With deep faith in these words of the Lord, the early Christians anxiously approached
Holy Communion, not because of some requirement, but from an immediate awareness that
there was no spiritual life without Him. Just as one is not ordered to breathe,
but spontaneously knows that without air he would suffocate and die.
The early Christians attended all the Sunday and Holyday liturgies and at the Deacon's
invitation-with the fear of God and with faith, draw near, all the faithful lined up
and received Holy Communion. They were convinced they were attaining the deepest mystery
of their faith and the holiest gift of God's mercy. They tried to approach the all-holy
and most pure God in Holy Communion with purity of heart and soul.
("On Fasting and Communing." 1997 Serbian Orthodox Calendar.
Very Rev. Petar Milosevich Editor. Published by the Serbian Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood
of the United States and Canada, St. Louis, Missouri.)
Remember the Students of St. Sava School of Theology - Libertyville
· The demeanor of the Publican.
· The demeanor of the Pharisee.
· The prayer of the Publican.
Recent Activities of Parish Priest
February 4 - Blessed one home.
February 7 - Blessed two homes.
February 8 - Blessed two homes.
February 9 - Blessed three homes.
February 10 - Went to Diocesan Center
February 11 - Blessed one residence.
Served Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Church, Fairmont W.Va.
From the Desert Fathers
He (Isadore the Priest) also said, 'When I was younger and remained in my cell
I set no limit to prayer; the night was for me as much the time of prayer as the day.
The Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee 2006
"Two men went up to the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
The Pharisee stood up and said this prayer to himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like
the rest of men---robbers, cheats, adulterers; or even like this tax collector. I fast twice
a week; I pay tithes on everything I get.' But the tax collector, standing at a distance
would not even raise his eyes toward heaven, but struck his chest and said, 'God be merciful
to me, the sinner.' I tell you, it was he who went home forgiven, rather than the other;
for whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men
light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a a candlestick; and it giveth light unto
all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good
works, an glorify your Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to destroy the law,
or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you,
Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law,
till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments,
and shall teach men so, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever
shall do and teach them; the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Today the Holy Orthodox Church moves a step closer to Great Lent and Pascha. Today the
Holy Orthodox Church and the world moves closer to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It would be interesting to take a poll to determine how many people think seriously about
the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Each time Orthodox believers recite the
Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, reference is made to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Creed is recited at Holy Baptism and at each Divine Liturgy. How many people live
their lives with the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as a dominant guiding factor?
Today the Holy Orthodox Church also celebrates the Feast of the Three Hierarchs: Sts. Basil
the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom.
A serious scholar could devote a large portion of his or her life to studying the lives and works of these three saints.
Simplistics views about Christianity are dwarfed when one examines the homilies attributed
to St. John Chrysostom. When one thinks seriously of the theological contributions of
St. Gregory the Theologian and the works of St. Basil the Great, a person can only be humbled
by the lasting contributions.
Lives are touched in each century by the Holy Three Hierarchs. We do not find pride
associated with the Three Hierarchs in a manner comparable to the Pharisee in today's Gospel.
St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory the Theologian inspire
and summon the serious believer to a more meaningful life in the Church.
The Pharisee in the present Gospel looks down upon the tax collector who came to God in
prayer. "God be merciful to me a sinner" is a simple and effective prayer. It is a prayer
each person can use. Each person sins. Each person needs and benefits from the mercy of God.
We cannot rely on our own strength. Our Lord Jesus Christ asked:"Which of you by taking
thought can add one cubit to his stature?" (Mt.6:27)
We cannot take a single breath without the mercy and grace of God. We can move our arms or
legs without the power of God. We cannot take a single breath without the power of God.
Though at times we may feel strong, any strength we have comes from God. Any life we have
comes from God. St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory the Theologian and St. Basil the Great can
inspire us to think more about God. If we take time to examine their lives and the work of
their lives, they can make us realize how little we know and how much more there is to know.
The lasting effects of the Three Hierarch's work must be respected and considered.
Something is to be said about scholars willing to translate documents giving more details
about the lives and works of the Three Hierarchs. Something is to be said about the theological
classes taught, books written and the religious sites created that are inspired by and tributes
to the Three Hierarchs.
With Great Lent approaching, the condition of our souls becomes of paramount interest.
We are to take care of our souls throughout the year. We are to seek first the Kingdom of
God throughout the year (Mt.6:33).
The approach of Great Lent heightens the awareness of the condition of our souls. The
praying tax collector in the present Gospel exhibits an attitude proper in coming before God.
God exceeds our human ability to fully comprehend.
God exceeds our finite imagination and brain capability.
We can come to know the love of God if we are observant and attentive.
We can come to know the mercy of God and forgiveness of God if we are attentive and observant.
We can experience God in the Holy Mysteries of Confession and Communion, in Holy Unction,
in Holy Baptism and Chrismation. We can experience God in listening to the Holy Gospel.
We can experience God in contemplating our existence.
We experience God everyday. We may not always be conscious of experiencing God but St. Paul
said: "In him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28)
Let today be a day we exercise our minds and thinks seriously about God.
Today let us realize our dependency on God.With the humility of the tax collector
and with resolute faith, let us think more about God and live in ways pleasing to God.
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
January 30 / February 12, 2006
Fr. Rodney Torbic
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