HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY

Saint Ambrose writes: “Saint Matthew fully reveals and says, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’ for a man poor in spirit is not puffed up, is not exalted in the mind of his own flesh.” [Ib., Bk. V, § 53.] The Greek word used here in the Beatitudes is (makavrio~) an adjective that means happy, “Happy (Blessed) are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens.” [Mt. 5:3]


The prophet Isaiah records it this way: “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!” (Is.5.21) Our fake wisdom or ego can be used against us to blind us of our many faults. If we allow these faults to take root they will stunt the growth of our good seed, the seed that bears salvific fruit. Listen to the words from St. Hesychios the Priest: “Just as it is impossible to fight battles without weapons, or to swim a great sea with clothes on, or to live without breathing, so without humility and the constant prayer to Christ it is impossible to master the art of inward spiritual warfare or to set about it and pursue it skillfully.”

Fr. Stephen Freeman writes: “The ego never understands. It judges, compares, even “tries an idea on,” but never understands. Understanding is a function of the heart. The ego is riddled with anxiety (its existence is often maintained by constant anxiety). Cares and deceit will rob it of any true planting in the word. In truth, there is no soil in the ego. The heart is the place where we have “root” in ourselves. It is the seat of understanding. There, and there alone, the seed bears fruit.”


The heart is where happiness matures as we separate ourselves from worldly distractions and cares. My granddad Rufus when he was young would hitch up his work horse, Dan, and put blinders or blinkers on the horse’s eyes so he could not be distracted by what was happening beside or behind him. With the sounds of the daily work and the activity of wildlife springing to life around the farm, Dan, the work horse only looked ahead, undistracted!


We can also find a type of spiritual blinkers or blinders as we look inward into our soil that is in constant need of weeding. We continually say the “Jesus Prayer” as we go about our day; this is our most skilful weapon as we plant Christ in the middle of our bombardment of hourly thoughts and distractions. We look to the teachings of Christ as St. Ignatius reminds us: “The Lord remained silent before Pilate and Herod; He made no attempt to justify Himself. You must imitate His holy and wise silence when you see that your enemies accuse you, with every intention of certain conviction.” St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, (The Cup of Christ)


And just as Granddad needed Dan to till the soil, pull the fertilizer wagon and help plant and harvest the bountiful harvest from the rich soil, we also must work, fertilize, and plant the teachings of Christ deep into the fertile soil of our hearts and not allow our ego and the deafening noise of the world in which we live to prevent us from finding and anchoring our future in the joyful happiness only found in the field of salvation, which is in Jesus Christ.


And He lifted up His eyes to His disciples, and began to say: “Happy are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Happy are ye who hunger now, for ye shall be filled. Happy are ye who weep now, for ye shall laugh. “Happy are ye whenever men hate you, and whenever they separate you, and reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man. [Lk. 6:20-22] Happy! Happy! Happy!


Fr. Gabriel Weller 7-4-2021

STINK-EYE

Saint Paul tells us the story of what happens to true followers of Christ! Did you hear what the epistle proclaimed this morning? “Others were tortured, not accepting release, that they might attain a better resurrection. And others received trial of mockings and of scourging,” if we read the bible we remember aged Eleazar (2 Maccabees 6:30), martyred because he would not pollute himself with swine’s flesh and the “flesh taken from the sacrifice commanded by the king,” the martyrdom of seven brethren, who for their adherence to their law were put to death with cruel tortures. Hebrews 11:9Hebrews 11:14Hebrews 11:23Hebrews 11:29Hebrews 11:36.) And remember Joseph was cast into a prison, Jeremiah was let down into a dungeon full of mire,Jeremiah 37:13Jeremiah 37:16Jeremiah 38:6); and the prophet Micaiah was imprisoned by Ahab. (1 Kings 22:27)

They were stoned, they were sawn asunder,” which was a common method of punishment among the Jews (Matthew 21:35). Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the priest, was stoned; (2 Chronicles 24:21, 1 Kings 21:1-14). It is not unlikely that this was often resorted to in times of popular turmoil, as in the case of Stephen Acts 7:59John 10:31Acts 14:5). In the time of the terrible persecutions under Antiochus Epiphanes and under Manasseh, such instances also probably occurred. “They were tempted; they died, murdered by the sword,” as in the case of the eighty-five priests slain by the sword of Doeg (1 Samuel 22:18), and the prophets of whose slaughter by the sword Elijah grumbled to the Lord; (1 Kings 19:10).They went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being in need, afflicted, ill-treated of whom the world was not worthy. They were made to wander in deserts, and in mountains, and in caves, and in the holes of the earth. And these all, having been approved by testimony through faith, received not for themselves the promise, God having foreseen some better thing concerning us, that they should not be made perfect without us.” [Heb. 11:35-40] We adorn the church in red today in remembrance the sacrifice of saints!

