December 2008 Archives

Listening to Tradition, Sunday, December 28, 2008


"Christian athletes who compete according to the rules . . . and desire to be crowned by the Lord should, by all means, fight to destroy the very fierce beast of pride.  For it destroys every virtue.  They must know that as long as pride remains in their hearts, they will never be free from evil, and will even lose any good qualities they seem to have by pride's influence.  For no tower of righteousness (so to speak) can possibly be raised in our souls unless the foundation of true humility is first laid in our hearts.  Being laid securely, it can bear the weight of perfection and love thrust on us in such a way that we can show true humility to others from the very bottom of our heart."


St. John Cassian, The Institutes

Christmas Day


Luke 2 1:20 (KJV)

  Nativity.jpgAnd it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Listening to Tradition, Tuesday, December 23, 2008




He who binds to himself a joy

Does the wingâ—¦ed life destroy;

But he who kisses the joy as it flies

Lives in eternity's sun rise.


                                                William Blake

Listening to Tradition, Sunday, December 21, 2008

The eternal Father, by a free and hidden plan of His own wisdom and goodness, created the whole world. His plan was to raise men to a participation of the divine life. Fallen in Adam, God the Father did not leave men to themselves, but ceaselessly offered helps to salvation, in view of Christ, the Redeemer "who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature". All the elect, before time began, the Father "foreknew and pre- destined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that he should be the firstborn among many brethren". He planned to assemble in the holy Church all those who would believe in Christ. Already from the beginning of the world the foreshadowing of the Church took place. It was prepared in a remarkable way throughout the history of the people of Israel and by means of the Old Covenant. In the present era of time the Church was constituted and, by the outpouring of the Spirit, was made manifest. At the end of time it will gloriously achieve completion, when, as is read in the Fathers, all the just, from Adam and "from Abel, the just one, to the last of the elect," will be gathered together with the Father in the universal Church. Lumen Gentium #2

Listening to Tradition, Thursday, December 18, 2008


"Beloved, how should we regard the loving-kindness of our Savior? We should cry out and praise His goodness with power and with trumpets! Not only should we appear like Him, but should follow Christ's example for heavenly conversation. We should carry on what He began. In suffering, we shouldn't threaten. When we are verbally abused, we shouldn't berate in return. Instead, we should bless those that curse us and commit ourselves to God in everything. For He judges righteously. Those who do this adapt themselves to the Gospel. They will have a part with Christ, and, as imitators of apostolic conversation, He considers them worthy of praise. They will receive the praise Paul gave the Corinthians when he said, 'I praise you that in everything you are mindful of me.'"


Listening to Tradition, Tuesday, December 16, 2008

For now is the time to labour for the Lord, for salvation is found in the day of affliction: for it is written: 'In your patience gain ye your souls' (Luke 21:19) 

Abba Isidore of Skete 

Listening to Tradition, Sunday, December 14, 2008


"If we confess Christ, we will become like Peter. We will be considered blessed as he was. Flesh and blood haven't revealed to us that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the Living God, but the Father in heaven has, so that we can become citizens of heaven. This revelation carries to heaven those who unveil their hearts and receive "the spirit of the wisdom and revelation" of God. And if we say like Peter, 'Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God,' not because flesh and blood revealed it to us, but because our heavenly Father's light has shone in our hearts, we become a rock, or a Peter . . .Christ is the spiritual Rock from whom His people drank and every disciple of Christ is a rock. Every word of the church and its government is built upon every such rock."


Lest we Forget, December 7, 1941


Listening to Tradition, Friday, December 5, 2008


"But Adam did not wish to say, "I sinned," but said rather the contrary of this and placed the blame for the transgression upon God Who created everything "very good," saying to Him, "The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I ate." And after him she also placed the blame upon the serpent, and they did not wish at all to repent and, falling down before the Lord God, beg forgiveness of Him. For this, God banished them from Paradise, as from a royal palace, to live in this world as exiles. At that time also He decreed that a flaming sword should be turned and should guard the entrance into Paradise. And God did not curse Paradise, since it was the image of the future unending life of the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. If it were not for this reason, it would have been fitting to curse it most of all, since within it was performed the transgression of Adam. But God did not do this, but cursed only the whole rest of the earth, which also was corrupt and brought forth everything by itself; and this was in order that Adam might not have any longer a life free from exhausting labors and sweat..." 

St. Symeon the New Theologian 

Listening to Tradition, Tuesday, December 2, 2008


No one is free from the risk of persecution . . . But how serious it is for Christians who are unwilling to suffer for their own sins when He who had no sin suffered for us!  The Son of God suffered in order to make us children of God, but people won't suffer to continue being children of God!  If we suffer from the world's hatred, Christ first endured the world's hatred.  If we suffer rebukes in this world, if exile or torture, the Maker and Lord of the world experienced harder things than these.


St. Cyprian

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