Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby mpempa » December 8th, 2009, 11:07 pm

Theophilus wrote:Get out of my sight ... Do not entice me, women and friends. What help can I receive from you, who are helplessly growing old and sinking into the grave?


From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pg. 88):

"Do not desert a friend in time of need, nor forsake him nor fail him, for friendship is the support of life. Let us then bear our burdens as the Apostle has taught (cf. Gal. 6:2): for he spoke to those whom the charity of the same one body had embraced together. If friends in prosperity help friends, why do they not also in times of adversity offer their support? Let us aid by giving counsel, let us offer our best endeavors, let us sympathize with them with all our heart."

St. Anthony the Great:

"I want you to know this, that Jesus Christ our Lord is Himself the true Mind of the Father. By Him all the fullness of every rational nature is made in the image of His image, and He Himself is the head of all creations, and of His body the Church. Therefore we are all members one of another, and the body of Christ, and the head cannot say to the feet, 'I have no need of you,' and if one member suffers, the whole body is moved and suffers with it."

St. Symeon the New Theologian:

"You should be ready each day to receive all kinds of afflictions, regarding them as your release from many sins; and you should thank God for them. Through them you may acquire a close and unimpeachable communion with God, in accordance with St. Paul's words: 'Afflictions produce patient endurance; patient endurance, strength of character; and strength of character, hope; and hope does not disappoint' (Rom. 5:3-5)."
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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby mpempa » December 8th, 2009, 11:15 pm

What help can a person receive from charitable hearts?


One day, the all-wise (John the Almsgiver, patriarch of Alexandria, 610-619) heard of a generous giver and so he sent for him privately and said jokingly, "How is it that you became so generous? Was it natural to you, or did you put constraint upon yourself?" Some to whom he put this same question stood shamefacedly before him and would not answer, whilst others would tell him their story.

One man whom the Saint questioned answered as follows: "As a fact, master, I neither give anything nor do any good; but the little I do give and do from that which comes to me through Christ and your prayers I came to do in this way. Formerly I was very hardhearted and unsympathetic and one day I lost money and was reduced to poverty. Then my reason began to say to me: "Truly, if you had been charitable, God would not have forsaken you." And thereupon I decided to give five coppers [pholleis] a day to the poor. But when I started giving them Satan immediately checked me by saying : "Those coppers would really have been enough to buy a bath-ticket or vegetables for your family." Then I felt at once as if I were taking the money out of my children's mouth and so I gave nothing."

"But I noticed I was being mastered by this vice, so said to my slave: "I want you to steal five coppers daily without my noticing it, and give them in charity." For I am a moneychanger, master."

"My slave, worthy fellow, began by stealing ten coppers, and occasionally even a shilling [keratin]. As he noticed that we were being blessed, he began to steal gold crowns, [trimisia] too, and give them away. One day I was expressing my astonishment at God's blessings to us, I said to him: "Those five coppers, boy, have greatly benefited us. So now I want you to give ten." At that the slave said to me with a smile: "Yes, be thankful for my thefts, since but for them we should not even have bread to eat today. However if there can be a just thief, I am he!" And then he told me that he had given shillings and even crowns. So it was through his faith, master, that I grew accustomed to giving with all my heart."

The holy Patriarch was much edified by this story and said: "Truly I have read many stories in the lives of the fathers, but I have never heard anything like this!"

Leontius, Life of John the Almsgiver, 38
Image Guide my heart, O Blessed Wisdom, and my tongue will also be guided.
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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby mpempa » December 8th, 2009, 11:40 pm

HOMILY on Noah

Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9).

To be righteous among the righteous is a great and praiseworthy deed, but how far greater and more praiseworthy a deed it is to be righteous among the unrighteous.

Noah lived among men who were filled with unrighteousness and evil; he lived among them for five hundred years and remained righteous before God: Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8). The Most-high Judge, who looks at all the works of mankind and evaluates them without prejudice and without error, valued the labors of Noah because, in the midst of a corrupt and perverse generation, he remained in the righteousness of God; and God rewarded him with His grace. Assuredly, Noah endured much misery and bitterness from his evil neighbors. Assuredly, he was unable to have a friend among them.

The greatest satisfaction for a sinner is to drag a righteous man down into his own mire and to share his sin with him. But Noah did not allow himself to be dragged down or misled. Noah favored God's friendship over that of unrighteous men. It was dearer to him to walk with God without men, than to walk with men without God.

Fear of God, the Creator and Judge, preserved him from the worldwide corruption; and he was not only righteous but also perfect in his generations. That is, he did not allow himself, even in the least, to be contaminated by the common evil, but rather he cleaved to God's righteousness. The allurement of sin and the ridicule of the sinners: everything merely served to separate him all the more from them. When the universal flood befell the human race, God did not abandon his faithful Noah to perish with the others. Instead, He saved him and glorified him, making him the progenitor of a new generation of men. Brethren, this shining example of Noah teaches that each one of us can please God even in the midst of sinners, if only we want to.

O Righteous and Long-suffering God, uphold us on the path of Thy righteousness. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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