Therefore we also, having so great a cloud of witnesses which is set around us, and having laid aside every weight and sin that is easily circumvented, let us by means of patience be running the course which is set before us.” [Heb. 12:1] [Heb. 12:1b.]  Saint Chrysostom writes: “The memory of those saints establishes and recovers the soul, which has been exhausted by ills, as a cloud that provides shade from the most flaming heat of the sun’s rays….which creates for us a greater freedom from fear….‘Let us lay aside all things’ (ajpoqevmenoi pavnta). All what? That is, slumber, negligence, mean reasonings, all human affairs. And sin ‘which easily circumvents us’ or ‘that is easily circumvented’ (eujperivstaton)—but rather this latter. For it is easier, if we wish, to prevail over sin.” [Hom. 28, P.G. 63:256 (col. 193).]

So, what is a Saint? A Saint is someone who lives according to what he says he believes no matter what, and what he believes is the Gospel teachings of our risen Lord Jesus Christ. To be a Saint, to be holy, is to struggle, to labor with faith, with desire, with the right priorities, and with courage. The Lord defines for us what a Saint is in this reading about the Cross. He says: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my   Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt 10:32)

Of course here at Holy Myrrhbearers, we always are at our best saintly behavior! However, we should never comment about someone never bringing food to share, or never staying to help cleanup, or someone never volunteering for anything, anytime! These opportunities are here for our salvation! And certainly we never want to hear someone comment about someone’s children bad behavior, or the way someone is dressed, or how badly they sing. Leave these things to the priests to address! Confess these temptations to us and don’t let them fester! And we never, never, never see anyone saw asunder some poor soul with the razor sharp STINK-EYE! We all stand here at the greatest banquet available to mankind, but yet at times we are starving. You can’t get to heaven by yourself, you need all these people here that are distracting you, you need all the people who irritate you, that expect you to do more than your share, and you need the love of everyone one whom you encounter. You simply are not alone and as a family, we will work towards salvation with one act of love at a time!

Fr. Gabriel Weller 6-27-2021

When The Going Gets Tough!

My phys-ed teacher back in junior high told us boys:”When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” We young lads were part of the way through our Presidential Fitness testing and we all were showing signs of wear and tear! Our instructor used those very words to inspire us and for us to give this test our best effort.

There are also times in adulthood when we are already weary and too exhausted with the daily chores and tests of life. Fr. John Moses would take that statement and change it to let us know that we never need to go to battle alone. He would say:” When the going gets tough, the tough call their priest!”

There are also many stories of faith testing lived by the saints of the church, and the one that comes to mind today is read in the Epistle in the Book of Acts 16:16-34. Being drug off, beat with rods and cast into the darkness of prison, the going was very rough for Saints Paul and Silas! They were cast into the inner prison and their feet were bound in stocks. And when their going was tough and seeming hopeless, Saints Paul and Silas began to pray and sing praises unto the Lord!

Well needless to say, I am way, way far from sainthood! When my going gets tough I am usually not thankful but instead mad and blaming everyone and everything for my current obstacle course. Poor little ole me!! I do eventually try to wrestle with my negativity but it seems like I am in the wrestling ring with Andre the Giant, greatly outnumbered and fundamentally overwhelmed. By the grace of God and the working of the Holy Spirit, eventually I am able to stop being narrow minded and selfish and look for the beams of light giving me hope, and then count my many, many blessings and press on! Tomorrow will bring a new day and a new opportunity to strengthen the Kingdom of Heaven, or at least in my little part of my world. Maybe I can shed a little light where He takes me.

 St. Antioch teaches, when despair attacks us let us not yield to it, but being strengthened and protected by the light of faith, with great courage let us say to the evil spirit: “What are you to us, estranged from God, a fugitive from heaven and evil servant? You dare do nothing to us. Christ, the Son of God, has authority both over us and over everything. It is against Him that we have sinned, and before Him that we will be justified. And you, destroyer, leave us. Strengthen by His venerable Cross, we trample under foot your serpent’s head” (St. Antioch, Discourse 27).

