Our Holy Father Laurence of the Kiev Caves (January 29)
The Holy Martyrs Romanus, James, Philotheus, Hyperechius, Abibus, Julian and Paregorius (January 29)
The Hieromartyr Ignatius (January 29)
The more a man progresses in spiritual understanding and purity of heart, the deeper, it seems to him, is the valley in which he finds himself and the higher the peak to which he is aspiring. One spiritual giant, lying on his deathbed, heard that he was being praised for his great asceticism. He burst into tears, saying: `My children, I have not begun in the spiritual life.' When St Ignatius was lying shackled in prison, he wrote to the Ephesians: `1 do not command you as though I had some standing. Although I am in chains for the Name of Jesus Christ, I am not yet perfected in Him. I am only beginning to be a disciple, and I speak to you as fellow-pupils of my teachers.'
Let me ponder on the simplicity of the Lord Jesus's behaviour: 1. How He behaved with the same simplicity with the fishermen and with scribes and princes. 2. How He responded to all, and entered into the house of any who invited Him. 3. How His kingly dignity shone clearly through the simplicity of His bearing.
- on perfection through the fulfilling of the will of God.
`My meat (food) is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work' (In. 4:34).
Here our Saviour gives us a saving example. He who had such power and authority and wisdom says that He came into the world not to do His own will, but the will of His Father, and to finish not His own work but that of His Father; but we, although we are as insignificant as midges, constantly put forward our will and our work! And though the Son is equal with the Father (as He proclaims in another place: `I and My Father are one!'), nevertheless the Lord Jesus says that He is come into the world to fulfil the will of His Father and to finish His Father's work. He does not say this to show the littleness of His being in comparison with the being of the Father, for they are one in being, but to show the greatness of His love for the Father, and to move us, out of love for God, to make His will utterly our own. All our misfortune in this life comes from the fact that we do not do the will of Him who sent us also into the world. And we do not do His will because we do not love Him. For he who loves some-one does that person's will. The Lord Himself has said: `If ye love Me, keep My commandments' (Jn. 14:15). By what could the Lord Jesus show His love for the Father, if not by fulfilling His will? And by what can we show our love for the Lord Jesus, crucified for us, if not by fulfilling His will?
Oh my brethren, our will is as elusive as a will-o'-the-wisp; let us not follow it and thus perish. But let us follow the will of the Lord who loves mankind, who alone knows what is best for us.
O meek Lord, who Invest mankind, teach us to do Thy will. To 'nee be glory and praise for ever. Amen.
* From "The Prologue from Ochrid", by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic - Lazarica Press - Birmingham 1985
Four Book Edition - Translated by Mother Maria - Dates based on old church calendar.
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