O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Friday, May 31, 2013

If God Be For Us, Who Is Against Us?

If the world gives in to us, then we win, for we are converting them. If the world opposes us, then we win, for that is when we offer the most worthy of our sacrifice by remaining faithful to God in defiance of the world. The Church's darkest hour was when She was separated from Her Bridegroom and He was suffering on the cross because of Her sins, but that was also Her most glorious hour for it was at that same time that the most worthy sacrifice of all was being offered.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Raising Sinners From the Dead

The sinner deserves eternal damnation but restore her purity for what Thou dost deserve is more important than what she deserves. Help her appreciate the malice of her sins and to offer to Thy Wounded Heart the atonement It deserves. She must live with Thee in paradise as Thou dost deserve, but she must also atone for her sins and return to purity, which Thou also dost deserve. Help her to repent that she may be restored to purity that she may belong only to Thee, and belonging to Thee, live in Thee forever.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Let us Join the Saints...

Blessed are they who have washed themselves clean in the Blood of the Lamb. Let us wash ourselves by participating in the self-sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, that we may be made clean and be numbered among the saints. We participate in the Cross by Confession, the reception of Communion, nd penance.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Memorial Service in Kazakhstan

The wind disrupts the audio, but here is a video of His Beatitude, Svyatoslav, Patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus, serving a panahida (memorial service) in Kazakhstan for the victims of Josef Stalin. You'll note the paschal variations in the texts as those on the Julian Calendar are still in Paschaltide.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Worship the Divine Fire from Above!

Behold how the earthly bridegroom cries out, asking Divine Love to come down in fire and consume him as a sacrifice for his beloved bride, that he might be God's instrument for sanctifying her and bringing her to Heaven. He raises his voice to Heaven, begging the Divine Fire to come down and consume his bride and her whole sins and her whole soul and her whole flesh and her whole life that she may belong to Christ Our God and be His instrument for sanctifying her bridegroom and bringing him to Heaven. In his sacrifice he is an icon of Christ who sacrificed Himself for His Bride the Church, returning Her to virginal purity for He is Almighty God and comes with great mercy for our souls for He alone is the Lover of mankind.

Behold how the earthly bridegroom begs the Fire of Divine Love to consume his bride and return her to purity, that she may belong entirely to Christ as He deserves and be His instrument for sanctifying her earthly bridegroom, completely freed from the influence of her sins, for the Divine Love that joins God the Eternal Father and God the Eternally-Begotten Son in a perfect but unconfused union is the same Divine Fire that joins this Son, Christ, to His Bride the Church in their self-sacrifice to the Father for the sake of Each Other and also, as the icon in the flesh of Christ and the Church, joins earthly bridegroom and bride in their self-sacrifice to the Father for the sake of each other in a likewise perfect but unconfused union which the same Life-creating Spirit uses as the environment in which He begets new life for the joy of the home and the good of the soul. So therefore let us ask Christ for a share of this Divine, Illumining, Life-creating, and Purifying Flame He sends to His Bride the Church for the sake of our souls for He alone is the Lover of mankind.

The Divine Bridegroom dwelt eternally with the Father in Divine Love in a perfect but unconfused union, and of His own free will came down and clothed Himself in flesh, anointed with that same Divine Love, meriting the style "Christ", and for our salvation deigned to be consumed in this Love as a sacrifice for His Bride the Church that Her sins might be consumed and Her whole flesh and Her whole life might belong to Him, undefiled in the purity in which He deserves to possess Her, for He alone is the Lover of mankind.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Вічная Пам'ят - Everlasting Memory

Today-the day before Pentecost-is the 5th All-Souls Saturday. Pray and fast for the dead. We are entering into the happy and comfortable time of summer, but the dead are still suffering in purgatory. Pray that they reach the place more comfortable than our summers.

