March 19, 2017
THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT
Martyrs Chrysanthus and Daria (+283)
Liturgy: Hebrews 4:14-5:6; Mark 8:34-9:1
WEDNESDAY – Presanctified Liturgy at 7:00 p.m., followed by a fasting supper.
FRIDAY – Small Compline with the 4th section of the Akathist Hymn (Salutations) to the Theotokos, also at 7:00 p.m.
SATURDAY – Feast of the Annunciation – Divine Liturgy, 9:00 a.m.
SPECIAL DAYS – Let Fr. Benedict know if there are any additions.
Mar. 25 FEAST OF ANNUNCIATION
Apr. 9 PALM SUNDAY
Apr. 14 GREAT & HOLY FRIDAY
Apr. 15 HOLY SATURDAY
Apr. 16 HOLY PASCHA
Recommended reading: Fr. Stephen Freeman on the idea of “Right Worship” in the modern Christian world.
Never be ashamed to make the Sign of the Cross.
Let us not then be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Let the Sign of the Cross, our seal, be made with boldness by our fingers on our forehead, and on everything; over the bread we eat, and the cups we drink; in our comings in, and goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we rise up; when we are in the way, and when we are still. Great is that preservative; it is without price, for the sake of the poor; without toil, for the sick; since also its grace is from God. It is the Sign of the faithful, and the dread of devils: for He ‘triumphed over them in it, having made a show of them openly’ [Colossians 2:15]; for when they see the Cross they are reminded of the Crucified; they are afraid of Him, who bruised the heads of the dragon. Despise not the Seal, because of the freeness of the gift; but instead for that reason honor your Benefactor. – St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Lectures for Catechumens 13.36
An Orthodox View of the Ten Commandments
Part 4 of an article by the late Bishop Alexander Mileant of Buenos Aires
The Seventh Commandment: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
With this commandment God enjoins husband and wife to preserve mutual fidelity, and the unmarried to be chaste in their deeds, words, thoughts and desires. In explaining this commandment, the Lord Jesus Christ added, “Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her, has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). In other words, not only actions but all our thoughts and feelings must also be pure. In order to avoid sins against purity, one must shun all that evokes unclean feelings, such as unbridled behavior, obscene conversations, music and dancing which arouses lustful desires, watching of indecent movies and magazines, and the like.
To avoid sins against purity, the best remedy is to suppress sinful thoughts and desires at their root, not giving them an opportunity to strengthen and take control over our will. Knowing how difficult it is for us to do battle with carnal temptations, the Lord instructs us to be resolute and unmerciful towards ourselves when confronted by temptations: “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:29). This figurative speech can be rephrased as follows: If someone is as dear to you as your own eye or hand, but tempts you to sin, quickly break off all relations with him or her. For it is better for you to deprive yourself of his or her friendship than of everlasting life.
Contemporary laws make it quite easy to divorce and remarry. However, Christian spouses
should submit themselves to the Supreme Lawgiver, who instituted marriage and said: “What God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6).
Despite all contemporary efforts to justify and even legalize homosexual actions as something comparable to marriage, the Bible unambiguously declares them to be grave sins. The ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed precisely because their inhabitants were engaging in these sins (See chapter 19 of the book of Genesis). Speaking of these cities, the Apostle Jude says, “As Sodom and Gomorrah . . . having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7). The Apostle Paul, in the first chapter of his epistle to the Romans, speaks very harshly about those who engage in these sins: “God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness . . .” (Romans 1:24-29).
Regarding carnal wantonness, the Scriptures warn: “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body,” and “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (1 Cor. 6:18; Hebrews 13:4). It is extremely important to preserve moral purity because “we are members of Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit. If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him” (1 Cor. 3:16-17).