Thread: Daily Dose of Orthodoxy
December 16th 2004, 05:06 PM #46
Re: Daily Dose of Orthodoxy
The holy father, Ise of Tsilkani, (west of Mtskheta, the ancient capital
of Georgia) was a disciple of the holy father John (of Zedazeni, leader
of the 13 Syriac Fathers who evangelized the Georgian countryside in the
5th century). We are ignorant of his parents and of his place of
origin, except that we know that he accompanied John and that the
Catholicos of K`art`li ordained him by force as priest for the church of
the holy Mother of God in the land of Muxran at the village of Tsilkani.
By his teaching he converted many unbelievers, and he spread his
learning and preaching among his flock. In that village they had been
reduced to despair by lack of water. Therefore, because the K`san River
was far away and there were a forest and a high mountain between them,
one day he picked up his rod, entered the church, and interceded before
the image of Mother of God. Then he went to the bank of the K`san and
commanded the water, "By the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and of Mary
the Mother of God, I command you, O river; come out and follow me, and
follow the point of my rod." It followed him over an untrodden and
pathless areas, as he led it like a servant. They came as far as
Tsilkani, and up to today that water flows as a river. After that he
practiced many austerities aided by the Lord. He served with joy and
accomplished the duty of the priesthood. Then he entrusted his worthy
and holy soul to God, and his most honorable body was brought to that
same monastery of Tsilkani, where it is visible even now as the hope and
refuge of the Georgians.
from the K`art`lis C`xovreba - the History/Life of Georgia
December 16th 2004, 05:47 PM #47
Christmas Sermon by John Chrysostom
"I behold a new and wondrous mystery!My ears resound to the shepherd's song, piping no soft melody, but loudly chanting a heavenly hymn!All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead herein... on earth and man in heaven. He who is above now, for our salvation, dwells here below; and we, who were lowly, are exalted by divine mercy!
The angels sing!
The archangels blend their voices in harmony!
The cherubim resound their joyful praise!
The Seraphim exalt His glory!
Today Bethlehem resembles heaven, hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices and, in place of the sun, witnessing the rising of the Sun of Justice!
Ask not how this is accomplished, for where God wills, the order of nature is overturned. For He willed He had the powers He descended. He saved. All things move in obedience to God.
Today He Who Is, is born ! And He Who Is becomes what He was not! For when He was God, He became man-while not relinquishing the Godhead that is His...
And so the kings have come, and they have seen the heavenly King that has come upon the earth, not bringing with Him angels, nor archangels, nor thrones, nor dominions, nor powers, nor principalities, but, treading a new and solitary path, He has come forth from a spotless womb.
Yet He has not forsaken His angels, nor left them deprived of His care, nor because of His incarnation has He ceased being God. And behold kings have come, that they might serve the Leader of the Hosts of Heaven; Women, that they might adore Him Who was born of a woman so that He might change the pains of childbirth into joy; Virgins, to the Son of the Virgin...
Infants, that they may adore Him who became a little child, so that out of the mouths of infants He might perfect praise; Children, to the Child who raised up martyrs through the rage of Herod; Men, to Him who became man that He might heal the miseries of His servants;
Shepherds, to the Good Shepherd who was laid down His life for His sheep;And that I may embrace them all together, all sinners have come, that they may look upon the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! Since, therefore, all rejoice, I too desire to rejoice! I too wish to share the choral dance, to celebrate the festival! But I take my part, not plucking the harp nor with the music of the pipes nor holding a torch, but holding in my arms the cradle of Christ!
Priests, to Him who has become a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek;
Servants, to Him who took upon Himself the form of a servant, that He might bless our stewardship with the reward of freedom (Philippians 2:7);
Fishermen, to the Fisher of humanity;
Publicans, to Him who from among them named a chosen evangelist;
Sinful women, to Him who exposed His feet to the tears of the repentant woman;
For this is all my hope!And bearing it I come, and having from its power received the gift of speech, I too, with the angels and shepherds, sing:
This is my life!
This is my salvation!
This is my pipe, my harp!
"Glory to God in the Highest! and on earth peace to men of good will! ""Only friendliness produces friendship. And we must look far deeper into the soul of man for the thing that produces friendliness." G. K. Chesterton
December 16th 2004, 09:33 PM #48
Re: Daily Dose of Orthodoxy
That's beautiful. "Golden mouthed" indeed!* I apologize for any scandal I cause to those who doing a forum search read my old posts written before and during my journey to the Catholic Faith. If you read anything heretical, impious, or just plain wrong, please forgive my ignorance. I submit everything to the Magisterium of the Holy Catholic Church. Praised be Jesus Christ forever and ever! Amen. Also, sorry for the times I was a jerk. Lot's of those!