Let’s face it; the going is going to get tough! You came naked into this world. You will also leave naked. You arrived weak. And weak you will depart. You came without money and things. You will leave without money and things. (Ecclesiastes 5:15-20) St. Nikolai Velimirovich puts it this way: “What does it mean to take up your cross? I means the willing acceptance, at the hand of Providence, of every means of healing, bitter though it may be, that is offered. Do great catastrophes fall on you? Be obedient to God’s will, as Noah was. Is sacrifice demanded of you? Give yourself into God’s hands with the same faith as Abram had when he went to sacrifice his son. Is your property ruined? Do your children die suddenly? Suffer it all with patience, cleaving to God in your heart, as Job did. Do your friends forsake you, and you find yourself surrounded by enemies? Bear it all without grumbling, and with faith that God’s help is at hand, as the apostles did.”(St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Homilies, Vol. 1)

It is time to get going! Saints Paul and Silas, pray to God for us!!!

Fr. Gabriel Weller 6-6-2021

HELP WANTED

Seems like everywhere I go I see help wanted signs posted. With the sluggishness of folks getting back to work after this storm of trials and tribulations, industries and businesses are needing willing hands to come and join their work force. Poultry houses actually sit empty as there are not enough workers to harvest the birds driving the price of groceries up. The price of lumber has soared to never before seen prices as the lumber yards have lost their supply of trees to harvest and so and so on! I have even heard some advertisements offering thousands of dollars as a bonus for new hires that show up for work for at least 30 days. I also know of some people that changed careers to take advantage of those bonuses. Well I hope the grass is greener for their choices.


There is another Help Wanted offering that we all need to participate in! We are also called to serve our Lord. Especially in these confusing times, we need to serve each other even more. Even though we may not see each other as frequently, we need to reach out and connect with each other. With all the new media platforms there simply is no excuse not too! This is not the priest’s job, but everyone’s job. And please remember to always pray without ceasing! (1 Thessalonians 5:17) We are FAMILY!!! This is simply not work, this is salvation!


We also constantly need volunteers to help clean, sing, teach and serve. The bonus for this type of job is out of this world! Our Lord was condemned to death on our cross of freedom so that we will have ample opportunity to help Him build His Church! Help is most wanted! “For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” [Mk. 10:45] Saint John Chrysostom writes: “Never fear as though thine honor were pulled down if thou humblest thyself, for in this, much rather, is thy glory lifted up, and it becomes greater. This is the door of the kingdom.” [Ib., P.G. 58:649, 650 (col. 623).]


We are too tithe ten percent of our time to our Lord, and THOU SHALT NOT STEAL! St. Mary of Egypt spent the first part of her life selfishly stealing her time in this life We heard the words actions in the Vesper Service last night remembering Venerable Mary of Egypt: “The pollution of past sins prevented thee from entering the church to see the elevation of the Holy Cross, but then thy conscience and the awareness of thine actions turned thee, 0 wise in God, to a better way of life, and having looked upon the icon of the blessed Maid of God, thou has condemned all thy previous transgressions, 0 Mother worthy of all praise, and so has gone with boldness to venerate the Precious Cross.”


Help Wanted is about taking action, your salvation depends upon it. No prior experience is necessary! Glory to Thee!!!


Fr. Gabriel Weller 4-18-2021

REMOTE-CONTROL

Back when I was a boy, I was the remote control! Rest assured, I was a lot of other things including a lot of hungry, but I was the gadget used to ensure entertainment. We had a black and white console with rabbit ears that would land 3 local stations on to our TV screen. When it was time to change the station, I was the device used to flip channels. I could flip the dial clockwise and counterclockwise swiftly as well as anyone else and perfectly adjust the fine tuning with the turn of the dial! We kids were only allowed and hour and half of TV a day, so we had to choose wisely, and so all my day was not occupied being controlled by what to watch. Of course, there is much less to watch these days with Follywood increasingly pushing modernism and atheism on its’ hypnotized audience.  

As if he was being controlled by a remote control, the deaf and dumb boy in the Gospel of St. Mark this morning was being controlled by the evil one. Being thrown into the fire or the water and foaming at the mouth and gnashing his teeth (Mark 9:17-31). According to the fathers, deaf because the fallen one would not allow the boy to hear the word of God, and dumb because the boy could not speak and praise God. Sometimes I let the fallen one have control of mind and my foaming tongue as well! When we allow the evil one to push our buttons, we are being thrown into the fire and then into the water as well. Our mouths may not yet be foaming, but we are on the path to that type of drooling enslavement.

