Volume 11 No. 5 OF THE CHURCH OF MAN WITH GOD June, 2000 A.D.
World Wide Web
Words Have Meanings, errors in children's teaching material 1A
Gnosticism, Medjugorge, Fr. Gobbi - Medjugorge debunked 1B
What Moms Really Pray At Night (humor) 8
Reunification Efforts: Pope John-Paul II's visit to the Greeks 14A
Shepherds in Christ, does this mean become Christ? 1
The Special Sacrament of The Priesthood (Numbers Ch 16) 1C
Bible History 10
Mother The Heart Of The Family 14
To Be Christlike We Must Be Merciful (on the death "penalty") 8A
Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis 16
Confessions of Saint Augustine 18
~ SHEPHERDS IN CHRIST ~
From + Paul, S.S.B.
To the flock entrusted into my care:
We are all called to be shepherds in Christ, but our shepherding is not only different from
Christ's Shepherding, but we each shepherd in manners and ways different from each other.
Some people try to become Christ. This, of course, is impossible, for there is but one Christ and
neither you nor I am He. Since our Lord's Passion and Death were so dramatic and are of such
great significance, many people focus on this part of our Lord's life, and attempt to emulate His
Passion and Death in their lives, to the exclusion of the other aspects of our Lord's life. This is
foolish, for no amount of suffering by humans and no numbers of deaths humans can begin to
approach the significance of one second of suffering by God.
The manner in which we can best be shepherds for our Lord, is to live our lives in the manner in
which our Lord taught us - not in trying to be or become Christ, but in living as He instructed us.
It is in living as He instructed us, in what is properly called The Way, meaning The Way Taught
by Christ, that we become Christlike. Just doing this is very difficult, but in doing this we
become shepherds for we teach by example, that portion of the flock entrusted to us.
Since each of us has different character traits, talents, abilities, deficiencies, and sins, our
teaching by example will be different as applied in our character traits, talents, abilities,
deficiencies, and sins. Yes, we even serve as shepherds through our sins, for in our struggles
against sin we set an example of fighting sin in ourselves. Our part of the flock of Christ will
thereby understand that fighting sin is important.
But the most important ways in which we assist our Lord as shepherds, are twofold: first, in the
two great commandments which our Lord taught and on which are based all the law; second, in
that which makes us made in the image and likeness of God.
The two great commandments are, first, to Love God with our whole heart, mind and soul, with
every fiber of our being; and second, to Love our neighbors as ourselves. In effect, we are to
reciprocate the Divine Love not just to God, but also to every person whether of this world or of
the spirit world.
This is something which we have been taught, but upon which very few people contemplate or
act. If the Board of Directors and Officers of Wall-Mart and of Home Depot were really
Christians, then they would close their stores on Sundays. Why would they close their stores on
Sundays? Because God commanded that Sundays be a day of rest for man, and a day of worship
of Him. By having their stores open on Sundays, the Directors and Officers of Wall-Mart and of
Home Depot, and of every other non-essential establishment, show that money is more important
to them than is God. They show that they do not love God for they force their employees to work
on the day God said all are supposed to rest. They show they do not love their neighbor for they
force their neighbors who are their employees, to not worship God if they wish to eat.
When you work on Sunday, and the work you do is not an essential work such as is that done by
firemen, policemen, medical and pharmaceutical, and essential transportation personnel, then you
are not being a good shepherd of the part of the flock our Lord has entrusted to you.
The second of the two important ways in which we shepherd is by exercising that which makes
us made in the image and likeness of God. And what is it that make us made in the image and
likeness of God? There are many things, but the most important of them is free will. God has
free will. Each Person of the Blessed Trinity has his own Free Will, and our Lord has Free Will
in His Divine Nature and Free Will in His human nature - He has two free wills.
Yes, we are to exercise our free will. Remember the parable of the three servants who were
given silver talents? (Mat. 25:15) One increased his five by another five, the next his two by
another two, but the one who received one talent exercised his free will by doing nothing. The
two servants who exercised their free will by doing something with their talents took a risk. We
are not told whether they were immediately successful in making their increases, but if normal
market conditions prevailed, they undoubtedly had fluctuations in the total sums they had on
hand at any one time. In all probability, the one who was given five talents, at times during his
investments had less than the original five talents he was given. So too with the servant who was
given two talents. But they persisted and were fortunate in that they returned a profit for their
master. But the one who used his free will so that he took no chances, so that he engaged in no
risk, was chastised for doing nothing.
Obviously, our Lord is telling us, that as shepherds of part of His flock, we must try, we must use
that free will which distinguishes us from ducks, frogs, trees, and rocks, and try. If we do, we
will have success, even though we may not perceive that success. Why will we have success?
