April 2012


“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts of the Apostles 14:22).

“In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

Martyrdom of St. Peter the Aleut

The Lord Jesus prophesied this and by His example He proved it. The apostles also said this and by their examples they proved it. All the God-bearing Fathers of the Church, confessors and martyrs said this and they proved this by their example. Therefore, is there any need to doubt that, through a narrow door, one enters the kingdom of God? Should we hesitate for a moment that, “it is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God?” No, there is no basis nor justification for doubt. Can sheep live among the wolves and not be attacked by them? Can a candle burn in the midst of cross winds and not sway back and forth? Can a good fruit-bearing tree grow along side the road and not be disturbed by passersby? Thus, the Church of pious souls cannot but be persecuted and be persecuted by heathens, by idolaters, by heretics, by apostates, from passions and vices, from sin and transgressions, from the world and by demons. So it is that not one devout soul can remain without persecution, be it externally or internally, until it is separated from the body and the world. Someone might oppose this and prove it otherwise according to his calculation and according to his logic. But, in this case, neither the mind nor the logic of one man is of any avail. Thousands who were crucified speak otherwise, thousands burned alive cry out otherwise, thousands who were beheaded prove otherwise and thousands who were drowned witness otherwise. O my brethren, the Christian Faith is mighty not only when it agrees with sensory reasoning and sensory logic but when, and especially when, it contradicts sensory reasoning and sensory logic.

Those who want to live a godly-life will be persecuted. This the apostle prophesied at the beginning of the Christian era and twenty Christian centuries render a multi-voiced echo to confirm the truth of the prophecy.

O resurrected Lord, grant us light that we may be pious to the end and give us the strength to endure persecution to the end.

– St. Nicholai of Zhicha

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I have had a great time teaching the wonderful people here at St. Tikhon’s how to sing the Paschal Troparion in Swedish. Enjoy!

 

Kristus är uppstånden från de döda! Med döden övervann Han döden, och åt dem som är i gravarna gav Han liv!

English translation:

People rejoice, nations hear:
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!
Stars dance, mountains sing:
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!
Forests murmur, winds hum:
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!
Seas bow, animals roar:
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!
Bees swarm, and the birds sing:
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!

Angels stand, triple the song:
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!
Sky humble yourself, and elevate the earth:
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!
Bells chime, and tell to all:
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!
Glory to You God, everything is possible to You,
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

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Hat tip: Fr. Stephen Freeman

“The serpent found a second Eve in the Egyptian woman
and plotted the fall of Joseph through words of flattery.
But, leaving behind his garment, Joseph fled from sin.
He was naked but unashamed, like Adam before the fall.
Through his prayers, O Christ, have mercy on us.”

Doxastikon of the Aposticha from Holy Monday Bridegroom Matins

“The Lord gave us the Holy Spirit, and the man in whom the Holy Spirit lives feels that he has paradise within him.

Perhaps you will say, ‘Why is it I have not grace like that?’ It is because you have not surrendered yourself to the will of God but live in your own way. Look at the man who likes to have his own way. His soul is never at peace and he is always discontented: this is not right and that is not as it should be. But the man who is entirely given over to the will of God can pray with a pure mind, his soul loves the Lord, and he finds everything pleasant and agreeable.

Thus did the Most Holy Virgin submit herself to God: ‘Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word.’ And were we to say likewise—’Behold the servant of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word’—then the Lord’s words written in the Gospels by the Holy Spirit would live in our souls, and the whole world would be filled with the love of God, and how beautiful would life be on earth! And although the words of God have been heard the length and breadth of the universe for so many centuries, people do not understand and will not accept them. But the man who lives according to the will of God will be glorified in heaven and on earth.”

– St. Silouan the Athonite

“How are you to know if you are living according to the will of God?

Here is a sign: if you are distressed over anything it means that you have not fully surrendered to God’s will, although it may seem to you that you live according to his will. He who lives according to God’s will has no material cares. If he has need of something, he offers himself and the thing he wants to God; and if he does not receive it, he remains as unworried as if he had got what he wanted.”

– St. Silouan the Athonite