The Present Time

Saint Sophia Cathedral
Online Resources for our Religious Edification

Topic of the Week – The Present Time

“Let us take care because the devil tries to steal from us one of the biggest gifts which we have from God: our presentHe pushes us into the future with worries, plans and prophecies or throws us back into the past with memories, sentimentalism, sorrows and over-analysis.

We must pray and have the necessary stillness and awareness in order to not lose the present time. Let us not wait until tomorrow to repent because tomorrow may never come….” (The Present Time from


“In the life of Saint Dimitri of Rostov… we can read that the saint was in the salvific habit of chanting the hymn “O Theotokos and Virgin, Rejoice” every hour when the clock struck….We poor ones lead a life most often not dedicated to those things which are for the salvation of our souls, but to the cares of this world and self-gratification, even though the evangelical commandments, which St. Dimitri followed so well, apply to all Christians….

It is very easy to forget WHO WE ARE (that is, who we have as our Father), and to lose a sure knowledge of the presence of God within our hearts as we go about our tasks…. we may go long periods during the day that we do not remember God, or pray even a little bit. To always have the remembrance of God within us is certainly beyond our capabilities for the moment, but we can make a good start by emulating Saint Dimitri’s [of Rostov] good habit….

Christian! Strive to remember God at least every hour. Purchase a watch which beeps every hour, or a clock with chimes. Decide upon a short prayer or prayers to say every hour when you are “called to prayer….” You may merely cross yourself and call God to mind. The content or variety of prayers is not so important, and is a matter of personal preference. The important idea here is to somehow shake ourselves out of our lethargy at least every hour, so that we do not forget God.If you observe this practice faithfully, you will begin to see almost immediate results…

Read the article in its entirety here: A Lesson From St. Dimitri of Rostov on Redeeming the Time by Father Seraphim Holland

Preschool/Elementary School:Every day we often get busy with things we are doing and we forget to remember God throughout the day, even though we may pray our morning and evening prayers.  Saint Dimitri of Rostov was a a holy man, a monk who dedicated his life to prayer. Every hour when the clock struck, he chanted the hymn “O Theotokos and Virgin, Rejoice.” He always remembered God in everything he did and lived a very holy life, even writing an entire set of books dedicated to the lives of the saints in order to help other Christians learn about their holy lives and try to be like them.

We can be like Saint Dimitri of Rostov in remembering God throughout the day. If your family has a clock that chimes every hour, when you hear the chime, you can say a prayer like ‘Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me’ or another short prayer. Or you can have your parents set an alarm on the computer for each hour of the day and when you hear the computer alarm, say your short prayer. At the end of the day, remember to ask God to forgive any word, deed or thought that may have caused you to fall away from Him.


Middle School:

Throughout the course of the entire day, strive to remember God more frequently. If you do not feel well, turn to Him with prayer: “Lord, I am not well; help me.” If you feel well, say to God: “Lord, glory to Thee; I thank Thee for this joy.” If you are worried about someone, tell God: “Lord, I am worried for him; I am concerned about him; help him.” And so forth throughout the course of the day: whatever happens to you, put it into prayer.” – Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev

Read Section III – When Should We Pray? from On Prayer

Why does the devil continually try to steal the present moment from us? What does that accomplish for him?

How can you turn all your thoughts to God and whatever happens to you turn it into prayer? Even if you are busy doing schoolwork, what pauses might there be in your day when you can pray to God? Before and after classes? In the car ride on the way to somewhere? When waiting in line at the store?


High School:

“Our continual mistake is that we do not concentrate upon the present day, the actual hour, of our life; we live in the past or in the future; we are continually expecting the coming of some special moment when our life will unfold itself in its full significance. And we do not notice that life is flowing like water through our fingers, sifting like precious grain from a loosely fastened bag…” – from Diary of a Russian Priest

Read the entire quote here: The Actual Hour of Our Life


Sometimes we are in the middle of whatever we are doing and someone or something interrupts us and we cannot complete our task. Instead of thinking that God brought this to us (either for our own benefit or for theirs), we become agitated by the interruption of our work. Does someone need help with something? A hug? Some advice? Some material object you can give them? At that moment, this is what God wants you to concentrate on. The next time you are interrupted in what you are doing, stop to ask yourself why God brought this person or thing into your life and how you may help them, or be helped by them, for His sake.


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