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And at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God; and the prisoners were listening to them. And suddenly there occurred a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and the bonds of all were loosed. [Acts 16:25-26]

 

The world didn’t want to tolerate followers of Jesus Christ. Paul and Silas were publicly beaten with rods then locked up in chains and cast into prison for doing the work of the Lord. They were unsure of their outcome but even in their dejected predicament, they continued to praise the Lord, praying and chanting hymns. And in their faithfulness, the Earth quaked and released their imprisonment without collapsing the prison walls in on them. And if that was not enough, the jailer after seeing all these miracles asked to be saved. And so he and his whole family were baptized, men, women, children and servants!

 

What seemed to be an impossible circumstance became an opportunity to share the love of God, bringing the lost into the Light. Isn’t it better to fail at succeeding than to succeed in failing? Why not expect good things to happen even when things seem impossible? Doesn’t St. James say that everything good comes from above? (Jas 1:17) Paul knew his time on Earth was short but he chose to press on, no matter the cost! Paul and Silas clinged to the truth, the life and the way. (John 14:6) When you have something that great, you want to share it! You have to let the love of Christ ooze out from you like fog rolling through the valley!

 

Most of us seem to get weighted down when our burdens seem heavy. Prayers become an unwanted task as we feel abandoned and self pity becomes a heavy familiar friend as we imprison ourselves by our own lack of faith. Our eyes turn from the Light and look for isolation in our darkness. “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” (Matt 8:26)

 

A great friend and protestant pastor who inspired me to change would quote from John Wesley and say to me: “Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.” Orthodox folks call that radiant consuming passion incorruptible joy! A burning fire rooted deep in the crevices of everything that we are! In his letter to the church in Philippians, Saint Paul writes: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”(Phil 4:4-7)

 

Be about your Father’s Business! (Luke 2:49) Everything That Is, Is His! Are You? What in the WORLD is more important?

 

Fr. Gabriel Weller 5/13/18

POT STIRRER

Jesus saw this one lying there, and knew that he had already been much time in that condition, and He said to him, “Dost thou wish to become well?” [Jn. 5:6] We read in the Gospel of John how that on occasion an angel would come and stir the water which on occasion would heal infirmity. That is, if you could be the first one in the water. For 38 years the paralytic struggled and could not reach the healing water!

 

Jesus then offered this man another way to be healed, a healing by the Great Creator and by the Living Water. Jesus saith to him, “Rise, take up thy bed and be walking.”[Jn. 5:8] Saint Bede writes: “‘Rise’ means shake off the sluggishness of the vices in which you have been ailing for a long time, and rouse yourself to the practice of virtues….‘Rise’ by doing good works.” [Ib., 225.] “‘Take up thy bed’ means lovingly carry your neighbor, patiently tolerating his weaknesses, since he patiently put up with you for a long time when you were weighed down by the burden of temptations. ‘Keep on bearing one another’s burdens, and thus fill up the law of the Christ [Gal. 6:2].’…So leave behind your earlier sins, and come to the aid of your brothers’ needs.” [Ib.] “Go on walking about and keep on walking about.” (peripavtei), “‘Walk’ means to love God with your whole heart, soul and strength [cf. Mk. 12:30], so that you may be worthy to reach the vision of Him. Go forward by making daily strides of good works from virtue to virtue. Do not desert your brother…nor turn aside from the right direction of your path….In everything you do, see to it that you do not fix your mind upon this world, but that you hurry to see the face of your Redeemer.” [Ib.]

 

Afterward Jesus finds this former paralytic in the temple, and said unto him: “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” [Jn. 5:14] What kind of worse thing is He who conquered death speaking about? In the wisdom of Saint Chrysostom we hear: “‘What then,’ asks one, ‘do all diseases proceed from sin?’ Not all, but most of them; and some proceed from different kinds of loose living, since gluttony, intemperance, and sloth, produce such like sufferings….Jesus wished to secure this man for the future,…keeping him to health both by the benefit, and by the fear of future ills.” [Hom. 38, P.G. 59:217, 218 (cols. 212, 213).]