Because we will be doing God's business, we will truly be shepherds by example.
+ Paul, S.S.B.
References 1 Peter 2:21-25; John 10:11-16
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WORDS HAVE MEANINGS
INSTRUCTION MATERIALS MUST BE CAREFULLY CRAFTED
Unfortunately, craftsmanship of written education material has fallen to such a low level as to
make valid a presumption most such material contains error. This reality, combined with the
failure of teaching management to review text books and teaching material for accuracy and
acceptability, has resulted in many errors being presented to students, as truth.
Error being presented as truth can be insidiously not obvious, as it was in an article about Saint
Joseph which appeared in the March, 2001, issue of Kids Clarion (Clarion Herald), at page 13.
The article states, "Although he briefly considered rejecting Mary after learning she was with
child before they had had relations, Joseph hesitated . . ." (emphasis added). This phrase of
necessity implies that Saint Joseph and the Blessed Ever Virgin Mary had sexual relations at
some later time, and is therefore in error and teaches significant error. The article is taken
from, "Lives of Saints" published by John J. Crawley & Co., Inc.
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THE BLESSED EVER VIRGIN MARY IS NOT APPEARING AT OR GIVING MESSAGES AT MEDJUGORGE;
SHE IS NOT IN CONSTANT CONTACT WITH SISTER LUCIA (SISTER LUCY) AND
IS NOT TELLING SISTER LUCIA THAT MEDJUGORGE IS THE FULFILLMENT OF
FATIMA; AND FR. GOBBI, WELL BASICALLY, THE NICEST THING WHICH CAN
BE SAID ABOUT HIM IS THAT HE PRESENTS HIS OPINIONS AS ESTABLISHED
FACT, WHEN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (his boss) SAYS THEY ARE NOT.
There are enough problems with false miracle workers preying on the Gnostic desires of the
masses, without Bishops, Priests, Religious, and laity, presenting as fact, that which has been
declared to be not true.
We really wanted to believe Medjugorge was true, but it obviously is not.
The two leading Gnostic problems which masses of members of the True Church are following
today, are the alleged appearances of the Theotokos at Medjugorge combined with her alleged
messages given through the "seers" at Medjugorge, and Fr. Gobbi's pronouncements on Fatima
and some connection he states exists between Fatima and Medjugorge.
Beginning at page 20, we present copies of correspondence to and from various Roman Catholic
Church officials, which clearly state the Theotokos is not appearing at Medjugorge, that she is
not giving any messages to anyone associated with Medjugorge, and that Fr. Gobbi's
pronouncements regarding Fatima and Medjugorge are only his opinions - which apparently is a
polite way of saying something else about Fr. Gobbi.
We are presenting these letters because the fanaticism over Medjugorge has reached such heights
at to be ridiculous. It also overshadows and attacks the credence of the real appearances and
messages of the Blessed Ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God, at places such as Damascus, Fatima,
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TO THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE SPECIAL SACRAMENT OF THE PRIESTHOOD;
WHO BELIEVE ANYONE WHO WANTS TO BE A PRIEST IS A PRIEST, AND AND WHO BELIEVE A PERSON CAN "SELF PROCLAIM" THE STATUS OF PRIEST:
(This being occasioned by the statement of an Archbishop (thankfully, not one of "ours"), that he does not believe in the Sacramental Priesthood, but believes all who are Baptized are priests).
Numbers Chapter 16
The schism of Core and his adherents: their punishment.
16:1. And behold Core the son of Isaar, the son of Caath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiron the sons of Eliab, and Hon the son of Pheleth of the children of Ruben,
16:2. Rose up against Moses, and with them two hundred and fifty others of the children of Israel, leading men of the synagogue, and who in the time of assembly were called by name.
Rose up... The crime of these men, which was punished in so remarkable a manner, was that of schism, and of rebellion against the authority established by God in the church; and their pretending to the priesthood without being lawfully called and sent: the same is the case of all modern sectaries.
16:3. And when they had stood up against Moses and Aaron, they said: Let it be enough for you, that all the multitude consisteth of holy ones, and the Lord is among them: Why lift you up yourselves above the people of the Lord?
16:4. When Moses heard this, he fell flat on his face:
16:5. And speaking to Core and all the multitude, he said: In the morning the Lord will make known who belong to him, and the holy he will join to himself: and whom he shall choose, they shall approach to him.
16:6. Do this therefore: Take every man of you your censers, thou Core, and all thy company.
16:7. And putting fire in them to morrow, put incense upon it before the Lord: and whomsoever he shall choose, the same shall be holy: you take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.