December 17th 2004, 05:54 PM #49
Re: Daily Dose of Orthodoxy
Life up the eyes of your mind to the light of the Gospel of Transfiguration, that you yourself might be transfigured as your spiritual intellect is made new. If this happens, you will draw down divine rays from on high and will be conformed to the image of the glory of the Lord, whose face shone on the mountain as radiant as the sun.
—St Gregory Palamas"Only friendliness produces friendship. And we must look far deeper into the soul of man for the thing that produces friendliness." G. K. Chesterton
December 17th 2004, 07:37 PM #50
Re: Daily Dose of Orthodoxy
It took me an entire day to get why you said Golden mouthed, furay.O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the Ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides. - St Athanasius of Alexandria
Block out pornography: http://www1.k9webprotection.com/
Favorite Orthodox apologetics: http://orthodoxinfo.com
Another Orthodox apologetics site: http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/ - Not a supporter of all his views however.
Orthodox Church history lectures: http://orthodoxchurchhistory.com/
December 20th 2004, 08:11 PM #51
Re: Daily Dose of Orthodoxy
Amma Syncletica said: When you have to fast, do not pretend illness.
For those who do not fast often fall into real sicknesses. If you have
begun to act well, do not turn back through constraint of the enemy, for
through your endurance, the enemy is destroyed. Those who put out to
sea at first sail with a favorable wind; then the sails spread, but
later the winds become adverse. Then the ship is tossed by the waves
and is no longer controlled by the rudder. But when in a little while
there is calm, and the tempest dies down, then the ship sails on again.
So it is with us, when we are driven by the spirits who are against us,
we hold to the Cross as our sail, and so we can set a safe course.
December 20th 2004, 08:40 PM #52
Re: Daily Dose of Orthodoxy
The Martyrdom of St. Ignatius of Antioch
commemorated 20 December
When Trajan succeeded to the empire of the Romans, (AD 98)
Ignatius, who was the disciple of John the apostle, and a man in all
respects of an apostolic character, governed the Church of the
Antiochians with great care, having with difficulty escaped the former
storms of the many persecutions under Domitian. Ignatius, like a good
pilot, by the helm of prayer and fasting, by the earnestness of his
teaching, and by his constant spiritual labor, resisted the flood of
persecution that rolled against him, fearing only that he might lose
some of those who were deficient in courage.
Wherefore he rejoiced over the peaceful state of the Church, when
the persecution ceased for a little time, but was grieved as to himself,
that he had not yet attained to a true love for Christ, nor reached the
perfect rank of a disciple. For he inwardly reflected, that the
confession which is made by martyrdom, would bring him into a yet more
intimate relation to the Lord. Wherefore, continuing a few years longer
with the Church, and, like a divine lamp, enlightening every one's
understanding by his expositions of the Holy Scriptures, he at length
attained the object of his desire.
For Trajan, in the ninth year of his reign, being lifted up with
pride after the victory he had gained over the Scythians and Dacians,
and many other nations, and thinking that the religious body of the
Christians were the last group he needed to conquer in order to complete
the subjugation of all things to himself, and thereupon threatening them
with persecution unless they should agree to worship demons, as did all
other nations, thus compelled all who were living godly lives either to
sacrifice to idols or die. Wherefore the noble soldier of Christ,
Ignatius, being in fear for the Church of the Antiochians, was, in
accordance with his own desire, brought before Trajan, who was at that
time staying at Antioch. And when he was set before the Emperor Trajan,
Trajan said unto him, "Who are you, who settest thyself to transgress
our commands, and persuadest others to do the same, so that they should
miserably perish?" Ignatius replied, "No one ought to call Theophorus
(God-bearing) wicked; for all evil spirits have departed from the
servants of God. But if, because I am an enemy to these evil spirits,
you call me wicked in respect to them, then I quite agree with you; for
inasmuch as I have Christ the King of heaven within me, I destroy all
the devices of these evil spirits."
Trajan answered, "And who is Theophorus?" Ignatius replied, "He who
has Christ within his breast." Trajan said, "Do we not then seem to you
to have the gods in our hearts, whose assistance we enjoy in fighting
against our enemies?" Ignatius answered, "Thou art in error when thou
callest the demons of the nations gods. For there is but one God, who
made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that are in them; and one
Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, whose kingdom may I enjoy."
