. Suddenly, I awoke as out of a deep sleep. I beheld the wonderful light of the Gospel truth, and I recognized the nothingness of the wisdom of the princes of this world"

Also the words of our Lord came up in our lesson  St. John 12:46  - I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.

May the Lord bless and His mercy upon us through the prayers of St. Mary and all the saints

Lord Have Mercy, Amen

Jan 17, 2016


Saturday, January 2, 2016

Lesson on Lord's Prayer from Anoushka's grade 2 South West Diocese Church School

Lesson 12 - The Lord's Prayer

God wants to hear you talk to Him and He wants to see you pray the way He taught His disciples to pray using the Lord's Prayer

Prayer is talking to God , and God loves when we pray. The disciples, Jesus's closest friends, wanted to learn how to pray. The disciples were with Jesus all the time and they were with Him when He went to pray. Yet, they were still not sure how to pray.
Jesus teaches us we should pray with humility. God listens no matters if our prayers are long or short.  God knows what we mean in our heart even when we have trouble finding the right words.
Jesus also teaches us that we should not 'show off'' when we pray. God doesn't want us to pray just so people can see us, or pray loudly just so people will know we are praying. He loves when we pray in a quiet place with our own words and for our needs, what we are thankful for, praises, and what we are sorry for.
Jesus taught us a special prayer called 'The Lord's Prayer', which we should say often at home and at Church.
Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come ,Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day , our daily bread and forgive us our debts and sins as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever .
 Let us understand each part of this special prayer that Jesus taught us. :

Our Father, who art in heaven

We start the prayer out this way so we know that we're praying to God. He is our heavenly Father , and we are His children.

Hallowed be Thy name

This means Holy is Your name. Even though God wants us to call Him Father, He is still God. It is sometimes really hard to understand who God is and what He is like. How did He
make us? How is He perfect and never makes mistakes? God just wants us to remember that we need to treat Him super special because He is God and when we pray to Him we need to be respectful.

Thy kingdom come ,Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

We should think all the time about living with God. This part means we are praying that people would live in peace and love with one another the way it is in heaven with God. It reminds us that we should be living the way God wants us to everyday.

Give us this day, our daily bread

God provides everything we need to live a life of a Christian. Too often we think about asking God to give us video games and princess dolls ,but forget to thank Him for the food we eat, the water we drink, even the air we breathe. When we ask God for things, that mean we trust Him and we will leave the decision to God.

and forgive us our debts and sins as we also have forgiven our debtors.

The next part of the prayer is asking for forgiveness for our mistakes . Forgiveness means that we are sorry for something we have done and we don't want to do it any more. But we also need to forgive people who have done wrong to us. Sometimes others hurt us very badly, so we need to ask God to help us forgive them because it's really hard or we don't want to . If we forgive others, God will forgive us.

Lead us not into temptation , but deliver us from the evil one.

This part of the prayer is really neat because it asks God to help us know the right thing to do. He will protect us against the evil that is in the world and  keep us away from it. Temptation is the idea that is in our heads, that might lead us to do the wrong thing, and we ask God to give strength to listen to Him and do what is right.

For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amin

The last part of the prayer is the best part! . We say out loud that God's kingdom will be forever. With God , we will always win !
We should not only say the Lord's prayer , but it's so important to think about what we are saying. When we pray, we should think about all the things we have to be thankful for and how God has given us everything we need . When we pray ''forgive us our debts'' ,we ask for forgiveness for those things we did wrong including those that we may have forgotten .
Prayer is our special way of talking to God, so remember to pray as many times as you can. God loves you and wants to know everything about you and how you are  doing.
Thank You Sunday School Text Book team- South West Diocese
George Varghese
Calgary, Canada
January 3, 2016