From the Litany of the Dead:
Priest (silently): O God of spirits and of all flesh, Who have trampled death, and overthrown the devil, and granted life to Your world; now, O Lord, give rest to the souls of your servant/s N., who have fallen asleep, in a place of light, a place of green pasture, a place of refreshment, whence all pain, sorrow, and sighing have fled away. O God, as You are good and the Lover of Mankind, forgive every sin committed by them, in word or deed or thought, for there is no man who lives and who does not sin. For You alone are without sin, Your righteousness is everlasting righteousness, and Your word is truth.
(out loud): For You are the resurrection and the life, and the repose of Your servant/s N., who have fallen asleep, O Christ our God, and to You we send up glory, together with Your Father, Who is without beginning, and Your all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages.
Choir: Amen.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

To Each His Own Tradition...

From Symposium via Ramblings of a Byzantine Catholic comes this post about Latinizations:
The Eastern Catholic equivalent to Roman Catholic liturgical abuse is the issue of ‘Latinisation’. Those of you who are of the Eastern Tradition will understand what I mean, but for those of you reading this from a Latin (or Roman, or Western) perspective, it is important to understand that this is no insult to the venerable Latin Tradition. It is merely to say that what properly belongs to one Church’s life should not be co-opted by the other in what ends up being a pale imitation of the other’s practice. 
Read the rest there. Fr. James goes on about how each Rite needs to be faithful to it's own Tradition: that each Tradition is great and venerable in it's own right (no pun intended), but they cannot be mixed-each has it's own appropriate place and each person needs to be faithful to his own Tradition, otherwise they end up in a banal, made-up practice that's flaccid and neither one way or the other but rather destructive of both sides.

Indeed, Latinized Eastern Churches are neither Eastern nor Western but destroy both identities by mixing them together into a self-contradictory "have it both ways" pseudo-identity that gives you neither and destroys both. Similarly, Modernized Western Churches are neither Catholic nor secular (for modernism is the syncretism of Catholicism and secularism) and distort both what it means to be Catholic and what it means to be a God-less secularist by attempting to mix pious sobriety with atheistic hedonism in what can only be called a hypocritical self-contradictory belief system that tries to have both and ends up with neither.

Monday, May 13, 2013

96th Anniversary

Icon of the Theotokos of Fatima

Tone 4
Theotokos and Virgin, Rejoice! Hail Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne Christ, the Savior of our souls.

The Icon of the Theotokos of Fatima was written in Russia on purpose since she asked for the conversion of Russia. These days, Russia opposes the sins of the West more than any other country in Europe. That's sad-that Europe is so evil and so sinful and so permissive that even evil unconverted atheist Russia is more morally clean than the rest of Europe. We still need to pray for the conversion and consecration of Russia and Europe is so sad in its abandonment of morality and Catholicism that it needs to be converted even more. Entrust everything to the Theotokos of Fatima: she appeared before the Red Revolution to ask for the conversion of Russia-that's how much she takes care of us.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Fighting Against Heresy and Arius the Insane


Today we celebrate the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Council of Nicea. This is where St. Nicholas the Wonderworker pulled the heretic Arius by his beard and punched him in the face. He was expelled from the council by having his omophor and Gospel taken away, only to have them restored later that night by Christ and the Mother of God in a vision.

"Arius fell into the precipice of sin, having shut his eyes so as not to see the light, and he was ripped asunder by a divine hook so that with his entrails he forcibly emptied out all his essence and his soul, and was named another Judas, both for his ideas and the manner of his death. But the Council in Nicea loudly proclaimed you, Lord, to be Son of God, equal in rank with the Father and the Spirit.

Arius the insane cut the Monarchy of the All-holy Trinity into three dissimilar and unrelated Essences; therefore the Godbearing Fathers eagerly came together, burning with zeal, like Elias the Thesbite, and cut off with the sword of the Spirit the blasphemer with his teachings of shame, as the Spirit decreed."
-Stichera at "Lord, I have cried" at Vespers last night

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Enlighteners of the Slavs and Equals to the Apostles

Today we celebrate Sts. Cyrill and Methodius, Apostles to the Slavs. They were brothers and monks. St. Methodius was consecrated a bishop at the end of his life and St. Cyrill gave us the Cyrillic alphabet (many variations of which exist today).