 

You see, the evil one likes to stir the waters in our life, but not for healing. For with his temptations, he wishes us to turn from God in anger and disbelief and become paralyzed from every attempt in seeking the Kingdom of God, truly a death-sentence.

 

“Dost thou wish to become well? … Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more.” Joy has come unto the world through the cross and death has been conquered by death. There is no salvation apart from Christ! From the Profit Ezekiel: “And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes.” (Ezekiel 47:9) Come, won’t you receive the Healing Water and turn from the death-sentence of sin?

 

Fr. Gabriel Weller 4/29/18

THE KING AND I

For over three years our Lord Jesus the Christ has gone city to city, village to village, field to field proclaiming the Kingdom of God is near, repent! And now, the Anointed One enters into the Holy City as a lowly servant to claim His Kingdom, surrendering His life for ours; “Behold, thy King cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (Zechariah 9:9)

 

In 1 Chronicles probably written 450 years before the birth of Christ We here God’s words to King David: “When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.” (1 Chronicles 17:11-14)

 

Early in the Book of Genesis writer records about the return of the rightful tribal leader, the Messiah: “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.” (Genesis 49:10) Our Lord did not bring armies to seize His Kingdom by the shedding of blood, He brought humility and in His humble mindedness He offered His blood as the only sacrifice necessary to take away the sin of the world! 

 

As we enter into this drama this Holy Week, the last week of Christ’s earthly life, each day brings a new event. The first three days of Holy Week remind us of Christ’s last instructions with his disciples. Jesus enters into the Most-High temple and cleanses it! “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations? But ye made it ‘a den of robbers.’” [Mk. 11:17] On Tuesday He teaches in the temple, Wednesday betrayed by Judas, Thursday the last Supper, Great and Holy Friday Jesus dies on the Cross, Saturday He descends into Hades, celebrated as the “First Resurrection” of Adam and the conquering of Death and frees the Saints from bondage, and then Great and Most Holy Sunday, He is Risen!!

 

 

This week is the most highly attended services of the year! People still come just as they did back then and they flock to Him wherever He goes! Folks are drawn to Him because His truth sterilizes our hearts. The truth is; I am a sinner in need of salvation! My human pride would rather have me not judged by a high king sitting on a throne, so our loving Father sends His Son riding on a lowly donkey and offers Him as a sacrificial lamb to cleanse my crimson stain (Isaiah 1:18). And yet I justifiably refuse to fast. I proudly refuse to forgive, after all, I am right and they are all wrong! I judge in blind arrogance and yet this is the fallen condition I find myself in or I chose to continue to wallow around in like a hog in filth. Hosanna set me free from the chains of hell that I continue lust after and make this unworthy, wounded man usable in your Kingdom!

Fr Gabriel Weller 4/1/2018

BILLY GRAHAM

“The thief does not come except that he might steal, and slay, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.” [Jn. 10:10]

 

In today’s world, information travels instantly. We have seen and heard live posts from an event or tragedy within seconds after they happened. We, as a nation, have never become so callused by the loss of innocent life as we are now. We literally see it hourly all around the world. Some of us have seemed to have formed a since of detachment from things that do not have a physical or financial affect directly on us. It is a coping skill to continue on with our tasks and lives and for some a realization that God will somehow bring about good, even out of the worst scenarios. But how can we make a difference?

 

In our daily struggles we find two choices. We can live every minute serving God, or we can choose to serve the thief! Saint Gregory Palamas writes: “…we are not without hope of salvation, nor is it at all the right time for us to despair. All our life is a season of repentance, for God ‘desires not the death of the sinner’, as it is written, ‘but that the wicked turn from his way and live’ (cf. Ez. 33:11 LXX). For, if there were no hope of turning back, why would death not have followed immediately on disobedience, and why would we not be deprived of life as soon as we sin? For where there is hope of turning back, there is no room for despair.”