I tend to also allow him to throw me into the fiery paths of anger and lust as well. And if that was not enough, with my jealousy, hatred and rage I continue to be tossed into the burn pile. And then I let my guard down and allow the waves of worldly care to consume me as if I had fallen off my life raft!  

This is the time of fasting, confession and prayer! There is no freedom in sin! As enticed as we may be with what seems to be freedom to sin and all its trimmings, in actuality we are surrendering our true freedom over to the evil one, and rest assured he will be pushing your buttons!  St. Justin Popovich instructs us: “In truth there is only one freedom – the holy freedom of Christ, whereby He freed us from sin, from evil, from the devil. It binds us to God. All other freedoms are illusory, false, that is to say, they are all, in fact, slavery.” St. Justin Popovich, Ascetical and Theological Chapters, II.36

Fr. Gabriel Weller 4-11-2021

BUZZARD BAIT

We chose to live or we chose to die! Think about it, every choice every day is either to be buzzard bait or joyfully alive in Christ! The Gospel writer Mark states it like this: “For what shall it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his soul? [Mk. 8:36] It seems as though life goes by very fast and to actually take a moment and size up each and every choice seems impossible. But, that is part of the problem. Is our life so busy because we have haphazardly chosen so many distractions? Have we been caught up in the pursuit of unhappiness?

Something has to give! When our schedules are so jammed packed, we tend to prioritize our energy at what seems to be our most clear choices for our near future. We easily forget that we are only here for a short time and tomorrow may not come. Did we make the most of our day or squander our opportunity to draw near to the One who loves? Did we lovingly react to all the people we encountered today or gripe and complain about them?

Just how do we do that? He said to them, “Whosoever is willing to follow after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and keep on following Me. [Mk. 8:34] Deny myself means that no matter what a bad day I have had, no matter what afflictions I am nursing, no matter what is storming out of control in my life, I love you first and look past my fleshy distractions. My salvation depends on my unselfishness and His grace. Elder Porphyrios states: “God gives us His Grace, when we are humble.” 

Making “life” in Christour only priority takes work. It takes an increase in humility as we pull the weeds out of our gardens. “Increasing self-criticism is the sign of increasing humility. Indeed, there is no clearer sign.” (The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step Four, On Obedience)  More of Him, less of me! How can I be a blessing today!

I pray that you and I will struggle in this conversion and become a better icon of the One who died on the cross for us. And in that process, we will cease being stinky buzzard bait!

Fr. Gabriel Weller 4-4-21

UNIQUE

We have all heard the phrase; God sure broke the mold when He made her! That has been used usually to describe some one that is a huge blessing in people’s lives, or occasionally describes someone just the opposite of a good blessing! If we take a minute to ponder on that statement, life sure would be boring if we were all the same or made identically from the same mold! We would have the same job, same hair, same clothes, same aches and pains, and same attitude and ambitions. Think about the traffic jams! And it sure would be hard to get a word in amongst ourselves, wouldn’t it?

As I boy I was given a set of metal molds that I poured goop in and then cooked this mold in an oven. Once cooked, I had made my very own plastic spiders and creepy crawlers. They were always identical in shape, size and the number of legs, and only differed in the color variations of the goop. Then of course once the creepy crawlers were done as any active loving boy would do, I hid the spiders and bugs around the house to await a surprise reaction from my older sisters!  

Thanks be to God, it is a safe assumption that we humans are all unique. Yes, He has made us either male or female with some basic similar needs but we are all created differently. After all, I am going to tell you right now, some of you would look kind of funny with a long, grey beard like mine! Now rest assured, we all have the very same Father and we have all received a gift of grace, but our gifts differ and are unique to us. [Eph. 4:7] This gift is given freely but it is geared towards building His Church and restoring everything to its incorrupt and natural state! (Eph 4:7-13) We are created to bring holiness into our little part of the world.

When our Lord entered the River of Jordan, He restored the water to its right relationship with God, pure as the Garden of Eden. His baptism was not to cleanse the Sinless One but to make the waters Holy! When we have our homes blessed with the water of Theophany, we too join our homes and families into a correct relationship seeking after the Kingdom of Heaven, cleansing it from all impurities. We drink the Holy Water to cleanse our bodies from the rancid world and everything that separates us from Christ!

