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Quips, Quotes, Wisdom & Scriptures A place to share your quotes, scriptures, and other spiritual wisdom you would like to share.

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Old 02-16-2007, 11:22 AM
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"The first stage of grief resembles the return of the prodigal son. For this reason it fills the mourner with dejection and leads him to employ these very words, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before Thee, and am no more worthy to be called Thy son' (Luke 15:21). But the consummation of grief resembles the moment when the heavenly Father runs out to meet him and embraces him. And when the son finds himself accepted with such inexpressible compassion and on account of it is filled with great joy and boldness, he receives the Father's embrace and embraces Him in return. Then, entering into the Father's house, he shares together in the feast of divine
felicity.
Let us, then, in blessed poverty also fall down and weep before the Lord our God, so that we may wash away our former sins, make ourselves impervious to evil, and, receiving the blessings and solace of the Comforter, may glorify Him and the unoriginate Father and the Only-begotten Son, now and always and throughout the ages. Amen."

[St. Gregory Palamas.]

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Old 02-18-2007, 02:39 AM
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Cheesefare - Forgiveness Sunday

Today is the day we Orthodox designate as the day to remember and commemorate God's incredible love for us and our own unworthiness and sinfulness. As God forgives us, so we need to forgive others. So we have a special service at the end of today remembering our need for forgiveness. It is called Forgiveness Vespers. In this service, after many repentant prayers, we literally bow our heads to the floor before each and every person and ask their forgiveness. They do the same. Then we stand, embrace, and reply, "God forgives." This is very emotional. You can't come from this service without tears. Even people who are lifelong enemies are able to forgive each other and start a new relationship.

The way it works is, the priest starts it, prostrating himself on the ground before the entire congregation. Then we each go to him and individually ask forgiveness. Then the first person who has gone to him stands to his right and the next person comes up and asks the priest's forgiveness then asks the next person's forgiveness. Then that person stands to the right of the 2nd person, and so on until a huge circle is made going all the way around the Church.

As I am unable to get through this service anymore, this is a very mournful day for me. This service is so beautiful and so wrenching - it is impossible to attend and not be changed for the better. I do what I can to commemorate this day by asking the people in my life to forgive me. I can no longer do prostrations, but i bow as deeply as i can before each member of the family and ask forgiveness. Even on my Orthodox mail lists I will ask forgiveness.

Tomorrow the Great Fast begins with the celebration of the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete.

"The Great Canon of St Andrew is read each year as part of the ascetic labour of the Great Fast (Lent). Divided into four portions, these are read during the services of Great Compline on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings of the First Week ('Pure/Clean Week') of the Fast. The whole Canon is then read in its entirety on Thursday of the Fifth Week (actually read 'in anticipation' on Wednesday evening).

The Great Canon is one of the great works, if not the great work, of the Church's hymnography of repentance. It is steeped in biblical imagery, yet it is not simply a condensation of biblical themes. In the Canon, all the human events of scripture—creation, fall, exile, return, longing, redemption—all are made personal. They become my events: my creation, my fall, my redemption. Their story is my story, and I am made intensely aware of all its depth. The Canon begins:
'Where shall I begin to weep over the cursed deeds of my life?
What foundation shall I lay, O Christ, for this lamentation?'
The Canon thus brings each of us into the story of scripture; stirs us with moving imagery to realize the depths of our sin. We begin to see our exile, our distance from Christ; and from that distance, we begin to repent."

Great Lent is a period of intense repentance for the Orthodox. This period culminates with the even more repentant Holy Week, and then sadness is turned to incredible joy on Pascha!

On this Forgivenss Sunday, I ask each of you to forgive me for anything I have done in the past that has offended you or caused you to be more separated from God or your fellow man.

God Forgives.
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Old 02-18-2007, 03:13 AM
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Let us all hasten to the subjugation of the flesh by abstinence, as we approach the divine battlefield, the battlefield of blameless fasting. Let us pray the Lord, our Savior, in tears and prayers, turning away completely from sin, and crying, “We have sinned against Thee, O Christ, the King. Save us, therefore, as of old Thou didst save the people of Nineveh; and make us partakers of Thy heavenly kingdom, O compassionate One.”


If I were to imagine all my sins deserving all punishment, I would despair of myself, O Lord Savior; for by them have I disobeyed Thy noble commandment, wasting my life in extravagance. Wherefore, I beseech Thee to purify me with thy showers of forgiveness, and lighten me with fasting and supplication; for thou alone art compassionate; and reject me not, O All-Bountiful and of transcendent goodness.

Let us begin the season of fasting with rejoicing, giving ourselves to spiritual strife, purifying soul and body, fasting from passions, as we fast from foods, faring on the virtues of the Spirit, which, if we continue to long for, we shall all be worthy to behold the most solemn Passion of Christ, and the holy passover, rejoicing with spiritual joy.
(Stichera from the Vespers of Forgiveness)

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Old 02-18-2007, 05:47 AM
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Elizabeth, I do wish your body would allow you to participate as of old! What a wonderful way in which to ask for forgiveness and receive it and the healing it offers. We could all benefit from such a time. I am glad you can do some of it and I am convinced God looks into the heart more than the bones!
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Ellen in PA

"God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of love, power, and a sound mind."
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Old 02-21-2007, 01:04 AM
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"If you wish to see the blessings 'that God has prepared for those who love
Him' (I Cor. 2:9), then take up your abode in the desert of the renunciation
of your own will and flee the world. What world? The world of the lust of
the eyes, of your fallen self (cf. I John 2:16), the presumptuousness of
your own thoughts, the deceit of things visible."
Nikitas Stithatos
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Old 02-21-2007, 01:44 AM
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On What Does the Orthodox Church Base Her Beliefs?