 

Earlier this week we lay to rest a great example of someone who helped a lot of people into the Light of Christ, he made a difference! He spoke to me personally in a loving manor from across the arena at the Norfolk Scope when I was a preteen and touched a cancerous darkness that was hiding in my heart. Although as I matured, we did not agree on everything to do concerning God, but Billy Graham helped me realize that something was missing in my life and I needed Christ to conquer the darkness storming around inside me.

 

And as I remember the Orthodox Saints of the Church, I reflect upon all the times I could have helped someone but instead kept the light of Christ selfishly hidden, allowing the thief to steal, slay and destroy. And we all see the results daily of that selfishness in the news and social media. Helping one person seek the Light can literally affect millions of people. For we who believe, a genuine response to God involves faith, repentance and obedience. “Let not your heart be troubled; keep on believing in God, and believing in Me.” [Jn. 14:1] And we here: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” [Mt. 28:19] Why are you here on this Earth? “Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”(James 2:17) Make a difference!

 

Fr. Gabriel Weller 3-4-18

SORRY or NOT

I’m sorry, was the response I murmured as I stood before my parental unit, saying the words, but not fully owning the repentance. I realized that in their eyes I had crossed the line of right and wrong by the look of displeasure on their faces; now aware, and now replaying my actions within my mind to decide wither I wanted to modify my behavior in the future or choose to accept the consequences!

 

I begin here with this reflection as we embrace the season of repentance and forgiveness. As Orthodox Christians, we need to self examine our behaviors and practice methods that help us modify our actions to increase our humility, loving our neighbors will never be easy. If we seek to a change a behavioral pattern to help us improve our flaws, we realize a since of discomfort, or a new unfamiliar behavioral pattern. And one way we help accomplish this is by fasting! We know that just within the contents of the four Gospels, fasting is spoken of in a constructive way, over twenty times.

 

From the Cheesefare Synaxarion we read: Since we have so suffered from Adam’s failure to keep the fast, this event is commemorated today at the beginning of Great Lent, so that keeping in mind the enormous evil brought about by Adam’s intemperance, we may make joyful haste to accept and keep the fast. And as Adam sinned in his desire to become godlike, we may thereby receive godliness through fasting, tears and humility until God visits us; for without these it is impossible to regain that which we have lost. For the sake of Adam’s greed the Lord fasted for forty days and was obedient. It was for this reason that the holy Apostles conceived this present forty-day fast, so that as Adam forfeited incorruption through his gluttony, we may regain it through abstinence. It was the intent of the Holy Fathers through the Triodion to relate in a condensed form all of God’s acts from the beginning to the end of the world. Since Adam’s transgression and fall through the eating of the fruit of the tree is the principal cause of the state of mankind, the Fathers urge us who are observing this remembrance to avoid Adam’s sin and to shun overindulgence in all things.

 

The church recognizes that some people have health concerns that prevent them from practicing a vegan fast and they are then expected to fast in other meaningful ways, giving up things that have become worldly distractions in their everyday life or lessening their earthly footprint and increasing their since of self-awareness! Perhaps we can consider these few healthy behaviors to improve on: time for morning and evening prayers, daily scripture reading and or daily readings of the lives of the saints, visiting the shut-ins and retirement homes, feeding the homeless, cleaning and volunteering at church, increasing our tithe and alms, more frequent confession and communion and self-examination.

 

In this Lenten season, it is also important that we turn our attention to the Cross, where our Savior died for our sins. We must admit that we choose to sin. Saint Simeon the New Theologian states: “let no one invent excuses for his sins and say that we, by virtue of the transgression of Adam, are entirely subject to the action of the devil and are dragged by force into sin.” In our course in life there are choices, and we have the freedom to be God-Seekers or stuck in the muck where the maggots never die. (Mark 9:44-48) All things of this world shall perish, but a relationship with God will remain. [Mt. 11:29-30] And Blessed Theophylact writes that:”The yoke of Christ is humility and meekness. For he who humbles himself before all men has rest and remains untroubled.”

 

Forgive me a sinner! Forgive me in the ways that I have failed as a man with my lack of love for mankind and forgive me in the ways I have failed you as a priest!