In our baptism, Christ shares life eternal with us as He scrubs away our stains. Death for us has been defeated! Our Earthly death is now an entrance into life eternal. It is not what we deserve; it is what He desires for us. We seek to just make our daily lives a liturgy, glorifying our Creator.

St. John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco writes: Now the Church consists of both her earthly and heavenly parts, for the Son of God came to earth and became man that He might lead man into heaven and make him once again a citizen of Paradise, returning to him his original state of sinlessness and wholeness and uniting him unto Himself. This is accomplished by the action of Divine grace granted through the Church, but man’s effort is also required. God saves His fallen creature by His own love for him, but man’s love for his Creator is also necessary; without it he cannot by saved. Striving towards God and cleaving unto the Lord by its humble love, the human soul obtains power to cleanse itself from sin and to strengthen itself for the struggle to complete victory over sin. “The Church as the Body of Christ,” Man of God: Saint John of Shanghai & San Francisco

Fr. Gabriel Weller 1-24-2021

Boy, Are You Coming?

Sitting at the supper table many moons ago, Grandma informed Granddad that there was a big wasp nest above the brooder house door. She had been busy that day making her newly arrived chicks happy, warm and safe. Granddad hurriedly finished his supper and looked at me asked: “Boy, are you coming?” He liked to call me “boy” to my Grandma’s disapprovement, but it made me feel like family, and loved with deep affection. We moved quickly to the chicken yard trying to beat sundown to the draw. Granddad stopped along the way and grabbed a ladder. I asked him if he needed some gas or diesel or hornet spray but he grinned and headed for the brooder house. He spotted the nest and climbed the rungs of the ladder and took his big, powerful hand and squished the nest and pulled it down. I know from the way my eyes felt that they were stretched wide open, from ear to ear. Swallowing hard, I asked if he had been stung because he was calm and did not flinch and inch! He grinned and said: “Yes, a time or two, but it was good for my arthritis! “

Granddad was focused and motivated to overcome the impediment that was tempting Grandma. He had many struggles in life including the Great Depression and loss of his first wife after the birth of his third child. He toiled the Earth by day and milked his Holsteins before sunup and again before dark each and every day, and then spent his evening reading his bible and preparing a lesson for his Men’s Sunday school class that he taught for 40 years.

If we take time to think about our parents and grandparents and the enormous challenges they faced with the 10 year depression, world wars, new diseases and oppression, just to name a few,  we should find hope in that they may have been wounded or bruised by life, but they stayed focused and moved forward. It was their time, life has a limit! Granddad would tell you, you have to make hay when the sun is shining. Every single day, the cows had to be milked twice and all the animals had to be fed and watered, there were no excuses. It didn’t matter how life had beat you up that day, these things had to be done!   

We heard ringing in our ears today with these clear inductions in the Gospel reading: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Mark 1:3) This should be our daily routine! No matter what else is in your path, each and every day you must enrich your heart with His living blood, transforming yourself into a temple of God. I ask you, are you satisfied with whom you have become or are you remodeling your life to be more like His? Remodeling is hard work; sometimes you need the sledgehammer and a lot of perspiration and blisters!  It is your time, life has a limit!

Sometimes it takes climbing the ladder rungs amongst the stingers, and squishing the obstacles that hinder your progress. We cannot become complacent and allow our guard to drop. We are taught by our forefathers of our Holy Church: that the devil always takes advantage of times of challenge to sow discord and confusion, which lead man into yet greater sorrows and further away from the bosom of Abraham. (1 Peter 5:8, Luke 16:19-31) We simply forget to daily supply our animal its’ nourishment. We starve our soul and dehydrate our brains with worldly cares. We allow the plagues of anger and laziness to rot away at our eternity, placing us in years of depression. We allow the stinger, the fear, to be powerful and crippling instead of a blessing. I pray that you too are focused and motivated and that you will be wide-eyed enough to see His glory, and each and every day, pick up your cross and follow Him!

Boy, Are You Coming?