Trajan said, "Do you mean Him who was crucified under Pontius Pilate?"
Ignatius replied, "I mean Him who crucified my sin, and who has
condemned and cast down all the deceit and malice of the devil under the
feet of those who carry Him in their heart." Trajan said, "Dost thou
then carry within thee Him that was crucified?" Ignatius replied, "Truly
so; for it is written, 'I will dwell in them, and walk in them.'"
Then Trajan pronounced sentence as follows: "We command that
Ignatius, who affirms that he carries about within him the One that was
crucified, be bound by soldiers, and carried to the great city Rome,
there to be devoured by the beasts, for the gratification of all the
people there." When the holy martyr heard this sentence, he cried out
with joy, "I thank thee, O Lord, that Thou hast chosen to honor me with
a perfect love towards Thee, and hast made me to be bound with iron
chains, like Thy Apostle Paul."
Having spoken thus, he then, with delight, clasped the chains about
him; and when he had first prayed for the Church, and commended it with
tears to the Lord, he was hurried away by the savage cruelty of the
soldiers, like a distinguished ram who was the leader of a goodly flock,
that he might be carried to Rome, there to furnish food to the
Wherefore, with great eagerness and joy, through his desire to
suffer for Christ, he came down from Antioch to Seleucia, from which
place he set sail. And after a great deal of suffering he came to
Smyrna, where he disembarked with great joy, and hastened to see the
holy Polycarp, who was formerly his fellow-disciple, and now bishop of
Smyrna. For they had both, in old times, been disciples of St. John the
Being then brought to Polycarp, and having communicated to him some
spiritual gifts, and glorying in his bonds, he entreated of him to labor
along with him for the fulfillment of his desire; earnestly indeed
asking this of the whole Church, but above all, the holy Polycarp, that,
by means of the wild beasts, he soon disappearing from this world, might
be manifested before the face of Christ.
Many of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons of the various cities and
Churches of Asia also came to Smyrna to welcome the holy man Ignatius,
in the hope that they might receive from him some spiritual gift of
counsel and wisdom. And these things he thus spoke to them, sending
letters of thanksgiving, prayer, and exhortation to the Churches, to be
delivered by their Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.
Having therefore set sail from Smyrna he next landed in Troas.
Christophorus, the ship's captain, was pressed by the soldiers to hasten
the ship to the public performances in the mighty city of Rome, that,
being given up to the wild beasts in the sight of the Roman people,
Ignatius might attain to his crown for which he strove.
Then, going on from that place to Neapolis, he went on foot by
Philippi through Macedonia, and on to that part of Epirus which is near
Epidamnus; and finding a ship in one of the seaports, he sailed over the
Adriatic Sea, and entering from it on the Tyrrhene, he passed by the
various islands and cities, until, when Puteoli came in sight. Ignatius
was eager there to disembark, having a desire to tread in the footsteps
of the Apostle Paul in that place.
But a violent wind arising did not allow him to do so, the ship
being driven rapidly forwards; and, simply expressing his delight over
the love of the brethren in that place, he sailed by. Wherefore,
continuing to enjoy fair winds, we were reluctantly hurried on in one
day and a night, mourning as we did over the coming departure from us of
this righteous man. But to him this happened just as he wished, since he
was in haste as soon as possible to leave this world, that he might
attain to the Lord whom he loved.
Sailing then into the Roman harbor, with the unhallowed sports
being just about to close, the soldiers began to be annoyed at our
slowness, but the bishop Ignatius rejoiced and yielded to their urgency.
The soldiers pushed forth therefore from the place which is called
Portus; and, because of the fame of the holy martyr being already spread
abroad we met the brethren of Rome full of fear and joy - rejoicing
indeed because they were thought worthy to meet with the Bishop
Ignatius, but struck with fear because so eminent a man was being led to
death. Now he enjoined some to keep silence, who, in their fervent zeal,
were saying that they would appease the people, so that they should not
demand the destruction of this just one.
He being immediately aware of this through the Spirit, and having
greeted them all, and begged of them to show a true affection towards
him, and having persuaded them not to envy him hastening to the Lord, he
then, with all the brethren kneeling beside him, entreated the Son of
God on behalf of the Churches, that a stop might be put to the
persecution, and that mutual love might continue among the brethren. He
was then led with all haste into the amphitheater [Roman Colosseum].
