Are you really ready for Pascha (Easter)?

 

The following is a Homily from the Orthodox Word which we hope and pray may indeed help many to better understand the Passion of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

 

Matt. 16:36-49; Mark 14:37-46; Luke 11:45-46.

 

          We Have Seen the Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane in His grievous labor of prayer for us through a variety of images and icons. Let us continue looking into this garden, so sacred to us. Let us see what else our beloved Savior is doing there.

 

It seemed that, during those torments of soul which He experienced, He was occupied only with His own situation. But no—even at that time He was worried about the situation of His beloved disciples. Each time He finished His prayer He came to His disciples and warned them against danger. And this was repeated three times. Wondrous is the care of Heavenly Love! He in no way forgets His own amidst the torments of His soul.

 

Pastors, teachers, leaders! Here is a lesson for you: in the face of all your sorrows, all the afflictions of your ministry, you must not abandon or slacken your care for the good of those entrusted to your oversight. Your duty is to leave your own sorrows aside and watch over the condition of those entrusted to you. Fathers and mothers! Look upon the Savior, suffering in Gethsemane, and by His holy example do not lose sight of the eternal salvation of your children. No matter how great the needs and cares of your home, look after the hearts of your children, who are so dear in God's eyes.

 

    The Savior, before He began His labor of prayer for the first time, told His disciples whom He had taken in to the garden, Pray that ye enter not into temptation (Luke zi:4o). When He completed His prayer the first time, He came to them and found them sunk into sleep. And He saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? (Mark 14:37). The three disciples were in the same position, but He turned with a reproach to Peter, and called him, not Peter, but Simon. Why is that? Because Peter had so recently and so insistentlassured the Lord that he was ready to die together with the Lord, and now he could not even overcome sleep in order to fulfill the Master's desire. The very name by which the Savior called him was an allusion to the insolvency of his words. In this way the Savior showed him that His prediction about His disciples and Peter were already being fulfilled, and He warned them through this of great dangers.

 

According to the words of St. Matthew, the Lord then referred to all three disciples with the words What, could ye not watch with Me one hour? (Matt. 16:39). His was a just reproach to those who had promised to share death with their beloved Master! What, could ye not watch with Me one hour? How blameworthy the disciples must have felt! And how painful this was for the Master and Lord! The friends of the Lord Jesus slept, while Judas did not sleep, nor did the Sanhedrin, nor did the crowd of Jesus' enemies. Such is man's love for good! The hours of prayer seem long, boring, and exhausting to us, while some people spend whole nights in vain sinful undertakings. What light-minded flippancy will we not take upon ourselves ? Oh, my God! How energetic we are to destroy ourselves, and how little we think about our eternal salvation!

 

And when He returned, He found them asleep again (for their eyes were heavy), neither wist they what to answer Him (Mark 14:40).

 

Such was the state in which the Savior found His disciples when He came to them the next time after His prayer! Sleep had weighed them down to such a degree that they did not know what to answer Him; they had lost consciousness of past and present. St. Luke describes their state this way: He found them sleeping for sorrow (Luke 11:45). This means that their state depended upon the fact that they were wearied by the sorrowful thoughts and feelings that had arisen in them when listening to the Savior's conversation before, during, and after the Supper.

 

Nevertheless, it is strange that after the Savior's strong rebuke they could give themselves over to such a deep sleep. This shows us that their drowsiness was not merely the physical state of a body wearied by various labors, but extended as well to the soul—or, which amounts to the same thing, physical drowsiness was the disclosure of a kind of sleepiness of the soul. What is this state ? How did it appear in the disciples? The Savior had warned Peter before this: Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat (Luke 11:31). Thus the nearness of the dark power was weighing down the weak disciples—covering their hearts with gloom, and striking them with feebleness. This explains the Savior's insistence when He demanded that the disciples watch and pray.

 

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation (Matt. 16:41).

 

How necessary, how salvific is this rule! Vigilance and prayer, in the strict sense, are not possible without one another. Watching without prayer is dreaminess, and in order not to grow faint from weariness, one must ask for strength from heaven. Prayer without watching is self-deception: to pray without looking vigilantly with one's mind, without watching over one's feelings and thoughts, is the same as not praying. Therefore one must watch and pray, pray and watch. Watching foresees spiritual dangers; earnest prayer attracts the strength from heaven that is essential for the struggle against dangers. Watching drives away laziness and inactivity; prayer revives one's exhausted strength. Watching keeps thoughts and good desires in a state of tension for the repulsing of the attacks of the insidious foe; prayer breathes heavenly strength into one for victory over the enemy.

