St. Peter Newsletter — July 22, 2013

Fr. Hans in Houston

I am in Houston this week from Tuesday to Saturday (July 23-27) attending the Antiochian Convention.

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Sayings from From Elder Paisios

Whether we pray for ourselves or for others, the prayer must be from the heart. The problems of others should become our problems. You have to prepare for prayer. Read a bit of the Gospel or the Gerontiko and then pray. It requires an attempt to take the mind to the divine space. Study is like a gift which God gives us to direct us to greater spirituality. With study the soul is warmed.

The person should experience his sinfulness and have trust and hope in the mercy of God, because that way he’ll be saved. That way the mind is recollected and experiences the prayer as a need. That way he begins to say: Lord Jesus Christ, come…”, and the heart gains rest.

Freedom is good when the person can use it appropriately. Otherwise it is a disaster.

The righteous Christian does not practice good acts for his own benefit, i.e. in order to be rewarded or to avoid hell and gain paradise, but rather because he prefers good to evil. Everything else is a natural consequence of the good that fills our soul without having asked for it. This way, good has dignity; otherwise, it originates from the cheap attitude of “give and take.”

Sunday Scripture Readings

Epistle

Romans 10:1-10 (5th Sunday after Pentecost)

Byzantine Bible CoverO Lord, how magnificent are your works, You have made all things in wisdom.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.

The Reading is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans

BRETHREN, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified. Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on the law shall live by it.

But the righteousness based on faith says, Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?” (that is, to bring Christ down) or “Who will descend into the abyss?” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.

Gospel

Matthew 8:28-34; 9:1 (5th Sunday after Pentecost)

At that time: When Jesus came to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, two demoniacs met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”

Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine.” And he said to them, “Go,.” So they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in the waters.

The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs. And behold all the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.

And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city.