Then, being immediately thrown in, according to the command of Caesar
given some time ago, the public spectacles being just about to close, he
was thus cast to the wild beasts, that so by them the desire of the holy
martyr Ignatius should be fulfilled, according to that which is written,
"The desire of the righteous is acceptable [to God]." His wish was to be
totally consumed by the lions, so that he might get any of the brethren
in trouble with the authorities as they tried to gather his remains. In
the end, only the harder portions of his holy remains were left, which
were gathered together and sent to Antioch. There they were wrapped in
linen, as an rich treasure left to the holy Church by the grace which
was in the martyr.
Now these things took place on the thirteenth day before the
Kalends of January, that is, on the twentieth of December. Having
ourselves been eye-witnesses of these things, and having spent the whole
night in tears within the house, and having entreated the Lord with
bended knees and much prayer, that He would give us weak men full
assurance respecting the things which were done, it came to pass, on our
falling into a brief slumber, that some of us saw the blessed Ignatius
suddenly standing by us and embracing us, while others beheld him again
praying for us, and others still saw him dropping with sweat, as if he
had just come from his great labor, and standing by the Lord. When,
therefore, we had with great joy witnessed these things, and had
compared our several visions together, we sang praise to God, the giver
of all good things, and expressed our sense of the happiness of the holy
martyr; and now we have made known to you both the day and the time when
these things happened, that, assembling ourselves together according to
the time of his martyrdom [ie: on the anniversary of his martyrdom], we
may have fellowship with that champion and noble martyr of Christ, who
trod under foot the devil, and perfected the course which, out of love
for Christ, he had desired, in Christ Jesus our Lord; by whom, and with
whom, be glory and power to the Father, with the Holy Spirit, for
Troparion (in Tone 4)
O Holy Hieromartyr Ignatius, you lent yourself to the Apostles'
way of life and succeeded them on their throne. Inspired by
God, you found the way to contemplation through practice and
prayer; wherefore you became a perfect teacher of truth,
fighting for the faith unto the shedding of your blood. Intercede
with Christ God that He may save our souls.
December 23rd 2004, 04:46 PM #53
Re: Daily Dose of Orthodoxy
This Christmas night, peace was bestowed upon the whole world; so let no one threaten. This is the night of the Most Gentle One; let no one be cruel. This is the night of the Most Humble One; let no one be proud. Now is the day of joy; let us not revenge. Now is the day of goodwill; let us not be mean. In this day of peace let us not be conquered by anger. Today the Beautiful One impoverished Himself for our sake; so you rich ones, invite the poor to your table. Today we received a gift for which we did not ask; so let us give alms to those who implore us and beg. This present day's fast opens the heavenly door to our prayers. Let us open our door to those who ask our forgiveness. Now the Divine Being took upon Himself the seal of humanity, in order for humanity to be decorated by the seal of Divinity.
St. Isaac the Syrian
"Only friendliness produces friendship. And we must look far deeper into the soul of man for the thing that produces friendliness." G. K. Chesterton
December 24th 2004, 12:35 AM #54
Re: Daily Dose of Orthodoxy
Dost thou fast? Give me proof of it by thy works! Is it said by what kind of works? If thou seest a poor man, take pity on him! If thou seest an enemy, be reconciled to him! If thou seest a friend gaining honour, envy him not. If thou seest a beautiful woman, pass her by! For let not the mouth only fast, but also the eye, and the ear, and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our bodies. Let the hands fast, by being pure from pillaging and avarice. Let the feet fast, by ceasing from running to the hateful theatres and along the pathways of sin. Let the eyes fast, being taught never to fix themselves rudely upon handsome countenances, or to busy themselves with strange beauties. For looking is the food of the eyes, but if this be such as is unlawful or forbidden, it mars the fast; and upsets the whole safety of the soul; but if it be lawful and safe, it adorns fasting. For it would be among things the most absurd to abstain from lawful food because of the fast, but with the eyes to touch even what is forbidden. Dost thou not eat flest? Feed not upon lasciviousness by means of the eyes. Let the ear fast also. The fasting of the ear consists in refusing to receive evil speaking and calumnies. Let the mouth, too, fast from disgraceful speeches and railing.
St. John Chrysostom
December 27th 2004, 11:53 PM #55
Re: Daily Dose of Orthodoxy
The Pearl-Seven Hymns on the Faith
St. Ephraim the Syrian
- Hymn I.