 

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation,

 

The Savior does not say "that ye not encounter temptation." An encounter with temptations often does not depend upon our will, but on circumstances that can in no way be averted, and God permits temptations for our benefit. That ye enter not into temptation, says the Lord. On the one hand, it is impossible to enter into temptation without the participation of our own will. On the other hand, it means that the will, conquered by the power of sin, is also reluctant to give up the seduction of temptation. This is the same thing as the Apostle says: They that will be rich fall into temptation (I Tim. 6:9). As regarded the Apostles, "entering into temptation" meant falling into unbelief and apostasy during the storm of calamity that would be raised by the Sanhedrin.

 

The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matt. z6:4i).

 

In urging them to watchfulness and prayer the Savior was not pointing out to the disciples their ungrateful inattention to His solicitous love or their unfaithfulness to their Master and Lord. The loving Master limited Himself only to indicating a weakness common to all people! The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Our physical nature, even when it is not corrupted by habits, even when the soul is sound, quickly weakens from labors and troubles. And are the powers of our souls so strong that we can depend on them in the fight against temptations? The Savior showed us, while being in our infirm flesh, the whole make-up of our corrupted nature, which is weak in the doing of good. In a vigilant spirit, He showed us those remnants of our better, first-created nature, which at times call us to praiseworthy deeds. Who has not experienced in himself the justness of Jesus' judgment on us? When we begin to think about earthly life, which is so vain, and about the life beyond the grave, which is so terrible for a sinner—how many good intentions, holy feelings, and great undertakings are born in us! This means that the spirit indeed is willing—the first-created force has not yet been extinguished in us. But then we find out that the flesh is weak. After we have firmly resolved upon good deeds, points of weakness are found in us: an irritable person is again annoyed by the contradiction of another; a proud person amuses himself with the praise of a flatterer; a lowly slave of the flesh fulfills its desires. Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world (II Tim. 4:10), complained the Apostle. Poor humanity!

 

And He cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough (Mark 14:41).

 

2    Ammonius, Presbyter of Alexandria, Fragments on Matthew.

3    Ibid.

 

More Pascha (Easter) spiritual food...


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(Apostle1.com's Note, Commentary, opinion & Disclaimer Notice: We Have many Contributors to our DAILY NEWS SERVICE, as well as many other Updates & Information provided - We are thankful for our Desert Angels, Our Flying Foxes, Our Flying Squirrels and our many other contributors... Even though we don't always give the credit they deserve... We want you, the viewer to know that they are a part of our life and living... They are, according to their nature & degree of ability, truly Christian in Spirit and in Truth for they have YOU, the viewer in mind as a part of their own concerns too, as we do too!

 

However... there is something else we wish to warn you about.

 

DISCLAIMER NOTICE: The views expressed at this website regarding any article not directly connected to religious content is the opinion or commentary of the author which we may not necessarily believe in, accept or support, and some religious articles we may not accept or support either. We take no responsibility or liability for the content of any news item or article presented as any information provided which you rely upon requires that you, the reader/viewer, take action to verify its worthiness on your own.  We have deduced to a minor degree, that the information provided by the author is such that warrants posting for you the viewer/reader only... and that any statements or purported facts, including any news item, is for you to verify as to its authenticity.  We take no liability and no responsibility for its accuracy whatsoever! You who are new visitors, may wish to read a very short article below entitled "The purpose for presenting our Daily News section" Sadly to say, we take no pleasure in stating that some of the items we post are not from what we would call true "Christian" organizations. But we post it because it provides another side of the proverbial story.  The Church, after all, is supposed to be a temple for sick souls (sinners) without distinction between their worse sins or otherwise, but it seems to some organizations that they say much about others, but fail and refuse to upbraid themselves and their members for their own sins...)

 

"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern. The West was Orthodox for a thousand years, and her venerable liturgy is far older than any of her heresies."

