Saint Sophia Cathedral
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Topic of the Week – Timeless Truths
“…Fr. Symeon continues to live, of course, and is now present among us. The Elder is present in the vivid words that he left us and with which he will continue to feed us, to support us, to preach to us and teach us, as he always did: with authority, unerringly, and in truth.”
From Abbess Filothei’s obituary of the Elder
“… The truths of God are always the same and remain unaltered in time. However, the touch and impact that they can have on each soul differs on every occasion and depends on the responsiveness, the whole receptiveness of each soul and how open it is to those truths. Each time, one will perceive what he can — a little yesterday, a little today, a little tomorrow.
This is the way of life in this world. Here we are prepared little by little for the Kingdom of Heaven. In the Church you can learn how to make this journey in safety. And you will have living experiences of journeying with the Lord and the Saints in such a way that you will never feel that your life is a routine, but on the contrary you will feel your life as an experience: every day a fresh and interesting experience.
Because this is how life in Christ is after our eviction from paradise: an exile but at the same time a preparation for eternal life.
The festal cycle of every year, of every month, of every day is an opportunity granted to us by God for a fresh start in the true life so that we might become real Christians, real men and women of God.”
Excerpted from Timeless Truths: The Annual Liturgical Cycle for Every Year, pp16-17, 23-24 quotes from Fr. Symeon Kragiopoulos for each day of the year
Additional books of his writings may be purchased here: I. G. Iss. “The Birth of the Virgin Mary” = – The Garden of the Virgin Mary (toperivoli.gr)
“Man has the inclination to want to learn the one thing, to know about the other, to anticipate things. My humble opinion is that, as humans that live in the midst of society, we too inform ourselves so that we will know what is happening, but we should have no anxiety, no feelings of insecurity, and no fear. No. God has all these things in His hands. And God has a way of guiding things to the place that He wants them to be.
It is probable that we will go through tribulations, that disasters will come, that there will be various issues. These too are within God’s economy. One should see them rightly and in the way God sees them. Let us not be led astray by these facts and circumstances, but let us remain united with God, and in God and with God’s eyes let us see all these things. If we seem them in this way, there will be great benefit.”
Excerpted from Timeless Truths: The Annual Liturgical Cycle for Every Year, p199
“The natural condition of a person who is holy is to do the will of the Heavenly Father.
But let’s take a look at a regular person, that is, to us. His joy is to do his own will; his sorrow is not to be able to do his own will.
Do you see how much things have been distorted?
Let’s take an example. A healthy person eats a delicious meal and perceives it as delicious and rejoices. A person who is ill, however, thinks of an even tastier meal as utterly without taste. Certainly, if he realizes that his sickness is the cause of the tastelessness, he will say: I am sick and that’s why it seems flavorless to me.”
That’s exactly what happens with the person who very naturally would have to be happy to apply the Gospel but find it a very difficult and thankless job. A person has to go very much against himself to be able to do whatever the Gospel says, even although it is the most natural of things.
Let us learn the art of struggling.”
Excerpted from Timeless Truths: The Annual Liturgical Cycle for Every Year, p294
What is the most natural of things for us to do? But what do we enjoy doing? Why must we learn the art of struggling?
“We all have a predisposition to appreciate certainty. But from a spiritual perspective, it is very beneficial to us to be in suspense in this life and to be dependent on God. That is when a person starts to entrust himself to God and depend wholly on Him. God cannot work with a person who settles in and makes himself comfortable in this life here below and who insures and organizes things in a human way, because such a one does not have time to pay attention to God. Such a person takes pains that he not lose his comforts. Rather, God works with a person who is in suspense – and not just in suspense, but at the same time entrusts himself to God. Then God works with him and does miracles that are barely visible.
Oftentimes when practical matters are in suspense, spiritual matters go better.”
Excerpted from Timeless Truths: The Annual Liturgical Cycle for Every Year, p303
“The heavier and more unbearable the things are that we have to lift up in this world, the greater will be the blessing of God if we neither grumble nor lose hope, but think of precisely this weight, this unbearable burden – which we at times think we can’t endure – as a special gift from God. And that is really what it is.
But the blessing also that comes from God will be so big that the person will say: “I had in mind, O God, that You will bless me richly, but I could not have imagined that You would have blessed me so very much as You did.”
To reach this point, you must not grumble. Even so that cross you couldn’t lift up should become the occasion for us to learn to be more grateful to God, to entrust our lives more to Him and to wait in fact for His blessings, His grace, His love. And it will come.”
Excerpted from Timeless Truths: The Annual Liturgical Cycle for Every Year, p292
A Message from Maria Spanos
I am passionate about our Orthodox Christian faith and seek to help others learn as much as they can about it. My purpose here is to share online resources that help strengthen our relationship with Christ and bind us closer to His Church. I believe they are invaluable in learning about our precious Orthodox Tradition, and are a great aid for teaching family members, friends and others about Orthodoxy. ~Maria
Two of my favorite quotes:
“A true Christian behaves in this life so that it may be a preparation for the future one and not only a life here below. In his actions, he does not think what will be said of him here but of what will be said there in heaven; he represents to himself that he is always in the presence of God, of the angels and all the saints, and remembers that someday they will bear witness of his thoughts, words, and deeds.” — Saint John of Kronstadt
“Of all the holy works, the education of children is the most holy.”
— St. Theophan the Recluse