Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Journey Of Ascent.

   O DIVINE LORD of all that exists, Thou hast illumined the Apostle and Evangelist Luke with Thy Holy Spirit, thereby enabling him to represent Thy most Holy Mother, the One who held Thee in her arms and said: The Grace of Him Who has been born of me is spread through the world!

   Enlighten and direct my soul, my heart and my spirit. Guide the hands of Thine unworthy servant so that I may worthily and perfectly portray Thine Icon, that of   Thy Mother, and all the Saints, for the glory, joy and adornment of Thy Holy Church.

   Forgive my sins and the sins of those who will venerate these icons and who, kneeling devoutly before them, give homage to those they represent.

   Protect them from all evil and instruct them with good counsel. This I ask through the intercession of Thy most Holy Mother, the Apostle Luke, and all the Saints. Amen.

   The iconographer prayer before starting an icon.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

On Fasting

   Father, some say that the great Apostle Paul conveyed different teaching concerning fasting from that of our Savior Christ. Can you explain this to me?.

   ELDER CLEOPA: Fasting, according to the testimony of Saint Basil the Great, is the oldest commandment given by God to man. This great father of the Church of Christ says:

   "O Man, be pious and meditate with fear on the antiquity of the fast, for as old as is the world so old is as the commandment of fasting. Indeed this commandment was given in paradise when God said to Adam: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it. For in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.'"

Saturday, February 14, 2015

In What Way Can One Guard the Senses from Passions?.

    Our senses are those very doors and windows through which either life or death may enter.
   Every idea of evil and every form of passion enters the heart through the mediation and service of the senses. And if the senses are not guarded, then the evil passions are also not guarded. How can they be guarded and closed to such passions? Listen. The windows of the Temple of Solomon were covered with fine nets to prevent the entry of impure insects (cf. Ez 41 :6). This may serve as a reminder that he who does not want any impure pas­sions of the senses to enter into his soul must drape his senses with spiritual nets. What are these nets? It is the memory of death, for one; our account before Christ on the day of judgment; the memory of eternal suffering. Through these, man can put away the evil passions and sins, when they come before his eyes and his other senses. St. Neilos has confirmed that this is so: "Those who desire to keep their mind as a clean and pure temple, where the doors and windows are covered with fine nets to prevent the entry of any impure insects, must similarly cover their senses by meditating on the sobering realities of the future judgment which prevent the entry of any impure images to creep in".

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Pour your heart to God

   Question: In our modern culture that is so materialistic, scientific and focused on biology and the natural sciences, how can we even become aware that the heart is something more than just a muscle?. How can we become aware of ourselves as being something more than just a brain or a circulatory system?!.

   Answer: We must learn the language of God. Because we all have sinned, we all have a common language, the language of pain. When we come to God, we will inevitably have to suffer in order to be purified. If we speak to God with that pain, if we pour out our heart to God with that pain, then God will listen to us, and the heart will be activated.