LABOR DAY

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers and was established in 1887 by President Grover Cleveland. Labor Day is an annual national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country! In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution here in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven days a week just in order to merely survive. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. When the workers pushed back, Chicago became the setting for the bloody Pullman strike of 1894, which catalyzed the establishment of an official Labor Day holiday in the U.S.

There is another Labor Day we Christians celebrate and it happens more frequently! We, the laborers for our Lord are given one day week as a day of rest. The commandment given to Moses says “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it”(Ex 20:8-11)

In the ancient Jewish and Orthodox liturgical times, the next day begins at sundown. For the Jews the day of rest is Saturday. For us Orthodox people the day of rest begins after Great Vespers Saturday evening and completes Sunday evening well after the reception of the Lord’s Supper. It is a celebration of the resurrection of Christ. In Genesis we read: “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (Gen 2:1-3)

The Sabbath day is an important day. The One, who formed us from the clay and breathed His breath of life into us, clearly knows what is beneficial for our health. This day needs to be a day of rest and a day that is holy or set apart for God. “Come to Me, all ye who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. [Mt. 11:28] People that struggle with keeping the Sabbath Day holy say they just can’t take care of everything during the week and these folks will continue to struggle with not having enough time. The devil has tricked them into being so busy with stuff, that in their busyness they cannot find God!

Without keeping this day holy you will eventually find yourself in the hospital when you are overcome with worldly stress and your little world is falling apart, or you will build a wall separating yourself from God, placing many obstacles in the way of your salvation and keeping you away from your church attendance. We must stay on the road to salvation and return to God weekly with penitence and humility and be renewed by the Body and Blood of Christ! If we think we do not need this day of rest then we are placing ourselves above God! “But if thou art willing to enter into life, keep the commandments.” [Mt. 19:17]

St. Paul reminds us in his letter to Corinth: “For we are God’s co-laborers; ye are God’s cultivation, ye are God’s building.” [1 Cor. 3:9] May you have a blessed labor day this week and a blessed restful Sabbath day each and every following week!

Fr. Gabriel Weller Revisit

TURTLE-WARRIOR

Turtles seem to live a pretty long life, except the ones that like to cross the road! A turtle when it feels threatened retracts its’ vulnerability back into its shell; and you know I am the same way! I have always considered myself to be an introvert, as I spend a lot of quality time in my shell, cozy and safe. In becoming a priest, it has challenged me a bit. The things that pushed me back into my shell now get in the way of building God’s church.

Overall, I am a broken man in need of a Savior! I am the chief of sinners; please do not put me on a pedestal! My poor wife knows all too well, or all too Weller! I am the product of a broken home. I grew up mostly without a father but had many great godly family men in my life. I was a wayward, wild and crazy youth that finally realized something was missing! There is no man that sinneth not! (1 Kings 8:46) I stand before you as your priest but am unworthy of the position. It is simply that I love God more than that loud panicky voice that cautions me, and I force myself into the altar and out of my safe shell, trembling before the mighty hand of God at my many failings and my priestly duties! My life now is constantly changing as my shell of an ego or inner child get in the way of my need to love and too weep with you in your struggles and pain.

To say that these last 16 months or so have added a challenge with the biological warfare released on us is to put it mildly. I reflect back to my parents and grandparents enormous life-changing struggles they lived through with a new appreciation. At my house, we have turned off the news and its many misleading stories and so called experts. We read science reports now with an untrusting temperament and realize a contradicting study is just a day or two away. We have pushed forward trusting in God more and honoring our bishop. I don’t wish to cause Vladyka any harm or anguish. Our beloved bishop is a prayerful man whose love for us is without measure. As you know, ROCOR is a very conservative jurisdiction and is slow to change or to be pressured by society, and our hierarchs are always thirsting for your prayers!

During this time frame, my wife and I religiously consumed the elderberry and zinc supplements, but agent Wuhan still found us! This past lent on Clean Monday, I was blessed to experience this new variant for myself. It was a time to reflect on how temporary life on earth is! I wondered if this was it for me and if I would see us celebrating our first Divine Liturgy in Cross Keys, Va. in our new church. And of course like a good Christian, I shared it with some of you. The version I had allowed me to recoup quickly but I know many have struggled severely and lost loved ones to this virus. Most of the folks that I contaminated struggled more than I did and I weep for their pain. And I certainly didn’t want to take this home to my 85 year old mother either, who already struggles with another biological warfare agent called Lyme disease!  But I have chosen thus far to stay organic and weather the storm!