I put it, my brethren, upon the palm of my hand, that I might examine it: I went to look at it on one side, and it proved faces on all sides. I found out that the Son was incomprehensible, since He is wholly Light.
In its brightness I beheld the Bright One Who cannot be clouded, and in its pureness a great mystery, even the Body of our Lord which is well-refined: in its undividedness I saw the Truth which is undivided.
It was so that I saw there its pure conception,-the Church, and the Son within her. The cloud was the likeness of her that bare Him, and her type the heaven, since there shone forth from her His gracious Shining.
I saw therein His trophies, and His victories, and His crowns. I saw His helpful and overflowing graces, and His hidden things with His revealed things.
2. It was greater to me than the ark, for I was astonied thereat: I saw therein folds without shadow to them because it was a daughter of light, types vocal without tongues, utterances of mysteries without lips, a silent harp that without voice gave out melodies.
The trumpet falters and the thunder mutters; be not thou daring then; leave things hidden, take things revealed. Thou hast seen in the clear sky a second shower; the clefts of thine ears, as from the clouds, they are filled with interpretations.
And as that manna which alone filled the people, in the place of pleasant meats, with its pleasantnesses, so does this pearl fill me in the place of books, and the reading thereof, and the explanations thereof.
And when I asked if there were yet other mysteries, it had no mouth for me that I might hear from, neither any ears wherewith it might hear me. O thou thing without senses, whence I have gained new senses!
3. It answered me and said, "The daughter of the sea am I, the illimitable sea! And from that sea whence I came up it is that there is a mighty treasury of mysteries in my bosom! Search thou out the sea, but search not out the Lord of the sea!
"I have seen the divers who came down after me, when astonied, so that from the midst of the sea they returned to the dry ground; for a few moments they sustained it not. Who would linger and be searching on into the depths of the Godhead?
"The waves of the Son are full of blessings, and with mischiefs too. Have ye not seen, then, the waves of the sea, which if a ship should struggle with them would break her to pieces, and if she yield herself to them, and rebel not against them, then she is preserved? In the sea all the Egyptians were choked, though they scrutinised it not, and, without prying, the Hebrews too were overcome upon the dry land, and how shall ye be kept alive? And the men of Sodom were licked up by the fire, and how shall ye prevail?
"At these uproars the fish in the sea were moved,1 and Leviathan also. Have ye then a heart of stone that ye read these things and run into these errors? O great fear that justice also should be so long silent!"2
4. "Searching is mingled with thanksgiving, and whether of the two will prevail? The incense of praise riseth along with the fume of disputation from the tongue, and unto which shall we hearken? Prayer and prying [come] from one mouth,3 and which shall we listen to?
"For three days was Jonah a neighbour [of mine] in the sea: the living things that were in the sea were aftrighted, [saying,] "Who shall flee from God? Jonah fled, and ye are obstinate at your scrutiny of Him!"
- Hymn I.
December 29th 2004, 03:39 AM #56
Re: Daily Dose of Orthodoxy* I apologize for any scandal I cause to those who doing a forum search read my old posts written before and during my journey to the Catholic Faith. If you read anything heretical, impious, or just plain wrong, please forgive my ignorance. I submit everything to the Magisterium of the Holy Catholic Church. Praised be Jesus Christ forever and ever! Amen. Also, sorry for the times I was a jerk. Lot's of those!
January 6th 2005, 01:11 PM #57
Discourse on the Day of the Baptism of Christ
St. John Chrysostom
We shall now say something about the present feast. Many celebrate the feastdays and know their designations, but the cause for which they were established they know not. Thus concerning this, that the present feast is called Theophany -- everyone knows; but what this is -- Theophany, and whether it be one thing or another, they know not. And this is shameful -- every year to celebrate the feastday and not know its reason. First of all therefore, it is necessary to say that there is not one Theophany, but two: the one actual, which already has occurred, and the second in future, which will happen with glory at the end of the world. About this one and about the other you will hear today from Paul, who in conversing with Titus, speaks thus about the present: "The grace of God hath revealed itself, having saved all mankind, decreeing, that we reject iniquity and worldly desires, and dwell in the present age in prudence and in righteousness and piety" -- and about the future: "awaiting the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ" (Tit 2:11-13). And a prophet speaks thus about this latter: "the sun shalt turn to darkness, and the moon to blood at first, then shalt come the great and illuminating Day of the Lord" (Joel 2:31). Why is not that day, on which the Lord was born, considered Theophany -- but rather this day on which He was baptised? This present day it is, on which He was baptised and sanctified the nature of water. Because on this day all, having obtained the waters, do carry it home and keep it all year, since today the waters are sanctified; and an obvious phenomenon occurs: these waters in their essence do not spoil with the passage of time, but obtained today, for one whole year and often for two or three years, they remain unharmed and fresh, and afterwards for a long time do not stop being water, just as that obtained from the fountains.
