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Friday, August 2, 2019

     

      “…Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit. My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5: 16-20)

      This passage explains not only why we should pray to the (canonized) “saints,” but also why we should ask one anoth...

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Priest (in a low voice): “…Again, we offer You this spiritual worship (τὴν λογικὴν ταύτην λατρείαν, словесную сию службу) for those who have reposed in the faith: forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascetics, and for every righteous spirit made perfect in faith”; (aloud) “Especially (Ἐξαιρέτως, Изрядно) for our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary.” (Eucharistic Prayer, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

We don’t only pray “to” the saints; we also pray “for” them, in the Eucharist. How am I to understand this puzzling fact? What is “accomplished,” if I can put it that way, by such prayer?

First of all, we “offer” for the saints, by “remembering” them, as an expression of our gratitude for them. B...

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at that gate of the temple which is called Beautiful to ask alms of those who entered the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, with John, and said, ‘Look at us.’ And he fixed his attention upon them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and walked and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising...

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Now there was at Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which means Dorcas (gazelle). She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him entreating him, ‘Please come to us without delay.’ So Peter rose and went with them. And when he had come, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping, and showing tunics and other garments which Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all outside and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, ‘Tabitha, rise.’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and lifted her up. Then...

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Paul, called (κλητὸς) by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, to the church (ἐκκλησία) of God which is at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints (κλητοῖς ἁγίοις) together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 1: 1-3)

 

St. Paul himself is “called,” as are the people to whom he writes – not only at Corinth in the first century, - but “in every place” and throughout the ages, and today, wherever we are, who “call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” As “church” or “ekklesia” we are “the ones called forth” (the Greek word “ekklesia” comes from “ekkaleo,” to call forth or call out), to...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

 

 

 

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you have no fish, have you?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ He said to them, ‘Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked (γυμνός), and jumped into the sea…” (Jn 21: 4-7)

 

At this point, Peter was “naked” in several respects, because he felt shame for having thrice denied the Lord during His passion. And yet, when the risen Lord appears on the beach, and Peter hears that it is the Lord, the lapsed Apostle...

Saturday, October 24, 2015

 

 


Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you…” (2 Thess 3: 1)

 

Somebody asked me recently, Why don’t people in your church pray directly to God, but pray to saints? I replied that we do, indeed, pray directly to God, but we also ask for those strong in faith, the saints, to pray with us and for us; just as St. Paul asked other Christians to pray for him; just as the earliest Christians called St. Peter to come and pray when Tabitha had died, and by his prayers God granted Tabitha new life (Acts 9: 36-43), - just as then, today we still ask for, and benefit from, the prayers of the strong among us, including already-deceased saints like Peter.

 

We still have contact, in the “communion of the saints,” in the one Body of Chr...

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