Trying to navigate these stormy waters amidst the regulations and daily reports of doom and gloom with your wellbeing in the forefront of our thoughts and prayers was our goal. Our concern is focused more on the life to come than this circus we are attending now. I didn’t want our un-Godly big-brother’s spotlight singling us out for amplifying this disease either. And I surely didn’t want anyone to suffer from their attendance here a church! But this toxin seems to have a mind of its own. The first folks in our church family that contacted the bug early on did not pass it on to their families or coworkers. The dirty bug I contracted, I believe at work, was more contagious. But we cannot fear death, it comes for us all!  

But understand this, there is absolutely no poisonous death awaiting you here at the chalice! The Body and Blood of Christ is Life and are here to strengthen and heal you! Are you a believer? As long as I am breathing and able, I will also be here for you!  Christ is either your God or you have surrendered to the pagans of this new world order! “The Divine Liturgy is the way we know God and the way God becomes known to us,” says St. Sophrony. It is the Church’s greatest mission! In this great work, the Lord’s work, the same Saint says, “We feel His Divine presence within us,

 

outside of us, at the highest grandeur of the universe, in the face of man and in the radiant intellect. And in the hours that the unwaning light illumines, our hearts we realize we will not die.”

St John of the Ladder writes, “Above all, you should leave the integral faith and the pious dogmas as a legacy to your children, so that not only your children but your grandchildren too will you manage to guide towards the Lord by walking the path of Orthodoxy.” (Saint John of Sinai, On the Shepherd 97, edition Holy Monastery of Paraclete, Horopos Attica, 1946, p.402 (PG 88, 1201A).

So where do we go from here? As the Commies try to take over this country with a devilish love, rooted in greed and power, we will find ourselves even more secluded. The True Church has already seen this sinful illness before and weathered the great storms of the past! When our governing body expects you to accept sin and pride as the new norm and allow our children to be warped with non-biblical teachings, our once godly nation has been hijacked and placed on a road to damnation. Love is not acceptance of sin, but a hope for salvation of all of the created on the single lane highway to heaven.

Many of our new politicians go to Washington and become millionaires controlled by delusional sick filthy rich people seeking to become king, and seeking to take our Constitutional rights away so they can gain more power! Satan is winning many battles now in this country! Great nation’s fall when they turn their attention from the true God to watered down theology created by man to allow man’s sinfulness to be made acceptable to mankind. It will not last! There is only ONE truth! History will confirm this for you.

Don’t pull your head back into its shell and hide either, get busy! A little while ago, St Paisios warned us saying: “If Christians don’t begin to witness their faith, to resist evil, then the destroyers will become even more insolent. But today’s Christians are no warriors. If the Church keeps silent, to avoid conflict with the government, if the Metropolitans are silent, if the monks hold their peace, then who will speak up?”

The Orthodox Church has given you all the weapons you need to defeat this attack and this brain washing of mankind. But you must come to training camp. You must practice our special diet. You must pray like your life depends on it, because it does! You must study the words of truth found in the Holy Scripture and realign your family’s vehicle on the single lane highway that offers no rest stops in the diminishing time we have left. And most of all; be about your Father’s business, hold firm to the wood of the Holy Cross, love your neighbor but protect your children from heresy and supporters of paraphilia, and above all, be Orthodox 24 hours a day! Live it, Breath it, Die Orthodox! Glory to Thee!!!

 

Fr. Gabriel Weller 8-8-2021

You must walk before You can run

As a granddad or “pop” I watch our young ones slowly become independent. In no time at all they go from no mobility to come and catch me if you can! It happens quickly but in reflection, it daily took them some work and time before they could manage the coordination, physical strength and intellect to gain their wobbling independence!

Time and patience seem so hard for most of us to come by. We get accustomed to instant everything. I think back to the cartoon I watched as a boy about the Jetsons and their space-age family and how so far from reality it seemed! They could walk the dog without leaving the house, a robot cleaned the house and with a push of a button, supper would be ready! George Jetson video conference called his family and friends and flew his commuter spaceship to work. These broadcasts in the 1960’s about the Jetsons are becoming closer to realism and a much faster pace of life.