We believe in accepting and obeying the whole Apostolic Tradition, both whatthe Apostles taught the Church in person and what they taught through their writings. Since it was the Spirit of Truth Who inspired the Apostles both when they were speaking and when they were writing, no conflict is found between what they wrote to the Church and what they taught Her in person. In as much as the Holy Spirit has not ceased to be present in the Church since Her creation by the Lord, we also follow what the self-same Spirit of Truth has taught us through those faithful and holy men among the disciples of the Apostles and the disciples of the disciples of the Apostles, on down to the present time. Because the Spirit of Truth has guided them as He guided the Apostles, it is not possible to find, nor is there anything at variance with any part of Apostolic Tradition in what they have taught. We do not believe in the so-called 'development of dogma'. The whole teaching of the God-inspired Apostles and their faithful successors we call Holy Tradition, as being the sacred commandment of the Lord given to the Church through His servants. If anything is preached contrary to the Holy and Apostolic Tradition, it is to be rejected as 'another Gospel'. "Brethren, be standing firm and holding fast the traditions which ye were taught, whether by word or by our epistle." [II Thessalonians, 2:15].
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Old 02-22-2007, 01:40 AM
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2/22/07

"If you wish to pray as your ought, you have need of God, Who gives prayer to him who prays. So call to Him in prayer, saying, 'Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come' (Mt. 6:9-10), that is, the Holy Spirit and Thine only-begotten Son. For thus did the Lord Himself teach us, saying, 'God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth' (Jn. 4:24)."
~~ St. Nilus of Sinai.
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Old 02-24-2007, 02:22 AM
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Struggling During the Fast

"A wise man who offers to God honor and worship is known by Him. So he is in no way troubled if he remains unknown to all men. The task of good judgment is to incite the part of the soul where anger lies to the waging of inner warfare. The task of wisdom is to urge the mind to constant attentive watchfulness. The task of righteousness is to direct the part, in which lies lust, towards virtue and towards God. Finally, the task of courage is to govern the five senses and not let our inner man, that is the spirit, or our outer man, that is the body, be defiled through them."

Abba Evagrius
"Reflections on the Eight Thoughts", Abba Evagrius, "Early Fathers From the Philokalia," translated from the Russian text, "Dobrotolubiye," by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer, eighth edition, (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 1981), pp. 113 - 114
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Old 02-25-2007, 02:04 AM
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What do the Orthodox Believe About God?

We believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as revealed to the Prophets and Apostles. The Father Himself is fully God, the Son Himself is fully God, and the Holy Spirit Himself is fully God, and the Three Persons together are one God, one Divinity. The Holy Trinity is one in nature, will, and love, and distinct in the Persons Who are of that Nature. The Father is the causeless Cause of the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Son is uniquely the Only-Begotten of the Father and the Holy Spirit uniquely proceeds from [ekporeuontai] the Father. The Holy Trinity is the Creator and Life-giver of all that has been created. We believe that the Only-Begotten Son of God, truly became incarnate and born of the Ever-Virgin Mary, becoming like unto us in all things except sin. Thus, Our Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully Man, being one Person in two complete natures without division or confusion. We believe that He truly was tempted and suffered all things yet without sin, so that He is able to help those that are tempted, and that most importantly of all He took upon Himself His Holy and Life-giving Passion, Death, and glorious Resurrection for the salvation of all mankind that will correctly believe in Him. It is through Him alone do we believe that one can be saved. Furthermore, we believe that He ascended into Heaven, is seated at the right of the Father, and shall come again to judge and recompense the living and the dead at the universal resurrection of mankind, and that His kingdom shall have no end.
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Old 02-25-2007, 04:04 PM
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Dark Days of Temptation

"The weather shifts from cloudy to clear and then back to rain; thus
it is with human nature. One must always expect clouds to hide the sun
sometimes. Even the saints have had their dark hours, days and weeks.
They say then that "God has left them" in order that they may know
truly how utterly wretched they are of themselves, without His
support. These times of darkness, when all seems meaningless,
ridiculous and vain, when one is beset by doubt and temptations, are
inevitable. But even these times can be harvested for good."

"The dark days can best be conquered by following the example of St.
Mary of Egypt. For forty-eight years she dwelt in the desert beyond
Jordan, and when temptations befell her and memories of her former
sinful life in Alexandria beckoned her to leave her voluntary sojourn
in the desert, she lay on the ground, cried to God for help and did
not get up until her heart was humbled. The first years were hard; she
sometimes had to lie this way for many days; but after seventeen years
came the time of rest."

"On such days stay quiet. Do not be persuaded to go out into social
life or entertainment. Do not pity yourself, seek comfort in nothing
but your cry to the Lord: "Haste thee, O God, to deliver me! Makes
haste to help me, O Lord (Psalm 70:1)! I am so fast in prison that I
cannot get forth (Psalm 88:8)," and other such appeals. You cannot
expect real help from any other source. For the sake of chance relief
do not throw away all your winnings. Pull the covers over your head;
now your patience and steadfastness are being tried. If you endure the
trial, thank God who gave you the strength. If you do not, rise up
promptly, pray for mercy and think: I got what I deserved! For the
fall itself was your punishment. You had relied too much on yourself,
and now you see what it led to. You have had an experience; do not
forget to give thanks."

Tito Colliander
"Way of the Ascetics," by Tito Colliander, San Francisco: Harper & Row
Publishers, 1982, pp. 84-85
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