Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee

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Open to me the gates of repentance, O Giver of Life,
For my spirit rises early to pray towards thy holy temple.
Bearing the temple of my body all defiled;
But in Thy compassion, purify me by the loving kindness of Thy mercy.

Lead me on the paths of salvation, O Mother of God,
For I have profaned my soul with shameful sins,
and have wasted my life in laziness.
But by your intercessions, deliver me from all impurity.

When I think of the many evil things I have done, wretch that I am,
I tremble at the fearful day of judgement.
But trusting in Thy living kindness, like David I cry to Thee:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy.

Originally posted on Christ is in our midst!:

Most holy Lady, Mother of God, alone most pure in soul and body, alone exceeding all perfection of purity . . . alone made in thy entirety the home of all the graces of the Most Holy Spirit, and hence exceeding beyond all compare even the angelic virtues in purity and sanctity of soul and body . . . my Lady most holy, all-pure, all-immaculate, all-stainless, all-undefiled, all-incorrupt, all inviolate spotless robe of Him Who clothes Himself with light as with a garment . . . flower unfading, purple woven by God, alone most immaculate.

~Ephraim the Syrian

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Orthodox worship


“Let us not forget that Unorthodox worship can pollute our being, leading to forgetfulness. It can cause one’s mind to drift quite far, rendering him unable to value the Traditional Orthodox melodies and style of Church Worship.[…] Orthodox worship is distinct in its constant reminder of the real presence of Christ and his Saints in our lives. We must be careful to ensure that the worship songs we use are Orthodox in their origin, lyrics, melodies and in their spirit. Communion and unity with Christ ought to be embedded within their meaning.”
HH Pope Tawadrous II
The 118th Patriarch of Alexandria

God closes doors no man can open and God opens doors no man can close

Good morning, said a woman as she walked up to the man sitting on ground.

The man slowly looked up.

This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new. She looked like she had never missed a meal in her life.
His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before.

Leave me alone, he growled…
To his amazement, the woman continued standing.
She was smiling, her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows.

Are you hungry? She asked.

No, he answered sarcastically. I’ve just come from dining with the president. Now go away.

The woman’s smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm.
What are you doing, lady? The man asked angrily. I said to leave me alone.
Just then a policeman came up. Is there any problem, Ma’am? He asked.
No problem here, officer, the woman answered.

I’m just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?
The officer scratched his head.

That’s old Jack. He’s been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?
See that cafeteria over there? she asked. I’m going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for a while.
Are you crazy, lady? the homeless man resisted. I don’t want to go in there! Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up. Let me go, officer. I didn’t do anything.
This is a good deal for you, Jack the officer answered. Don’t blow it.
Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner.

It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet
The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by his table. What’s going on here, Officer? He asked. What is all this, is this man in trouble?
This lady brought this man in here to be fed, the policeman answered.
Not in here! The manager replied angrily. Having a person like that here is bad for business.

Old Jack smiled a toothless grin. See, Lady. I told you so. Now if you’ll let me go. I didn’t want to come here in the first place.

The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled…Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?

Of course I am, the manager answered impatiently. They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms.
And do you make a goodly amount of money providing food at these weekly meetings?
What business is that of yours?
I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company.
The woman smiled again. I thought that might make a difference. She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a chuckle. Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?
No thanks, Ma’am, the officer replied. I’m on duty.

Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?

Yes, Ma’am. That would be very nice.

The cafeteria manager turned on his heel, I’ll get your coffee for you right away, Officer.

The officer watched him walk away. You certainly put him in his place, he said.
That was not my intent. Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this. She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest. She stared at him intently. Jack, do you remember me?

Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes. I think so¦ I mean you do look familiar.

I’m a little older perhaps, she said. Maybe I’ve even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry.
Ma’am? The officer said questioningly. He couldn’t believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.

I was just out of college, the woman began. I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn’t find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat.

Jack lit up with a smile. Now I remember, he said. I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy.

I know, the woman continued. Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble… Then, when I looked over and saw you put the price of my food in the cash register, I knew then that everything would be all right.

So you started your own business? Old Jack said.

I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business that, with the help of God, prospered. She opened her purse and pulled out a business card. When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr Lyons. He’s the personnel director of my company. I’ll go talk to him now and I’m certain he’ll find something for you to do around the office. She smiled. I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet… If you ever need anything, my door is always opened to you.

There were tears in the old man’s eyes. How can I ever thank you? He said.
Don’t thank me, the woman answered. To God goes the glory. Thank God… He led me to you.
Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways.
Thank you for all your help, Officer, she said.

On the contrary, Ms. Eddy, he answered. Thank you. I saw a miracle today, something that I will never forget. And¦ and thank you for the coffee!

Originally posted on Christ is in our midst!:

Monk’s Prayer Botsanos 2001

Therefore I appealed to the Lord and prayed to Him, and said to Him with all my heart: “O God of my fathers and Lord of mercy, Who hast made all things by Thy word, and by Thy wisdom hast fashioned man that he should have dominion over the creatures made by Thee, that he should rule the world in holiness and righteousness: Give me wisdom that sits by Thy throne, and cast me not away from among Thy children, for I am Thy servant and the son of Thy handmaid. Send her forth from the heavens, from Thy holy abode, and from the throne of Thy glory, that she may be with me, in understanding, and preserve me in her glory. For the thoughts of mortals are miserable, and their intentions likely to fail.”

hat tip: Holy Fathers on Facebook

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We must be continually upon our guard


‎’We must be continually upon our guard, for we are engaged in a perpetual war; unless we take care, the enemy will surprise us, when we are least aware of him.

A ship sometimes passes safe through hurricanes and tempests, yet, if the pilot, even in a calm, has not a great care of it, a single wave, raised by a sudden gust, may sink her.

It does not signify whether the enemy clambers in by the window, or whether all at once he shakes the foundation, if at last he destroys the house.

In this life we sail, as it were, in an unknown sea. We meet with rocks, shelves, and sands; sometimes we are becalmed, and at other times we find ourselves tossed and buffeted by a storm.

Thus we are never secure, never out of danger; and, if we fall asleep, are sure to perish.

We have a most intelligent and experienced pilot at the helm of our vessel even Jesus Christ himself, who will conduct us safe into the haven of salvation if, by our supineness, we cause not our own perdition.’

St. Syncletica