The Holy Festival of the Lights

St. Gregory Nazianzus

BaptismChrist is bathed in light; let us also be bathed in light.  Christ is baptized; let us also go down with Him, and rise with Him.

John is baptizing when Jesus draws near.  Perhaps He comes to sanctify His baptizer; certainly He comes to bury sinful humanity in the waters.  He comes to sanctify the Jordan for our sake and in readiness for us; He Who is spirit and flesh comes to begin a new creation through Spirit and water.

The Baptist protests; Jesus insists.  Then John says: "I ought to be baptized by You."  He is the lamp in the presence of the Sun, the voice in the presence of the woman in the presence of the Firstborn of all creation, the one who leapt in his mother's womb in the presence of Him Who has already come and is to come again.  "I ought to be baptized by You"; we should add: "and for You," for John is to be baptized in blood, washed clean like Peter, not only by the washing of his feet.

Jesus rises from the waters; the world rises with Him.  The heavens like Paradise with its flaming sword, closed by Adam for himself and his descendants, are rent open.  The Spirit comes to Him as to an equal, bearing witness to His Godhead.  A voice bears witness to Him from heaven, His place of origin.  The Spirit descends in bodily form like a dove that so long ago announced the ending of the flood and so gives honor to the body that is one with God.

Today let us do honor to Christ's baptism and celebrate this feast in holiness.  Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed.  Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of humanity, for whom His every word and every revelation exist.  He wants you to become a living force for all humanity, lights shining in the world.  You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of Him Who is the light of heaven.  You are to enjoy more and more the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity, as now you have received - though not in its fullness - a ray of its splendor, proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to Whom be glory and power now and ever, and to the ages of ages.  Amen!

Taken from Christ-bearers - Meditations for the Pre-Christmas Fast, Christmas, and Theophany.


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Teachings of Christ

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 ESV)

Scripture

February 11, 2018
Forgiveness Sunday (Cheesefare)
- Matins: Mark 16:9-20 (Gospel 3)
- Liturgy: Romans 13:11b-14:4, Matthew 6:14-21

First Week of Great Lent
- Monday: Isaiah 1:1-20, Genesis 1:1-13, Proverbs 1:1-20
- Tuesday:Isaiah 1:19-2:3, Genesis 1:14-23, Proverbs 1:20-33
- Wednesday: Isaiah 2:3-11, Genesis 1:24-2:3, Proverbs 2:1-21
- Thursday: Isaiah 2:11-21, Genesis 2:4-19, Proverbs 3:1-19
- Friday: Isaiah 3:1-14, Genesis 2:20-3:20, Proverbs 3:19-34
- Saturday: Hebrews 1:1-12, Mark 2:23-3:5

February 18, 2018
First Sunday of Great Lent
Sunday of Orthodoxy
- Matins: Luke 24:1-12 (Gospel 4)
- Liturgy: Hebrews 11:24-26,32-12:2, John 1:43-51

Second Week of Great Lent
- Monday: Isaiah 4:2-6; 5:1-7, Genesis 3:21-4:7, Proverbs 3:34-4:22
- Tuesday: Isaiah 5:7-16, Genesis 4:8-15, Proverbs 5:1-15
- Wednesday: Isaiah 5:16-26, Genesis 4:16-26, Proverbs 5:15-6:3
- Thursday: Isaiah 6:1-12, Genesis 5:1-24, Proverbs 6:3-20
- Friday: Isaiah 7:1-14, Genesis 5:32-6:8, Proverbs 6:20-7:1
- Saturday: Hebrews 3:12-16, Mark 1:35-44 (and for All Souls, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, John 5:24-30)

February 25, 2018
Second Sunday of Great Lent
St. Gregory Palamas
- Matins: Luke 24:12-35 (Gospel 5)
- Liturgy: Hebrews 1:10-2:3, Mark 2:1-12 (and for St. Gregory, Hebrews 7:26-8:2, John 10:9-19)

Feasts & Fasts

February
2 - Encounter of Our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ with Simeon and Anna
3 - First All-Souls Saturday
4 - Sunday of the Second Coming of Christ (Meat-Fare)
11 - Forgiveness Sunday (Cheese-Fare)
12 - Beginning of the Holy Forty Days Fast
18 - First Sunday of the Great Fast (Sunday of Orthodoxy)
19 - Washington's Birthday (President's Day) (USA)
24 - Second All-Souls Saturday
25 - Second Sunday of the Great Fast (St. Gregory Palamas)

Please pray!

"They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword...." (Hebrews 11:37a)

Please lift up in prayer all those who are persecuted and deprived of liberty, everywhere in the world. Please especially remember the peoples of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Niger - the whole Middle East and Africa - who are literal martyrs for Christ. Also the peoples of Ukraine. They are our brothers, for all are one in Christ.

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Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge." (Proverbs 5:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Adam, God's first-formed man, transgressed: could He [God] not at once have brought death upon him? But see what the Lord does, in His great love towards man. He casts him out from Paradise, for because of sin he was unworthy to live there; but He puts him to dwell over against Paradise: that seeing whence he had fallen, and from what and into what a state he was brought down, he might afterwards be saved by repentance.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 2 no. 7)