Priorities

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Today is the Feast of the Lord’s Transfiguration.  When Jesus decided it was time to show 3 of his Apostles His Divinity, he set a Priority for them and us, Himself!

Here is today’s Epistle reading:

2 Peter 1:10-19

10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. 13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. 15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. 16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

Verses 10 – 12 are so important in this present day, as we forget whom our Priority should be.  Instead we make everything in this life a priority and above God almighty.  Our job, our pleasures, our hobbies, the beach, the mountains, our friends, those parties, and even ourselves and so on.  We even put our families above Him, or at least use them as our excuse.  We forget about the One who created us. We want our own pleasures, our own way, our own will, and most of the time, this does not match His Will for us.

We are told in verse 10, “give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall…”  and if we do give our due diligence, our priority to Jesus, then he promises in verse 11, “For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

You see my brethren the ‘if then’ statement — if you love Me, put Me first: then I will give you the everlasting kingdom!  Whose Kingdom — Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’s Kingdom.  Is not that what we strive for, or at least SHOULD be striving for?

What do the next few verses say after that:  I, meaning me, the Priest, must continually tell and explain this fact to all of you.  So in fact I must also put Jesus first above all things.  He must be my Priority above all!

Jesus the Christ MUST be priority over every thing in our lives.  Over own own life!!  We do nothing by ourselves, but by all things by He who strengthens us. Is this easy — heck no.  That is where prayer comes in, you know that thing we are to do unceasingly.  Talk to God and a continuous basis, as well as be silent and listen to what He has to say to us.  That think we do not do……….

So when our lives get so full, we ignore God.  The result will be, He will be a gentleman and stay out of the way.  When we learn to put Him in first place, He will open up His Eternal Kingdom to us, and we will be able to accomplish more than we thought we could by ourselves.

Lord, I know not what to ask of Thee. Thou alone knowest my true needs. Thou lovest me more than I myself know how to love. Help me to see my needs that are concealed from me. I dare not ask for a cross nor consolation; wherefore I only wait upon Thee. My heart is open unto Thee. Visit and help me, according to Thy great mercy. Strike me down and heal me; cast me down and raise me up. In silence I worship Thy holy will and Thine unsearchable ways. I offer myself as a sacrifice unto Thee. I have no other desire than to fulfill Thy holy will. Teach me to pray, and pray Thou Thyself in me. Amen.   Saint Gregory Palamas

Amen!

 

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Cremation: A Message from St. Nikolai Velimirovic (written in 1956)

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You ask me, why is the Orthodox Church against cremation. First of all, because it considers it violent. The Serbs still shudder with the crime of Sinan Pasha, who burned the dead body of St. Sava on Vrachar.

Do people burn dead horses, dogs, cats and monkeys? I have not heard of this. I have heard of and seen them buried. Why should the dead bodies of people who are the lords of all animals on earth endure violence? Would it not be in all respects much more reasonable to incinerate dead animals, especially in big cities, than people?Cremation 1

Second, because this pagan and barbaric habit disappeared from Europe thanks to Christian civilization two thousand years ago. Anyone who wants to reinstate it doesn’t do anything else, neither civilized nor modern nor new, but something ancient which has long expired.

In England, which one can hardly call uncivilized, this form…

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Here’s Mud in your Eye

Ramblings of a Redneck Priest

In my party days, I sometimes heard the phrase “Here’s mud in your eye.” (OK, I’m showing my age) Where did this phrase come from? Like a a good “scholar,” I went to the Internet and checked on Google – the source of all knowledge and wisdom! (sic) It may be a farming phrase, a way of wishing your neighbor a good and prosperous year. After all, plow horses could kick up a bit of mud. The phrase may come from the story of the man born blind in the Gospel of John. I don’t know how it came to be attached to the consumption of alcohol since drinking doesn’t open your eyes but usually closes them.

The Sundays after  Pascha give us different responses to Good News of the Resurrection of Christ. St. Thomas Sunday brings up the possibility of doubt which is a universal response to the Resurrection. Then, the Sunday…

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Pardonable Sins

Again and Again

manastir-vavedenja-presvete-bogorodice-1H/T: Thoughts Intrusive (here)

St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

Would you like, O Christian, for the small errors you commit as a man, either with your eyes or with your ears, to be forgiven? Draw near to the Mysteries with fear and with a broken heart, and they will be remitted and forgiven. St. Anastasios of Antioch confirms this:

If we fall into some small, pardonable sins on account of our being human, either with our tongue, our ears, our eyes, and we fall as victims of deceit into vainglory, or sorrow, or anger, or some other like sin, let us condemn ourselves and confess to God. Thus let us partake of the Holy Mysteries, believing that the reception of the divine Mysteries is unto the purification of these small sins (though not the grave and evil and impure sins which we may have committed, regarding which we should…

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Learning Like a Saint — Glory to God for All Things

The preparation for Baptism in the early Church often lasted as long as three years. Of deep significance is the fact that during that three-year period, many basic doctrines were not explored. The “mystagogical catechesis” (instruction in the sacramental mysteries of the Church) did not begin until after Baptism. What, we may wonder, were they…

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Little Pigs

Ramblings of a Redneck Priest

wolf“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

Is there any fable that has lasted as long as the story of “The Three Little Pigs?” It is a great analogy that can apply to spiritual life. Like these little pigs, each of us must build a secure dwelling place or we will not  survive.  Another truth comes through- the Wolf…

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Camping out

Ramblings of a Redneck Priest

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I read a study that says that if you have insomnia, the best thing to do is to go camping for a week. The only restriction is that there must be no electronics, artificial lights or clocks. At the end of the week, your biorhythms will be restore to the rising and setting of the sun. You will sleep like a baby. (well, better than my grandchildren!)

When we were young, we started camping. We would go into the woods of the National Forrest. We only had a small tent and sleeping bags. We slept on the ground and actually enjoyed it. Then, as we got older, we upgraded. We bought an air mattress and  Coleman lanterns and cook stoves. Then we bought a large luxurious tent and started camping at KOAs. The campground had hot showers, a swimming pool, and even a hot tub. As we walked around the campground, we…

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