Fr. Gabriel Weller 1-17-2021

Christmas Wish

Around this time, here in the Valley as we live and breathe the American dream often times you will hear folks ask: what do you want for Christmas? My endorphin hormones enjoy new and shinny things but now as I achingly realize my age, I am more concerned about other things like the wellbeing of my love ones and the challenges they are facing and will face in the near future. And I think I now should spend more time reflecting on my sinfulness and things I still need to improve on in the limited days I have left. Perhaps the Christmas Wish I most desperately need is answered with a bold statement like: Death to the world that still exists within me! [Col. 3:5-6]

Well, that’s easier said than done! I simply alone cannot rid myself of these addictions! I am weak and slothful and easily distracted! And then of course there are my scars and deep wounds that at times get agitated accidently by folks in my day to day walk in life. I am still in need of a Great Healer and Physician. I am in great need of a love that is so pure and unpolluted. I am in great need of a Savior because I can’t seem to cure myself despite my many thirsting attempts.  

Christ is Born so that we may lose the chains of death and lay aside all earthly cares! But we must accept His invitation to come closer! We have to cooperate with His grace by removing all of the obstacles we have surrounded ourselves with that block His Light from penetrating our hearts! St. Paul lists the following obstacles today in his letter to the Church in Colossians: “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience”. [Col 3:5-6] He then mentions “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.” St. Paul follows that up with a warning not to “lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature.” (Col 3:8-9)

These are the pollutants that contaminate our bodies and souls and steal our true joy. They may at times seem small and minuscule but when rot is allowed to remain, deterioration comes to the whole body as it slowly encumbers our eternity. There is no happiness in damnation. Over the years I have found that the things of the Earth that are shinny and new require our attention to preserve them or keep them sparkling. We become their slaves. And over time, they tarnish or rust away anyway. True happiness can only come from above!

“Come; let us seize Paradise hidden in the cave! There the unwatered Root has appeared, blossoming with forgiveness.” (Cannon of the Nativity) He formed us from clay and carefully placed us in the womb and He wishes to restore blessedness to all of mankind. Christ is born at Christmas and hopes we chose Him as our Christmas Wish. Less of us and much more of Him! Glory to Thee who has showed us the Light! (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Fr. Gabriel Weller 12-27-2020

Are You Where You Are Supposed To Be?

Are you where you are supposed to be? We have heard the phrase “I was in the right place at the right time”. So, where is this place, because I want to be there! And I am certain you do too! We all heard the answer to this very question today, in the reading of the Gospel of Luke Chapter 13. A Good Jew was in the synagogue because it was the Sabbath and on this day Christ was there and He was teaching.

What we heard in this reading today was that this woman who was bent over in crippling pain was there as well. You see, she was in the right place, but we believe this was her custom; she managed to bring her broken body to the temple. So for 18 years, she made her way to the temple, despite her infirmity, she was there! But on this day, Christ saw her and had compassion on her laying His hands on her. He physically touched her! Think about it, how powerful is that? Not just to be in His presence but to have the Son of God touch you! Saint Gregory the Great: writes “He called her and straightened her up, because He enlightened and helped her. He calls us, but does not straighten us up….Our repeated sins bind our hearts, so that we cannot rise to an upright condition. They try, but then slip back. Of necessity they fall even when they do not want to, since they have so long acted according to their own wills. “[Ib., 253, 254.]

So I ask, are you in the right place? Where should a Good Christian be? Over the few years I have been here on Earth, I have known some folks that simply have severe physical infirmities and are just unable to make a weekly pilgrimage to the church. I have also known some folks that make choices that block their weekly trip and then others that think they have plenty of time left to work on their salvation. Are you where you are supposed to be?  

Well, we know that our Lord is All-Present (Psalm 33:13-14) but there is something really special here at the church waiting for you. The church is a place where we escape the world and its’ grip and find true worship. And here at the church, the Body of our Risen Lord can physically and mystically touches your tongue when you receive Holy Communion. By eating and drinking the bread and wine which are mystically consecrated by the Holy Spirit, we have indisputable communion with God through Christ who himself is “the bread of life(Jn 6.34, 41).I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”(Jn 6:51)

Saint John of Shanghai & San Francisco writes: “Communion of the holy Body and Blood of Christ, which strengthens our contact with Him and refreshes us with the living streams of the grace of the Holy Spirit flowing through the Body of the Church, is necessary for everyone.” St. John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, “The Church as the Body of Christ”( Man of God: Saint John of Shanghai & San Francisco‘ border=0 v:shapes=”_x0000_i1025″>)  You need to be here, you are deeply thirsting for Him. (Psalm 33:13-14)  You need that physical touch from the One who suffered and died and defeated death and yearns to touch your crippled body and soul for that which is beneficial for your salvation. Won’t you come?

Fr. Gabriel Weller 12-13-2020