 

Fr. Gabriel Weller 2-18-18

HOG SLOP

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the greatest sinner of them all? We often check our outward appearance in the mirror before we go out into public. We want people to see us at our best and really not know our inner secrets and struggles! After all, mirrors don’t lie, or do they?

 

But who needs mirrors? Our outward and inward appearance can now be sampled on the new social media channels. Back before this reality social media, it was much easier to be two-faced, giving folks only what we wanted them to see. Now, there are hard-drives recording our thoughts, choices and actions just about all the time. Who are we working for, Christ our God or the great deceiver? St. Paul instructs us: “And everything, whatsoever ye may do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the God and Father through Him.” [Col. 3:17]

 

We’ve all heard the expression “You are what you eat!” In Luke 15 we read: “And he was longing to fill his belly from the husks, which the swine were eating. [Lk. 15:16] Back on the farm we called that hog slop and my impression at a young age was that only the hogs would eat it. And yet we all prodigally seek worldly death filling the last minutes of our lives with slop? After all, every minute could be our last minute! We continue rooting around in the bottom of the trough for substance when the end of our Earthly life in nearing.

 

Why do we look in the trough when our Creator has given each and every one of us great wealth? We are to inherit a great Kingdom with life never-ending! We just have to turn from our streak of independence just like the prodigal son and be about our Father’s business. Blessed Theophylact writes: [Lk. 15:17] “Then he came to himself, he became rational, and came to repent from his wanderings about outside.” [P.G. 123:407C (col. 953).]

 

A banquet has been prepared and the nutritional value is not of this world. Won’t you come? We read in the 23rd Psalm: “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Won’t you come to the table that has been prepared? Turn away from the troughs of hog-slop, repent and come home. Your Father is waiting, He is longing for your embrace!

 

Fr. Gabriel Weller 2-4-18

“I’M A GONNA”

“Every tree which produceth not good fruit is cut off and cast into the fire.” [Mt. 7:19] The story of the stingy tax collector Zacchaeus begins our journey towards lent. There in the ancient Canaanite city of Jericho, a man that was dead in sin crawled up out of his rut into a tree and embraced the Lord, no more hiding, no more excuses!

 
We visited this tree in 2010 in Jericho and discovered that a Sycamore tree in the Middle Eastern region is a type of fig tree, ficus sycomorus. This species is well known to have a massive root system to sustain it. And then I am reminded that when Christ begins His journey to Jerusalem to His crucifixion, he curses a similar fig tree for not bearing good fruit. In the Gospel of St. Matthew: “Let there be no more fruit from thee forever.” And forthwith the tree was withered.” [Mt. 21:19] That was a different tree at a different time but this fig tree in Jericho in our Gospel reading today bore good fruit! Repentance had come to Zacchaeus. Saint Ephraim the Syrian says: “The fig that cast its fruit, that refused fruit, offered Zacchaeos as fruit; the fruit of its own nature it gave not, but it yielded one reasonable fruit!” [Hymn III on the Nativity, in Nicene, 2nd Ser., XIII:230.]

 
Zacchaeus tells Jesus that he is GONNA CHANGE! Zacchæus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, the half of my possessions, Lord, I give to the poor; and if I extorted anything of anyone by false charges, I give back fourfold.” [Lk. 19:8]

 
We have read the scripture: “But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and ‘no,’ ‘no’.[Mt. 5:37] And we know that Zaachaeus did what he said he was going to do and found repentance. He was even later made one of the Seventy Apostles. And after the Lord Ascended; he traveled with Peter and later became Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine.

 
Saint Gregory the Great writes: “Each of you, in his own way, inasmuch as he has a place in this present life, takes up the ground like a barren tree, if he does not produce the fruit of good works….A person who troubles the hearts of others is taking up the ground; a person who does not use the place he holds for good works is taking up the ground. But it is our duty to make intercession for people like this.” [Hom. 31, Forty Gospel Homilies, 251; Hom. 31, P.L. 76 (col. 1228).] We are to pray for each other to be fruity! We are to serve each other in love and action. Don’t be stingy, seek life in Christ!

