This path hath glorified them on earth and in heaven. This path, the path of serving Christ,
has filled a large part of heaven with Serbs. Travelling this path from generation to
generation, many millions of Serbs have entered the heavenly kingdom for which they longed;
and they have created a Heavenly Serbia---not just great, but magnificent and splendid.
A Treasury of Serbian Orthodox Spirituality.
(Translated by Father Theodore Micka and Father Stevan Scott. The Free Serbian Orthodox
Diocese of the United States and Canada, Grayslake, Illinois, 1988, pp. 66-67)
Remember the Students of St. Sava School of Theology - Libertyville
· The invitation to draw near to receive the Precious Body and Blood of Christ.
· The opportunity to attend the Divine Liturgy each Sunday.
· The opportunity to hear the Holy Gospel each Sunday.
Recent Activities of Parish Priest
December 18 - Visited parishioner at home.
December 20 - Went to Diocesan Center.
Took friend of parish to rehab center in North Hills, Pittsburgh.
December 22 - Went to Holy Trinity Catheral in Pittsburgh, St. Nicholas Church, Monroeville,
and Diocesan Center.
From the Desert Fathers
They told of a certain old man that when his thoughts said to him, "Let be to-day:
thou shalt repent to-morrow," he would contradict them, saying,
"Nay, but I shall repent to-day: to-morrow, may the will of God be done."
Sunday of Holy Forefathers 2005
Then He said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his
servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, 'Come, for all things are now ready.
But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a
piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused. And another said,
'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.
Still another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore cannot come.' So that servant came
and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to
his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring here the poor
and the maimed and the lame and the blind. And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you
commanded, and still there is no room.' Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the
highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you
that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.'
A Great Banquet is held each time the Divine Liturgy is served. Believers have the
opportunity to partake of the Precious Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Other than at certain times of the year, few believers respond to the invitation to
draw near in fear and faith. The vast majority of believers choose not to partake of the
Precious Body and Blood of Christ on a regular basis throughout the year.
A minority of people on this continent attend the Divine Liturgy every Sunday.
A much smaller minority of believers attend weekday Divine Liturgies and the
Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts.
No greater earthly experience exists than partaking of the Precious Body and Blood of
Christ. Partaking of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ unites the believer with Christ
and opens the door to eternal life.
The Nativity Fast is an opportunity for self-assessment of adherence to Orthodox practices.
The Nativity Fast is an opportunity to assess the degree of faithfulness to daily prayer and
Believers have an opportunity during the Nativity Fast to evaluate personal practices
in partaking of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ and in attending the Divine Liturgy.
The Divine Liturgy is offered in parish churches and monasteries on Sundays and major
feast days throughout the year. Only a limited number of individuals identifying themselves
as Orthodox faithful attend the Divine Liturgy at any given time.
While attendance tends to be greater on Sundays, the number of believers attending the
Divine Liturgy on Sundays is only a fraction of the total Orthodox baptized individuals
Attending the Divine Liturgy and partaking of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ is
not proof positive an individual will experience eternal life. Attending the Divine Liturgy
and partaking of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ strengthens the believer and unites
the believer with Christ.
Each believer has a continuing responsibility to be faithful to Christ.
Each believer has a responsibility to be faithful to Christ in all aspects of life.
No greater joy exists than the new life in Christ. No greater joy exists than being united
with Christ. No greater joy exists than partaking of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ.
The weight lifted from the mind and shoulders of the believer at Holy Confession can be
immense. The unity with Christ experienced at Holy Communion is assessed personally though the
joy is shared with all believers.
Our Lord Jesus Christ said: "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger,
and he who believes in me shall never thirst."(Jn.6:35) The Lord Jesus Christ told the woman
at the well: "Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water
that I shal lgive him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
Individuals decide each time the Divine Liturgy is scheduled whether or not to attend.
Believers decide at each Divine Liturgy whether to draw near when the chalice is brought
forth and the invitation is proclaimed to draw near in fear and faith.
Each believer acts on his or her set of personal standards. Each believers acts on values
personally adopted. The Nativity Fast is the time to evaluate personal standards and values and
determine if the standards and values maintained are in accord with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today's Gospel reveals excuses offered by individuals invited to the great supper. At times
believers may have valid reason not to attend the Divine Liturgy when it is scheduled. Serious
illness and essential work schedules can prevent a person from attending the Divine Liturgy.
When baptized, believers take on the responsibility to live an Orthodox Christian life.
The joy of Orthodox life comes in living the Orthodox life. Minimal participation yields to
minimal joy. Maximum participation yields maximum joy.
The Holy Apostle Paul told the Galatians: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentlenesss, self-control."
(Gal. 5:22) We cannot expect to experience the fruit of the Spirit
without adherence to a disciplined Orthodox Christian life.
Orthodox believers are expected to live the life in Christ each day. The Nativity Fast is
not intended to be an abbreviated effort of a few days prior to approaching the Holy Chalice.
The Nativity Fast is intended to be an extensive effort beginning the first day of the
Fast in November and continuing until the Divine Liturgy of the Feast of the Nativity.
May our hearts and minds be firmly focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. May we live in
ways pleasing to God and do all that we can to approach the Holy Chalice in faith and fear.
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
December 12 / December 25, 2005
Sunday of Holy Forefathers.
St. Spyridon. St. Herman.
Fr. Rodney Torbic
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