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Monday, June 8, 2020

  “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew the right Spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of your salvation, and with your governing Spirit establish me.” (Ps 50: 10-12, Septuagint-translation)

     This Monday, the day right after Pentecost, is called “The Day of the Holy Spirit,” because it is traditional for our church-calendar to celebrate the main “actor/s” of a great feast one day after the feast (e.g., one day after Christmas we celebrate the Theotokos; one day after Theophany/The Baptism of the Lord we celebrate St. John the Baptist; one day after The Meeting of the Lord we celebrate Sts. Symeon and Anna). So today we “celebrate” (from the Latin “celebrare” that means “to assemble to honor”) the Ho...

Sunday, June 7, 2020

  “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and wondered, saying, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Med...

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

    ”On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of him (ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας αὐτοῦ, out of his belly) will flow rivers of living water.’ But this he spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (Jn 7: 37-40)

     On this feast of Mid-Pentecost, marking the mid-point of our journey from Pascha to Pentecost, we celebrate these words said, nay, cried out, by our Lord to all of us: If “anyone” thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

     That also means me, if I recognize that I do, indeed, “thirst” for the Holy Spirit; if I am “poor in Spirit,”...

Monday, April 27, 2020

    “In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, ‘you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 1: 1-5)

     Now that Easter Sunday and Bright Week have passed, we tend to go back to “business as usual,” as if we’ve reached a sort of spiritual mountaintop, with nowhere lef...

Friday, June 28, 2019

    “Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. And no one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; if it is, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.’” (Mt 9: 14-17)

     Today, on the final day of the Apostles’ Fast for NC-people, and on its fifth day for us OC-people, we have this reading on fasting. The Lord give...

Monday, June 17, 2019

     “And (we believe) in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke by the Prophets.” (Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed)

     This Monday after Pentecost, known in our liturgical calendar as “The Day of the Holy Spirit,” I’m thinking about the various “roles” of the Holy Spirit, both within the mysterious Being of our Triune God, and in this world.

     What’s revealed to us about His Being within the Holy Trinity is, He “proceeds” (as distinct from the Son, Who “is born”) from the Father; and He is equally-divine, as One co-worshipped and co-glorified with the Father and the Son. Hence we worship and glorify the Holy Spirit as Lord and God. And in this world,...

Sunday, June 16, 2019

     “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.” (Acts 2: 1-6)

     The action of the Holy Spirit in this world, by His “grace” (i.e., divine energies), is “life-creating,” because...

Saturday, June 15, 2019

     “With the saints give rest (Μετὰ τῶν ἁγίων ἀνάπαυσον / Со святыми упокой), O Christ, to the souls of Your servants, / where there is neither sickness nor sorrow, and no more sighing, / but life everlasting. (Kontakion-hymn, Saturday Before Pentecost)

     Today, because it’s the Saturday before Pentecost when we commemorate the dead, I’m thinking about death. I think it hurts us so much, when we encounter it, because we don’t accept it. And we shouldn’t. God didn’t accept it either, which is why He sent us His only-begotten Son to come and share it with us, and then to trample it for us, by overcoming it in the “life everlasting“ of His resurrection.

     But why is it that death still can and does hurt us? Because our life in Christ, our cross-carrying journey, is...

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

   “But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, ‘Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead I am on trial.’ And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. Then a great clamor arose; and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended, ‘We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?’” (Acts 23: 6-9)

     I dare say, St. Paul is quite shrewd here, pitting one part of the Sanhedrin, the Sadducees, against another, the Pharisees. He s...

Sunday, June 9, 2019

     “When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared ask him, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.” (Jn 21: 9-14)

    The passage quoted above is the Gospel-reading at matins this Sunday, which also happens to be Father’s Day in Austria. Whenever t...

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