 
Taste and see that the Lord is good! Climb that fig tree; pull yourselves up out of the sinful ruts that seem all too familiar and say to the Lord: “I’M A GONNA CHANGE”! And let your very existence thirst for the Lord like that invasive rooted sycamore tree seeking life-sustaining water, bearing good fruit in the middle of your desert!

 

Fr. Gabriel Weller 1-21-18

SELFISH LOVE

As my time left on this earth becomes shorter I often reflect upon what really brings me joy and happiness. Around this time year in the past, I usually had a short and long list of things I coveted and desired. But I now struggle to even give basic gift ideas when asked. After all, I already have a large collection of stuff!

 
Well, I am not ready to kick the bucket yet but material items are not as precious to me now as is inner peace and love of creation. Living in a community of blood-kin, I will always have a feeling of belonging and acceptance. Being part of a church family I will always know I am deeply cared and prayed for. But the most satisfying belief I treasure is knowing that the One who created me loves me and wants what is selfishly going to draw me closer to Him!

 
We find a similar love in “Good Parenting.” Put a coat on, look both ways before you cross the street, share your toys with your sister, do your homework, don’t pick your nose (or at least not in public), clean up your mess, eat your dinner – there are starving folks in the world, are all examples of things we heard in our developmental years and they are also things we share now with our younger generation. It is not nagging but it is a selfish genuine parental love coming from someone who deeply cares. It comes from someone who wants us to learn to love each other as Jesus has taught us!

 
We heard in Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae that we must put to death everything in ourselves that prevents us from doing God’s will. “But now ye also put off from yourselves all these things: wrath, anger, malice, blasphemy, foul language out of your mouth. Cease lying to one another, since ye have put off the old man with his practice”. [Col. 3:8-9] It is so easy to misplace our sense of direction and especially when we add stress to the Nativity Season. After all, stress is deeply rooted in love of self!

 

 

 

It seems that in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, as we mature we find that time is the most coveted gift we have. Visit the shut-ins, offer gifts or deeds of love, pray for everyone you encounter, especially those that irritate you and spend every last minute of your life preparing for the judgment that will soon follow. “Whenever the Christ, Who is your life, should be made manifest, then also ye shall be made manifest with Him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry, On account of which things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” [Col. 3:4-6]

 

 

 

I pray that this Nativity season will bring you heavenly peace and joy as we let loose our worldly crutches and selfishly strive to be more Christ-like in our remaining time here and now. And that in every moment someone makes us angry we cease the opportunity to recognize that we are not the most important thing in our lives, but how we selfishly spend our precious time left loving all of God’s creation is.

 

 

 

Fr. Gabriel Weller 12-24-17

Blowin In The Wind

The fall time of the year is such a colorful time in our lives. The green lush spring is now infused with trees of color. Scientist believe that leaves change color as the daylight hours draw shorter and it becomes cooler in the night. A biochemical processes in the leaves begin to paint the landscape with Nature’s autumn palette. Pretty soon the brilliant colors will become drab and the now deadened leafs will fall to the ground and blow into my yard. But it wasn’t that long ago that the days began to get longer and the brown and gray vegetation became green with life. Cultivators went to work preparing and planting. Warmth came with insects and pollination and gentle rain for nourishment. And now with the season of growth nearing its end, we look for nature’s lifeless period in its’ next season.

 
Our earthly life also has seasons. At times there is newness of life and also at times a bit drab or demise. Newness of life is at its peak when we Christians find repentance and forgiveness. This is our cultivating season and our Lord sends His grace for pollination which for us repentant is the spreading of His love through love. And His mercy rains down on us quenching our Godless drought of self-love and self-pity. And in this time of spiritual harvest, we move closer to the Divine and our healthy colors are brilliant and vibrant.