Troparion, Tone 4: As equals of the apostles and teachers of the Slavs, beg the Master of all to confirm us in the faith and in unity of heart, O Cyrill and Methodius. Beg Him for peace in the world and mercy on our souls.

Kontakion, Tone 3: We honor those priests who gave us the Light, who opened the fountain of theology for us by translating the Holy Scriptures, thus starting a river from them that still runs to this day. We glorify you, O Cyrill and Methodius, who stand in heaven before the throne of the Lord on high, and who pray so fervently for us all.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Rain Down Fire From Above!

Pray the King on High to send down the Holy Ghost as fire from above to burn sinners into the purity the Divine King deserves.

Tropar, Tone 4: You ascended in glory, O Christ our God,* giving joy to Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit,* and assuring them through your blessing* that You are the Son of God,* the Redeemer of the world.

Kontakion, Tone 6: When you had fulfilled Your plan for us* and united things on earth with those in
heaven,* You ascended in glory, O Christ our God,* in no way distant, but remaining in separable,*
You cried to those who love You:* I am with You and there is none against you.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Proclaimer of Things Ineffable

Today we celebrate the Leave-Taking of Pascha and the Feast of the Holy, Glorious, and All-Praiseworthy Apostle and Evangelist, Virgin, and Beloved Disciple of Christ, Who Reclined on the Bosom of the Lord, John the Theologian.

Troparion, Tone 2: O beloved apostle of Christ our God,* hasten, deliver a people without defense.* He who received you when you leaned upon His breast accepts you as you bow in prayer.* Implore Him, O Theologian, to scatter the cloud of nations that besets us,* asking peace and great mercy.

Kontakion, Tone 2: O virgin apostle, who can recount your mighty works?* For you pour out wonders and healings* and you pray for our souls as Theologian and friend of Christ.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Έν Τούτῳ Νίκα: In Hoc Signo Vinces

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Apparition of the Holy, Glorious, and Life-Giving Cross. Before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, St. Constantine the Great say a vision of a cross and heard the words, "In Hoc Signo Vinces", in Greek: "ἐν τούτῳ νίκα" "en touto nika" ("In this sign thou shalt conquer"), which not only led to his victory, but also to his conversion. The conversion of Constantine and Rome to Christianity was not only a big break with Rome's persona of ruthlessness against Christians, but also big break with Constantine's immediate predecessors, who were especially viscous against Christianity after Christianity began to be a very large portion of the population-particularly Diocletian.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Lord Giveth and The Lord Taketh Away...

Today we celebrate St. Job the Righteous and Long-Suffering, who teaches us that all suffering and all blessings are from the Lord and teaches us by example to endure suffering and offer it to the Lord as a penance and the Lord will take care of us in turn.

Troparion, Tone 1: As an indestructible pillar of courage, / you repulsed the attacks of Belial and remained unmoved in temptation. / Therefore, O wise Job, / the Church praises you as a model of endurance and an example of virtue; / and she is made radiant by your great deeds.

Kontakion, Tone 8: You were true and just, pious, blameless and holy, O glorious servant of God. / You enlightened the world by your perseverance, much-afflicted Job. / Therefore, we all honor and praise your divinely-wise memory.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Our Patronal Feast

Today is the Feast of Ecce Homo in the Latin Rite, the Fifth Sunday after Easter. Accessible in the sidebar, I have the Story of the Ecce Homo devotion as well as photos and video.

This feast and this devotion is summed up nicely in the Introit Dignus est Agnus of Christ the King: Christ deserves to receive all glory and honor because He sacrificed Himself for the remission of sin. Read the story (linked above) to see how giving glory to God has been the objective of this devotion through its history.

