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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Daily Reading:

OUR HOLY FATHERS EPHRAIM AND ISAAC THE SYRIANS
Thursday January 27th/February 10th
37th Week After Pentecost

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In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:

Illumine my heart, O Master who lovest mankind, with the pure light of Thy divine knowledge. Open Thou the eyes of my mind to the understanding of Thy Gospel teachings. Implant also in me a love for Thy blessed commandments. Grant me the grace to overcome all my carnal desires, so that I may enter more completely into a spiritual manner of living, both thinking and doing such things as are well pleasing to Thee. For Thou art the illumination of our souls and bodies, O Christ our God, and unto Thee do we ascribe glory, together with Thine all-holy, good and life-creating Spirit; now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.


O Lord Jesus Christ, open Thou the eyes of my heart, that I may hear Thy word and understand and do Thy will, for I am a sojourner upon the earth. Hide not Thy commandments from me, but open mine eyes, that I may perceive the wonders of Thy law. Speak unto me the hidden and secret things of Thy wisdom. On Thee do I set my hope, O my God, that Thou shalt enlighten my mind and understanding with the light of Thy knowledge, not only to cherish those things which are written, but to do them; that in reading the lives and sayings of the Saints I may not sin, but that such may serve for my restoration, enlightenment and sanctification, for the salvation of my soul, and the inheritance of life everlasting. For Thou art the enlightenment of those who lie in darkness, and from Thee cometh every good deed and every gift. Amen.

By the intercessions of Thine All-immaculate Mother and of all Thy Saints, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen


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Thursday

LITURGY

James 4:7-5:9


Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.


Mark 11:27-33

And they come again to Jerusalem: and as He was walking in the temple, there come to Him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders, And say unto Him, "By what authority doest thou these things? And who gave thee this authority to do these things?" And Jesus answered and said unto them, "I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? Answer me." And they reasoned with themselves, saying, "If we shall say, 'From heaven'; He will say, 'Why then did ye not believe him?' But if we shall say, 'Of men'; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed. And they answered and said unto Jesus, "We cannot tell". And Jesus answering saith unto them, "Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things".




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OUR HOLY FATHERS EPHRAIM AND ISAAC THE SYRIANS



Troparion of Ss Ephraim and Isaac the Syrians Tone 1
Let the multitudes of monastics and cenobites/ honour our divinely-shining pillars and protectors and intercessors,/ divine Ephraim and Isaac who are truly of Christ./ And let us glorify them with hymns while crying:/ Glory to Him Who has sanctified you; glory to Him Who has made you wonderful;/ glory to Him Who has glorified you both in heaven and on earth.

Kontakion of St Ephraim Tone 2
O Ephraim, as a lover of silence/ thou didst ever forsee the hour of reckoning and bitterly lament;/and by thy words thou wast indeed a teacher, O righteous one./ Wherefore, O father of all the world,/ thou dost rouse the slothful to repentance.

Kontakion of St Isaac Tone 8
We acclaim thee as a Godbearing and righteous Hierarch,/ as a citizen of the desert, O Isaac, our protector and revealer of things sacred./ Since thou hast boldness with the Lord, pray to Him for all who honour thee/ and cry to thee: Rejoice, O divinely-wise Father.



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VENERABLE EPHREM THE SYRIAN

Ephrem was born in Syria of poor parents during the reign of Emperor Constantine the Great. He spent his young life rather tempestuously; but all at once a change took place in his soul and he began to burn with love for the Lord Jesus. Ephrem was a disciple of St. James Nisibis (January 13). From the enormous Grace of God, wisdom flowed from his tongue as a brook of honey and ceaseless tears flowed from his eyes. Industrious as a bee, Ephrem continually either wrote books or orally taught the monks in the monastery and the people in the town of Edessa or he dedicated himself to prayer and contemplation. Numerous are his books and beautiful are his prayers. The most famous is his prayer recited during the Honorable Fast Season which reads:


Lord and Master of my life, give

me not a spirit of sloth, vain

curiosity, lust for power and idle talk.


But give to me, your servant, a spirit

of soberness, humility, patience and love.


O Lord and King, grant me to see

my own faults and not to condemn

my brother: for blessed are you

to the ages of ages. Amen.



When they wanted to appoint him a bishop by force, he pretended to be insane and began to race through the city of Edessa dragging his garment behind him. Seeing this, the people left him in peace. Ephrem was a contemporary and friend of St. Basil the Great. Saint Ephrem is considered mainly to be the Apostle of Repentance. Even today his works soften many hearts hardened by sin and return them to Christ. He died in extreme old age in the year 378 A.D.

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VENERABLE ISAAC THE SYRIAN


Isaac was born in Nineveh and in his youth lived an ascetical life in the Monastery of Mar [Saint] Matthew in the proximity of Nineveh. When Isaac became known because of the sanctity of his life and of his many miracles, he was elected bishop of Nineveh and was forced to accept that rank. But, after only five months, he left the bishopric and secretly withdrew into the wilderness to the Monastery of Rabban Shabur. He complied many works of which about a hundred homilies on the spiritual life and asceticism, written primarily from his personal experience, have come down to us today. He was unequaled as a psychologist and as a director in the spiritual life. Even such saints as was St. Simeon [the New Stylite] of the Wonderful Mountain near Antioch sought counsel from him. Isaac died in extreme old age toward the end of the seventh century.



The Prologue From Ochrid
of St. Nikolai (Velimirovic) Bishop of Zhicha