Why then is this day called Theophany? Because Christ made Himself known to all -- not then when He was born -- but then when He was baptised. Until this time He was not known to the people. And that the people did not know Him, Who He was, listen about this to John the Baptist, who says: "Amidst you standeth, Him Whom ye know not of" (Jn.1:26). And is it surprising that others did not know Him, when even the Baptist did not know Him until that day? "And I -- said he -- knew Him not: but He that did send me to baptise with water, about This One did tell unto me: over Him that shalt see the Spirit descending and abiding upon Him, This One it is Who baptiseth in the Holy Spirit" (Jn. 1:33). Thus from this it is evident, that -- there are two Theophanies, and why Christ comes at baptism and on whichever baptism He comes, about this it is necessary to say: it is therefore necessary to know both the one and equally the other. And first it is necessary to speak your love about the latter, so that we might learn about the former. There was a Jewish baptism, which cleansed from bodily impurities, but not to remove sins. Thus, whoever committed adultery, or decided on thievery, or who did some other kind of misdeed, it did not free him from guilt. But whoever touched the bones of the dead, whoever tasted food forbidden by the law, whoever approached from contamination, whoever consorted with lepers -- that one washed, and until evening was impure, and then cleansed. "Let one wash his body in pure water -- it says in the Scriptures, -- and he will be unclean until evening, and then he will be clean" (Lev 15:5, 22:4). This was not truly of sins or impurities, but since the Jews lacked perfection, then God, accomplishing it by means of this greater piety, prepared them by their beginnings for a precise observance of important things.
Thus, Jewish cleansings did not free from sins, but only from bodily impurities. Not so with ours: it is far more sublime and it manifests a great grace, whereby it sets free from sin, it cleanses the spirit and bestows the gifts of the Spirit. And the baptism of John was far more sublime than the Jewish, but less so than ours: it was like a bridge between both baptisms, leading across itself from the first to the last. Wherefore John did not give guidance for observance of bodily purifications, but together with them he exhorted and advised to be converted from vice to good deeds and to trust in the hope of salvation and the accomplishing of good deeds, rather than in different washings and purifications by water. John did not say: wash your clothes, wash your body, and ye will be pure, but what? -- "bear ye fruits worthy of repentance" (Mt 3:8). Since it was more than of the Jews, but less than ours: the baptism of John did not impart the Holy Spirit and it did not grant forgiveness by grace: it gave the commandment to repent, but it was powerless to absolve sins. Wherefore John did also say: "I baptise you with water...That One however will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Mt 3:11). Obviously, he did not baptise with the Spirit. But what does this mean: "with the Holy Spirit and with fire?" Call to mind that day, on which for the Apostles "there appeared disparate tongues like fire, and sat over each one of them" (Acts 2:3). And that the baptism of John did not impart the Spirit and remission of sins is evident from the following: Paul "found certain disciples, and said to them: received ye the Holy Spirit since ye have believed? They said to him: but furthermore whether it be of the Holy Spirit, we shall hear. He said to them: into what were ye baptised? They answered: into the baptism of John. Paul then said: John indeed baptised with the baptism of repentance," -- repentance, but not remission of sins; for whom did he baptise? "Having proclaimed to the people, that they should believe in the One coming after him, namely, Christ Jesus. Having heard this, they were baptised in the Name of the Lord Jesus: and Paul laying his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them" (Acts 19:1-6). Do you see, how incomplete was the baptism of John? If the one were not incomplete, would then Paul have baptised them again, and placed his hands on them; having performed also the second, he shew the superiority of the apostolic Baptism and that the baptism of John was far less than his. Thus, from this we recognise the difference of the baptisms.