 

- Blessed St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco

The purpose for presenting this Daily News section:

Daily News is very important to those who are true Orthodox Catholic Christians.  For without knowing or gaining information for understanding about what is happening in one's local area and around the world, you could  find yourself faced with denied services in the secular area, lack of income, even (although it sounds far-fetched) ability to worship openly for the time is not far off when all will have to decide if they wish to follow the Anti-Christ through the One World Church and One World Government as prophesied by the Apocalypse, the Book of Revelation of St. John or follow the faith delivered once and for all which will cause for many to be denied the abilities to survive under those kind of conditions, causing for one to consider other options. 

 

Many of those who subscribe to, and some who have caused or are the cause for, these things to happen are involved in or with the Roman Jurisdiction of the Catholic Church (which is not the seat of all things "Catholic") as well as its protestant daughters such as the cultic Jehovah's Witnesses, the Pentecostal Churches, the Church of Latter Day Saints also known as the Mormon Church and far too many more to list. 

 

Yet, at this web site we do provide some of the reasons about why they are opined to be the harbingers of that which is prophesied in Holy Scripture for the bringing about of the End Times which we have already entered.  It is not necessarily their individual members or parishioners that should be blamed since they are only the "Sheep" and not the Shepherds... So do not think we castigate individual people of themselves as we castigate those "money changers" who Jesus Christ chased out of His Father's House as the Bible Describes; for they exist in these present times too.

 

Events are already rushing toward that time in which this is beginning to happen and will become more fully wide-spread. In these present times all you need to really do is look around both your local and larger areas as to what is really on-going through.  Things so very little or miniscule that they are barely noticeable except to the more informed observer may become apparent. 

Those little things are the laws of the land, economics, politics, the degrading and erosion of those rights and liberties afforded by the Constitution of these United States of America and many other things such as the manner with which entertainments have taken over much of the populace, entering into and becoming a major focus in worship, and more. 

We ask you, if you don't want to believe us... Have you heard, seen or found what is termed (of the many terms being used) that there are "holding areas" or "camps" or "Closed/Fenced communities" being built by GOVERNMENT? 

Here in North America, especially in the United States of America, we must admit that what Russia has come out of (a communistic, atheist country) we are entering into.  And one last thing that needs also to be understood... Something very important to those of you who are "Catholic" in the Roman sense of its jurisdiction....   And, we believe this also holds true for many who are "Orthodox" whether "Eastern" or "Western"....

[ * Non-Denominational = Synchrestic Ecumenism, Disease of Scholasticism, altering the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ to accommodate the disease of Political Correctness and CULTIC PROTESTANTISM, and the Roman Jurisdiction (Latin Church = Vatican) of the Catholic Church) breaking of - or failure and refusal to respect and abide by  - the ancient Seven Ecumenical "Do Not" Canons which leaves everything else open to God's gift of creativity... failure & refusal to abide by and have respect for those who diligently protect one of the other Pillars of the Church, the Seals of the Confessional, but "Non-Denominational" also includes worshiping Satan's religion of Muslim, Islam by praying with them and other heretics such as 'Pentecostalism,' 'Jehovah's Witnesses,' 'Mormons,' 'Church of Christ,' any so-called church with "Community Church" in their nomenclature and others who by their false and misleading dogmas and doctrines are actually against the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ upon whom and for exacting reason we are called "Christian" in both spirit and truth from which non-denominational protestant sectarian claimants have departed from as being so-called Christian] Only a skilled spiritual father can help you!

Remember: You cannot ride two horses or serve two masters for one of them will be harmed by your thoughts, your very words and your actions which is to blaspheme the Holy Ghost (Spirit) who will depart from you.  And when the Holy Spirit departs, the great deceiver (unbeknownst to you) will rush in to fill the void under disguise of being the Holy Spirit!  Testing of the Holy Spirit to insure it is the Holy Spirit does not, for many a Sectarian Protestant and Roman, work because the Great Deceiver (Satan) is most skilled in worming and snaking his charms around your mind and heart to feign being the Holy Spirit.  Remember, Satan has the same gifts similar to the Holy Spirit but Satan's gifts are UN-HOLY and lead all who accept him (unbeknownst to you) to perdition.

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"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern. The West was Orthodox for a thousand years, and her venerable liturgy is far older than any of her heresies."

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