 
Forgetting to put God first in all things brings darkness over our souls and we begin our decent into the drab colorless season in our lives. Turning from God severs our eternal nutrient supply. In the last number of years my wife has noticed another color change in me. On occasion, she sees a color change in my face. Redness appears in my checks if my blood pressure is elevated. This redness occurs if I am hustling about doing tasks or if I am experiencing anger with my fellow man. As far as my health is concerned, I am getting older but I do not make time to stay in shape and I do not always take into consideration the nutritional foods that I eat. The fast will be here soon to help me with this! Maybe with all the leaves arriving in my yard I can gain some exercise by raking and gathering them.  And as far as my spiritual health, I continue to be angered by my fellow man instead of looking inward, blowing like a dead leaf in the wind. My type “A” personality blinds me and my world at times only contains me! I fail to exercise my soul as I forget my salvation. Saint John of Damaskos says: “Without practice and preparation it is not possible for anyone to attain deification (theosis) and communion with God.”

 
In my busyness, I don’t take ample time to help my brother, Lazarus (Lk 16:29). Maybe if I knew when my earthly expiration date was, I would spend more time being about my Father’s business. Maybe if I spend more time reading about Moses and the prophets than wasting my life away on electronic entertainment I would be better prepared for the next life and the judgment in which all my deeds will be made known. Rest assured, our days on this Earth are numbered and the pursuit of purple and fine linen takes away the time we have been given to be the church. We cannot allow the winds of time to blow us around where the winds will take us! We need to put our salvation as the most important task in our lives! We need to stay in the season of growth springing our souls to be more like God, finding our salvific nutrients in the deep fertile soil of Orthodoxy and becoming more vibrant in the Holy Sacraments of the church. Less of me, More of Him!

 
Fr. Gabriel Weller 11-5-17

MORTALITY

And He approached and touched the bier, and those bearing it stood still. And He said: “Young man, I say to thee, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to talk. And He gave him to his mother. [Lk.7:14-15]

 
The young man in the Gospel reading this morning was lifeless; his very heart had stopped beating. His future earthly plans were now in shambles; his mother was grieving for her great loss. And then into the emptiness of death walked the brilliance of everything that is. And those lifeless members of his body that were dead were now restored to life and humanity.

 
Both the mother and son would eventually repose in their mortality because this life that we now struggle with is just temporary. But there is another kind of death that we wrestle with that is even greater than mortality. If we spend our days and hours without Christ we will truly learn what it means to suffer. Venerable St. Bade says: “Whoever will not guard his senses, leaves open a way for death to enter!” And St. Ambrose writes: “You must not be greatly troubled about many things, but you should care for the main thing — preparing yourself for death.” St. Ambrose of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

 

 

Our body will return to the earth but not be lost, and our soul will embrace judgment. Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believeth in Me, though he die, he shall live; “and everyone who liveth and believeth in Me, in no wise shall ever die. Believest thou this?” [Jn. 11:25-26] These ideas are captured in the Epistle of the Eastern Patriarchs on the Orthodox Faith: “We believe that the souls of the dead are in a state of blessedness or torment according to their deeds. After being separated from the body they immediately pass over either to joy or into sorrow and grief; however, they do not feel either complete blessedness or complete torment. For complete blessedness or complete torment each one receives after the general resurrection, when the soul is reunited with the body in which it lived in virtue or vice.” (The Epistle of the Eastern Patriarchs on the Orthodox Faith, paragraph 18)

 
Be not afraid for God is working in our lives to save us from our destruction. His grace is an invisible element in the air we breathe with visible results. His grace is the love of your Heavenly Father longing for you to come home. Christ touches our deathly bier at the Sacrament of Holy Communion, restoring that which was confessed to newness. “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

 
St. Dorotheos of Gaza writes: “A man obtains the fear of God if he has the remembrance of his unavoidable death and of the eternal torments that await sinners; If he tests himself every evening as to how he has spent the day, and every morning as to how he has spent the night, and if he is not sharp in his relations with others.” (St. Dorotheos, Soul-Profiting Teachings, 4)

 
Let go of this world and its death and thirst for the next! Do not be troubled and hold on to Christ who has defeated death with death and is waiting for you to come home!

Fr. Gabriel Weller 10/22/17