Now it is necessary to say, for whom was Christ baptised and by which baptism? Neither the former the Jewish, nor the last -- ours. Whence hath He need for remission of sins, how is this possible for Him, Who hath not any sins? "Of sin, -- it says in the Scriptures, -- worked He not, nor was there deceit found in His mouth" (1 Pet 2:22); and further, "who of you convicteth Me of Sin?" (Jn 8:46). And His flesh was privy to the Holy Spirit; how might this be possible, when it in the beginning was fashioned by the Holy Spirit? And so, if His flesh was privy to the Holy Spirit, and He was not subject to sins, then for whom was He baptised? But first of all it is necessary for us to recognise, by which baptism He was baptised, and then it will be clear for us. By which baptism indeed was He baptised? -- Not the Jewish, nor ours, nor John's. For whom, since thou from thine own aspect of baptism dost perceive, that He was baptised not by reason of sin and not having need of the gift of the Spirit; therefore, as we have demonstrated, this baptism was alien to the one and to the other. Hence it is evident, that He came to Jordan not for the forgiveness of sins and not for receiving the gifts of the Spirit. But so that some from those present then should not think, that He came for repentance like others, listen to how John precluded this. What he then spoke to the others then was: "Bear ye fruits worthy of repentance"; but listen what he said to Him: "I have need to be baptised of Thee, and Thou art come to me?" (Mt 3:8, 14). With these words he demonstrated, that Christ came to him not through that need with which people came, and that He was so far from the need to be baptised for this reason -- so much more sublime and perfectly purer than Baptism itself. For whom was He baptised, if this was done not for repentance, nor for the remission of sins, nor for receiving the gifts of the Spirit? Through the other two reasons, of which about the one the disciple speaks, and about the other He Himself spoke to John. Which reason of this baptism did John declare? Namely, that Christ should become known to the people, as Paul also mentions: "John therefore baptised with the baptism of repentance, so that through him they should believe on Him that cometh" (Acts 19:4); this was the consequence of the baptism. If John had gone to the home of each and, standing at the door, had spoken out for Christ and said: "He is the Son of God," such a testimony would have been suspicious, and this deed would have been extremely perplexing. So too, if he in advocating Christ had gone into the synagogues and witnessed to Him, this testimony of his might be suspiciously fabricated. But when all the people thronged out from all the cities to Jordan and remained on the banks of the river, and when He Himself came to be baptised and received the testimony of the Father by a voice from above and by the coming-upon of the Spirit in the form of a dove, then the testimony of John about Him was made beyond all questioning. And since he said: "and I knew Him not" (Jn 1:31), his testimony put forth is trustworthy. They were kindred after the flesh between themselves "wherefore Elizabeth, thy kinswoman, hath also conceived a son" -- said the Angel to Mary about the mother of John (Lk. 1: 36); if however the mothers were relatives, then obviously so also were the children. Thus, since they were kinsmen -- in order that it should not seem that John would testify concerning Christ because of kinship, the grace of the Spirit organised it such, that John spent all his early years in the wilderness, so that it should not seem that John had declared his testimony out of friendship or some similar reason. But John, as he was instructed of God, thus also announced about Him, wherein also he did say: "and I knew Him not." From whence didst thou find out? "He having sent me that sayeth to baptise with water, That One did tell me" What did He tell thee? "Over Him thou shalt see the Spirit descending, like to a dove, and abiding over Him, That One is baptised by the Holy Spirit" (Jn 1:32-33). Dost thou see, that the Holy Spirit did not descend as in a first time then coming down upon Him, but in order to point out that preached by His inspiration -- as though by a finger, it pointed Him out to all. For this reason He came to baptism.
And there is a second reason, about which He Himself spoke -- what exactly is it? When John said: "I have need to be baptised of Thee, and Thou art come to me?" -- He answered thus: "stay now, for thus it becometh us to fulfill every righteousness" (Mt 3:14-15). Dost thou see the meekness of the servant? Dost thou see the humility of the Master? What does He mean: "to fulfill every righteousness?" By righteousness is meant the fulfillment of all the commandments, as is said: "both were righteous, walking faultlessly in the commandments of the Lord" (Lk 1:6). Since fulfilling this righteousness was necessary for all people -- but no one of them kept it or fulfilled it -- Christ came then and fulfilled this righteousness.
And what righteousness is there, someone will say, in being baptised? Obedience for a prophet was righteous. As Christ was circumcised, offered sacrifice, kept the sabbath and observed the Jewish feasts, so also He added this remaining thing, that He was obedient to having been baptised by a prophet. It was the will of God then, that all should be baptised -- about which listen, as John speaks: "He having sent me to baptise with water" (Jn 1:33); so also Christ: "the publicans and the people do justify God, having been baptised with the baptism of John; the pharisees and the lawyers reject the counsel of God concerning themselves, not having been baptised by him" (Lk 7:29-30). Thus, if obedience to God constitutes righteousness, and God sent John to baptise the nation, then Christ has also fulfilled this along with all the other commandments.