Dignus est Agnus, qui occísus est accípere virtútem, et divinitátem, et sapiéntiam, et fortitúdinem, et honórem. Ipsi glória et impérium in saécula saeculórum.
(Ps) Déus, judícium túum Régida: et justítiam túam Fílio Régis. Glória Pátri. Dignus est Agnus

The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength and honour; to Him be glory and empire for ever and ever.
(Ps) Give to the King, O God, Thy justice, and to the King's Son Thy judgment. Glory be to the Father. The Lamb.

Remove Our Blindness That We May See Divine Love

Sunday of the Man Born Blind

Kontakion, Tone 4: Blinded in the eyes of my soul, I come to You, O Christ, like the man who was
blind from birth, and I cry in repentance: You are the brilliant light of those in darkness.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Sudden Conversion of a Whore

St. Nonnus praying for the conversion of St. Pelagia.

Today we celebrate St. Pelagia the Martyr and St. Pelagia the Penitent, both from Antioch in Palestine. I wonder what wise guy put them on the same day. I wrote of her life here, of her radical and sudden conversion and how she even harshly rebuked St. Nonnus for not doing his job as a bishop.

Troparion, Tone 8: The divine image was faithfully preserved in thee, O Mother, for taking the cross thou didst follow Christ. By thy deeds thou hast taught us to see beyond flesh, which passes, and care for the soul, a thing immortal. And so, O Venerable Mother Pelagia, thy spirit rejoices with the angels.

Kontakion, Tone 2: For the love of the Lord, O Venerable Mother, thou didst scorn the desire for rest and enlightened thy soul through fasting, for thou hast mightily conquered the beasts. Through thy prayers thwart the rage of fiends.

Friday, May 3, 2013

For the Sake of Each Other Until the End

Today we celebrate the Holy Martyrs Timothy and Maura. A married couple, they were crucified facing each other on the same cross in 286. They remained on the cross for 9 days strengthening each other in the Faith by their mutual self-sacrifice to God for the sake of each other unto the sacrifice of martyrdom.

Troparion, Tone 2: O passion-bearers of the Lord! Blessed is the earth that drank your blood and the churches that received your bodies; for at the tribunal your vanquished the enemy and courageously preached Christ. Implore Him, Who is all-good, to save our souls.

Kontakion, Tone 2: Appearing as radiant lights, O godly martyrs, you illumine all creation with the brightness of your miracles, healing infirmities, always dispelling deep darkness, and praying unceasingly to Christ Our God for all of us.

The Father of Slavic Monasticism

Today we celebrate Our Holy Venerable Father Theodosius the Great, Hegumen of the Pecherska Laura in Kyiv, Father of Monasticism in Ukraine and all Slavic lands.

Troparion, Tone 8: Raised in virtue, O father Theodosius,* from childhood you loved the monastic life* and attained your desire courageously.* You lived in a cave adorning your life with fasting and radiance* and abided in prayer like the bodiless powers.* You shone like a beacon in the land of Rus’.* Entreat Christ God to save our souls.

Kontakion, Tone 3: Today we revere the star of Rus-Ukraine, blessed Theodosius,* who shone from the east and came to the west;* for he enriched this whole land and all of us* with gentleness and miraculous wonders* by the practice and the grace of the monastic rule.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Not Afraid to Get in Trouble to Protect the Truth

Our father among the saints Athanasius,
Archbishop of Alexandria in Egypt
St. Athanasius is a hero in the Faith, not merely because he was faithful to Church teaching, but because he was not afraid to get in trouble to defend those teachings, mostly with the Church's internal enemies, being repeatedly exiled and even excommunicated for opposing the Arian heresy. Only a Christian who does not fear persecution is actually Christian as he is the only one who will practice the faith. Everyone else puts fear of men above fear of God (whether it be corrupt men in the Church or men outside the Church), refusing to serve God as it might give offense to men.