Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Antiochan Syriac Orthodox Daily Readings For Wednesday, 26 January

From,, and

Daily Readings:

Saints/Martyrs/Feasts/Fasts to be observed/commemmorated:  Memory of our venerable Father Xenophon and of his wife (Sixth century?)

Scriptural Readings:

Saint Mark 10:11-16 (1/26-2/8) Gospel for Wednesday: Thirty-first Week after Pentecost

Becoming Little Children: Saint Mark 10:11-16, especially vs. 15: “...whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” In this verse, Christ our Savior states the essential prerequisite for life in Him: if we would have Him take us in His arms, lay His hands on us, and bless us (vs. 16), we must, before all else, convert and “...become as little children” (Mt. 18:3). Thus, He here reveals how to be transformed within oneself so as to become a pure child touched by Him and blessed in new life (Mk. 10:13).

Saint John Chrysostom points out that “...the soul of a little child is pure from all the passions.” Though we show “...him the queen with a diadem, he prefers her not to his mother clad in rags...and nothing more than necessary things doth he seek.” Furthermore, “The young child is not grieved at what we are grieved, as at the loss of money and such things as that, and he doth not rejoice again at what we rejoice, namely, at these temporal things.” Thus, we “ choice should practice these things, which young children have naturally.” The secret of being little children lies in the recovery of natural, God-given virtues.

Notice how clearly this passage states that children did not come to the Lord on their own account. They were ‘ Him...’ (vs. 13), which requires parents who make the loving effort to bring us to Christ. Thus, if we are not borne in the arms of our Mother the Church, then we haplessly pursue the virtues of the world - which are not virtues. Instead, we depend on imperfect, rational human minds, and invariably we are led astray. To have good parenting, Saint Nil Sorsky declares that the Holy Fathers who followed the Apostles must be the “...main guide for those who wish to be saved and...attain Christian perfection.”

The Lord sharply corrected His as-yet-unillumined disciples when they prevented children from coming to Him (vs. 13). Following His example, let our initial step be to countermand within ourselves whatever is preventing us from coming to Him as innocents (vs. 14). Acquiring pure, simple, natural virtues takes diligent work directed against whatever arises from the sinful self, the world, and the devils. These evils generate attractions that suggest that we should indulge ourselves. As Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos reminds us: “when a person struggles to subject his body to his soul and his soul to God, the virtues of body and soul are produced.” Beloved, let us begin and persist in this work of restraining and retraining.

Let the desire of Christ our God for ‘little children’ to come to Him (vs. 14) be the positive prompting to cultivate the blessed virtues that His Church teaches. Metropolitan Hierotheos provides us with some obvious starting points: “Self-control and love rid us of impassioned thoughts. By controlling anger and desire we quickly do away with evil thoughts. Vigils also contribute a great deal.…Let us receive everything with a good thought. Even if everything is ugly, let us receive it with equanimity, and then God will right the anomalies of things.”

Every awakened Christian who addresses the negative and positive work described above discovers how monumental is the task of coming to Christ as a little child. Let us not be discouraged by seeking to accomplish purity of life and holiness solely in our own strength. That fatal delusion eventually will plunge us into despair. Rather, let us be dependent upon the Church and the Holy Spirit to bring us to Christ, so that we may learn to receive the touch of the Lord Jesus’ hand, His healing, and His blessing (vs. 16). The Spirit gives us birth through the Church and helps us put on the new man. Saint Gregory Palamas says, “the deified saints...are engendered by God, God gave them the power to become children of God.”

Burn Thou the thorns of all my transgressions, cleanse my soul, and hallow my thoughts.

James 1:1-18

James 1:1-18 (King James Version)

James 1

1James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

2My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

3Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

4But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

7For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

8A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

9Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:

10But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.

11For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.

12Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

13Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

15Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

16Do not err, my beloved brethren.

17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

18Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

The Synaxarion:

January 26

Memory of our venerable Father Xenophon and of his wife (Sixth century?)

Saint Xenophon held the office of senator in Constantinople. He sent his two sons, Arcadius and John, to Beirut, Phoenicia, to study law. During their passage the two brothers were shipwrecked and had a difficult time escaping. Xenophon and his wife set out to find them. Finding them in Jerusalem, already clothed in the monastic habit, the parents also embraced religious life. Arcadius and John died in the desert where they had withdrawn. Xenophon and his wife separated. He withdrew to the desert, and she lived in the company of pious virgins. Thus they finished their lives very pleasing to God, around the beginning of the Sixth century.

Fifth Class Feast.

No comments:

Post a Comment