Consider, that the commandments of the law is the main point of the two denarii: this -- debt, which our race has needed to pay; but we did not pay it, and we, falling under such an accusation, are embraced by death. Christ came, and finding us afflicted by it -- He paid the debt, fulfilled the necessary and seized from it those, who were not able to pay. Wherefore He does not say: "it is necessary for us to do this or that," but rather "to fulfill every righteousness." "It is for Me, being the Master, -- says He, -- proper to make payment for the needy." Such was the reason for His baptism -- wherefore they should see, that He had fulfilled all the law -- both this reason and also that, about which was spoken of before. Wherefore also the Spirit did descend as a dove: because where there is reconciliation with God -- there also is the dove. So also in the ark of Noah the dove did bring the branch of olive -- a sign of God's love of mankind and of the cessation of the flood. And now in the form of a dove, and not in a body -- this particularly deserves to be noted -- the Spirit descended, announcing the universal mercy of God and showing with it, that the spiritual man needs to be gentle, simple and innocent, as Christ also says: "Except ye be converted and become as children, ye shalt not enter into the Heavenly Kingdom" (Mt 18:3). But that ark, after the cessation of the flood, remained upon the earth; this ark, after the cessation of wrath, is taken to heaven, and now this Immaculate and Imperishable Body is situated at the right hand of the Father.
Having made mention about the Body of the Lord, I shall also say a little about this, and then the conclusion of the talk. Many now will approach the Holy Table on the occasion of the feast. But some approach not with trembling, but shoving, hitting others, blazing with anger, shouting, cursing, roughing it up with their fellows with great confusion. What, tell me, art thou troubled by, my fellow? What disturbeth thee? Do urgent affairs, for certain, summon thee? At this hour art thou particularly aware, that these affairs of thine that thou particularly rememberest, that thou art situated upon the earth, and dost thou think to mix about with people? But is it not with a soul of stone naturally to think, that in such a time thou stand upon the earth, and not exult with the Angels with whom to raise up victorious song to God? For this Christ also did describe us with eagles, saying: "where the corpse is, there are the eagles gathered" (Mt 24:28) -- so that we might have risen to heaven and soared to the heights, having ascended on the wings of the spirit; but we, like snakes, crawl upon the earth and eat dirt. Having been invited to supper, thou, although satiated before others, would not dare to leave before others while others are still reclining. But here, when the sacred doings are going on, thou at the very middle would pass by everything and leave? Is it for a worthy excuse? What excuse might it be? Judas, having communed that last evening on that final night, left hastily then as all the others were still reclining.
Here these also are in imitation of him, who leave before the final blessing! If he had not gone, then he would not have made the betrayal; if he did not leave his co-disciples, then he would not have perished; if he had not removed himself from the flock, then the wolf would not have seized and devoured him alone; if he had separated himself from the Pastor, then he would not have made himself the prey of wild beasts. Wherefore he (Judas) was with the Jews, and those (the apostles) went out with the Lord. Dost thou see, by what manner the final prayer after the offering of the sacrifice is accomplished? We should, beloved, stand forth for this, we should ponder this, fearful of the coming judgement for this. We should approach the Holy Sacrifice with great decorum, with proper piety, so as to merit us more of God's benevolence, to cleanse one's soul and to receive eternal blessings, of which may we all be worthy by the grace and love for mankind of our Lord Jesus Christ, to with Whom the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, power, and worship now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
January 6th 2005, 09:43 PM #58
Re: Daily Dose of Orthodoxy
Thank you for posting that... it really puts things in perspective.* I apologize for any scandal I cause to those who doing a forum search read my old posts written before and during my journey to the Catholic Faith. If you read anything heretical, impious, or just plain wrong, please forgive my ignorance. I submit everything to the Magisterium of the Holy Catholic Church. Praised be Jesus Christ forever and ever! Amen. Also, sorry for the times I was a jerk. Lot's of those!
January 12th 2005, 05:46 AM #59
Re: Daily Dose of Orthodoxy
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. Amen.
January 13th 2005, 01:44 AM #60
Re: Daily Dose of Orthodoxy
Wanted to share this resource.
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