When I went into business some 30 years ago, a good friend reminded me that I had to walk before I could run. I was impatient and a bit offended at the time as my ears heard this expression, but those words seem to ring truly sound in the course of life. As so it has been with my path to Orthodoxy. It has taken a while to reprogram my thinking and actions from the depth of the world into the heights of heaven, one small step at a time!

Orthodoxy is not an instant transformation for any of us, it takes time and patience, we all must walk before we can run! If you want to be about your Father’s business come to church regularly, read the daily scripture readings, read the daily prayer rule and search your heart with its reflective prayers and fasting, acknowledge your sinfulness, repent for the many failures, and love everyone just as your Creator loves you! The Body and Blood of Christ is here for you to cleanse and strengthen you. We are also here for each other to lift each other up in prayer. We are FAMILY!!!

Saint Luke simply reminds us: “You are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed.”(Luke 10:41-42) Blessed Jerome quotes King Solomon when he explains where Saint Luke’s scripture is rooted: “I have found Him Whom my soul loves: I held Him, and did not let Him go.”[Song 3:4] Our spaceship and robots can wait! Let’s practice our walking with Christ so that one day we may run to Him washing His feet with our tears! (Luke 7:38) “For the Lamb, the One in the midst of the throne, shall shepherd them, and shall guide them to fountains of waters of life, and God shall wipe away every tear from out of their eyes.” [Rev. 7:17] Glory to Thee!


Fr. Gabriel Weller 7-18-2021

FRUIT LOOPS

Some years ago when my focus early in the morning was a bowl of multigrain cereal, I would reach up into the cupboard and grasp my favorite energizing, lip-smacking colorful cereal, Fruit-Loops. I was not too concerned about how nourishing it was for me, but right there on the side of the box, I was even reassured that I was also going to be nutritionally fed my daily quota of some of the vitamins and minerals my body needs to be healthy and active. And on top of that, it looks and tastes like fruity candy! Wow! Does it get any better than that?

Of course in those days I had a hollow leg that constantly needed to be filled, or for you folks that are not from around here, I was hungry a lot!! I never took the time to sample each of the green, blue, red, orange and yellow flavors individually, which is odd for a guy who doesn’t like is flavors to mix together on his dinner plate. I really prefer my gravy not to taste like corn pudding or my meatloaf not to taste like apple sauce and therefore and so on… But when it came time for Fruit-Loops, I just experienced them all together at the same time with no hesitation and no regrets! As many as what would fit on my spoon was my only limitation (Mom wouldn’t let me use a shovel)!

Just as that cereal was colorful, fruity, and had nutritional value for me that I just couldn’t get enough of, in today’s Epistle readings of Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we hear about a different kind of fruit, the fruit of the Spirit, which is something else my body and soul need to be healthy. Just read about this fruits dietary value found in the Book of Life!

This letter is addressed to churches in Galatia that had become so legalistic that they had enslaved themselves with sin. Their flavor had become stale and tainted and they had lost their spiritual nutritional value. They were also not producing good fruit. Loving God more than ourselves and what the world shamefully tries to make us settle for, is the goal for those who profess to be Christians. Blessed Jerome writes: “Without love other virtues are not reckoned to be virtues. From love is born all that is good.” We need to love the person but not the sin because there is something worth saving in everyone God created. Praying for others more than ourselves! Putting others needs first ahead of our selfish wants will help allow the Spirit to grow good healthy fruit in us.

We also need to ooze peace out of our fleshy bodies. Blessed Jerome says: “We should not suppose that peace is limited to not quarreling with others. Rather the peace of Christ, that is, our inheritance, is with us when the mind is at peace and undisturbed by conflicting emotions.” Peace comes from waiting on the Lord through all trials and tribulations with hope and courage. (Gal 5:22-6:2)
We must become as colorful, energizing, sweet and healthy as what my favorite breakfast cereal used to provide me with. We are producing the fruit that a healthy Orthodox Christian should produce if we nurture the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Picking our brothers and sisters up when they fall. Love births liberty from hate, joy blossoms freedom from darkness. Peace uproots conflict. Goodness will always triumph over evil. Faith brings freedom from confusion and delusion. Gentleness delivers us from arrogance. Self-control liberates us from excesses and the gluttonous world.

Let us pursue this bountiful harvest of the fruit of the Spirit, leaving behind the junk-food deathly habits of selfishness and become a flavorsome, colorful, healthy Orthodox Fruit-Loop, building and strengthening our Father’s Church, one bite at a time, to His Glory!

Fr. Gabriel Weller 8-1-2021

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