16:8. And he said again to Core: Hear ye sons of Levi.
16:9. Is it a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath spared you from all the people, and joined you to himself, that you should serve him in the service of the tabernacle, and should stand before the congregation of the people, and should minister to him?
16:10. Did he therefore make thee and all thy brethren the sons of Levi to approach unto him, that you should challenge to yourselves the priesthood also,
16:11. And that all thy company should stand against the Lord? for what is Aaron that you murmur against him?
16:12. Then Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiron the sons of Eliab. But they answered: We will not come.
16:13. Is it a small matter to thee, that thou hast brought us out of a land that flowed with milk and honey, to kill us in the desert, except thou rule also like a lord over us?
16:14. Thou hast brought us indeed into a land that floweth with rivers of milk and honey, and hast given us possessions of fields and vineyards; wilt thou also pull out our eyes? We will not come.
16:15. Moses therefore being very angry, said to the Lord: Respect not their sacrifices: thou knowest that I have not taken of them so much as a young ass at any time, nor have injured any of them.
16:16. And he said to Core: Do thou and thy congregation stand apart before the Lord to morrow, and Aaron apart.
16:17. Take every one of you censers, and put incense upon them, offering to the Lord two hundred and fifty censers: let Aaron also hold his censer.
16:18. When they had done this, Moses and Aaron standing,
16:19. And had drawn up all the multitude against them to the door of the tabernacle, the glory of the Lord appeared to them all.
16:20. And the Lord speaking to Moses and Aaron, said:
16:21. Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may presently destroy them.
16:22. They fell flat on their face, and said: O most mighty, the God of the spirits of all flesh, for one man's sin shall thy wrath rage against all?
16:23. And the Lord said to Moses:
16:24. Command the whole people to separate themselves from the tents of Core and Dathan and Abiron.
16:25. And Moses arose, and went to Dathan and Abiron: and the ancients of Israel following him,
16:26. He said to the multitude: Depart from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be involved in their sins.
16:27. And when they were departed from their tents round about, Dathan and Abiron coming out stood in the entry of their pavilions with their wives and children, and all the people.
16:28. And Moses said: By this you shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all things that you see, and that I have not forged them of my own head:
16:29. If these men die the common death of men, and if they be visited with a plague, wherewith others also are wont to be visited, the Lord did not send me.
16:30. But if the Lord do a new thing, and the earth opening her mouth swallow them down, and all things that belong to them, and they go down alive into hell, you shall know that they have blasphemed the Lord.
16:31. And immediately as he had made an end of speaking, the earth broke asunder under their feet:
16:32. And opening her mouth, devoured them with their tents and all their substance.
16:33. And they went down alive into hell, the ground closing upon them, and they perished from among the people.
16:34. But all Israel, that was standing round about, fled at the cry of them that were perishing: saying: Lest perhaps the earth swallow us up also.
16:35. And a fire coming out from the Lord, destroyed the two hundred and fifty men that offered the incense.
16:36. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
16:37. Command Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest to take up the censers that lie in the burning, and to scatter the fire of one side and the other: because they are sanctified
16:38. In the deaths of the sinners: and let him beat them into plates, and fasten them to the altar, because incense hath been offered in them to the Lord, and they are sanctified, that the children of Israel may see them for a sign and a memorial.
16:39. Then Eleazar the priest took the brazen censers, wherein they had offered, whom the burning fire had devoured, and beat them into plates, fastening them to the altar:
16:40. That the children of Israel might have for the time to come wherewith they should be admonished, that no stranger or any one that is not of the seed of Aaron should come near to offer incense to the Lord, lest he should suffer as Core suffered, and all his congregation, according as the Lord spoke to Moses.
16:41. The following day all the multitude of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron, saying: You have killed the people of the Lord.
16:42. And when there arose a sedition, and the tumult increased,
16:43. Moses and Aaron fled to the tabernacle of the covenant. And when they were gone into it, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared.
16:44. And the Lord said to Moses:
16:45. Get you out from the midst of this multitude, this moment will I destroy them. And as they were lying on the ground,
16:46. Moses said to Aaron: Take the censer, and putting fire in it from the altar, put incense upon it, and go quickly to the people to pray for them: for already wrath is gone out from the Lord, and the plague rageth.
16:47. When Aaron had done this, and had run to the midst of the multitude which the burning fire was now destroying, he offered the incense:
16:48. And standing between the dead and the living, he prayed for the people, and the plague ceased.
16:49. And the number of them that were slain was fourteen thousand and seven hundred men, besides them that had perished in the sedition of Core.
16:50. And Aaron returned to Moses to the door of the tabernacle of the covenant after the destruction was over.
WHAT MOMS REALLY PRAY AT NIGHT
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TO BE CHRISTLIKE WE MUST BE MERCIFUL
What are the most important words for us at this stage of our lives? "Receive ye the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are
retained." Why? Because with these words our Lord made it very clear that Faith in Him is not
sufficient to attain eternal salvation; He made it clear that His passion, death, and resurrection
only allow us to be eternally united with the Blessed Trinity, but do not guarantee that union; He
made it clear that the Priesthood He established was to be the exclusive administrator of the
power to forgive sins; He made it clear that the powers of the Priesthood are not inherent in
being a Christian or being Baptized but that the powers of the Priesthood are unique and
exclusive to those who have been ordained Priests; He made it clear that all sinners must seek
this forgiveness from His Priests; and most important, He made it clear that whether we separate
ourselves from Him partially or completely through sin, we can become reunited to Him through
being forgiven of our sins by His Priests.
The Divine Mercy is a wonderful thing. If we are even slightly intelligent, we will seek and
accept Divine Mercy. However, if we do not apply Divine Mercy to others, we might not receive
the impetus from God, the Grace from God, necessary for us to seek Divine Mercy for ourselves.
This was made very clear to us when our Lord related the story of the servant who was forgiven a
very large debt which he could not pay, but when that servant imprisoned a fellow servant who
could not pay a very small debt, the master revoked his forgiveness of the first servant's debt and
imprisoned him until he would pay the debt.
In a few days Timothy McVeigh will be killed for killing 183 people and wounding hundreds
more in Oklahoma. On Pascha a twenty-nine year old young woman named Stacy Frankos was
beaten and stabbed to death, her body left between two dumpsters. And a few days ago an eleven
year old girl named Lisa Bruno was kidnapped, has been found, and her abductor is a suicide.
McVeigh committed horrible crimes, and is totally unrepentant. We have every reason to believe
that Stacy Frankos' murderer, and Lisa Bruno's kidnapper, in addition to committing these
horrible crimes, are also unrepentant.
Many people look forward with a sense of satisfaction and something akin to joy in knowing that
McVeigh will soon be killed. Many people feel that when he is found, Stacy Frankos' murderer
should be beaten to death; and that Lisa Bruno's kidnapper should have been tortured to death
very slowly. These people are not exhibiting Christianity; they are not living the New Covenant
established by Christ; they are not granting Divine Mercy to these criminals and if they derive
any pleasure from the death of these criminals, then they are guilty of the sin of killing these
Obviously these criminals have engaged in actions which are horribly disgusting; and if allowed
they would continue to engage in these activities. So they had of need be stopped; people must
be protected from them. We can be protected from them by their being permanently imprisoned,
and they can be forced to earn their own living while in prison and if they refuse to work while in
prison then food and the other necessities of life can be withheld from them, just as one who is
living in the regular world would not receive food and the necessities of life if they did not work
for them. But by killing these criminals we not only run the risk of sinning ourselves, but we
also deny the criminals a lifetime within which to repent. In denying them a lifetime to repent,
we are taking a very strong step towards having Divine Mercy withheld from them.
We have the right to protect ourselves from criminals, and we have the right to protect ourselves
from the sins of others; but we do not have the right to punish the sinner - the right to punish the
sinner belongs to God and to God alone.
Remember, our Lord did not say, "Whose sins you decide to punish will be punished." He only
granted the power and authority to forgive or not forgive sins.
If we harden our hearts to the Bomber, the Murderer, and the Kidnapper, we may well also
harden our hearts to seeking and receiving Divine Mercy for ourselves.
Did our Lord ever say that we should kill a sinner? No. He did say that certain sinners would
have been better off not having been born, but that relates to the eternity those sinners will live.
Never did our Lord advocate killing anyone because of their sins. Never did He instruct that
someone or some class of sinner be killed.
How can we be Christians if we do not follow the lead of Jesus Christ in all things, in all matters,
including praying for sinners and doing all in our power and abilities to work for their
Remember, a dead sinner can not be converted from sinning to holiness.
What about the rights of the victims of these crimes?
Their rights are a matter which is totally within God's purview, and only God's purview, not
Ref: 1 John 5:4-10; John 20:19-31
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12. Jesus Works His First Miracle at a Wedding in Cana
WHEN Jesus was thirty years old, He began to teach publicly and to work miracles. He also gathered disciples around Him. And from the disciples He chose twelve whom He called apostles.
2. Jesus worked His first miracle in Cana, a small town of Galilee. There was a wedding, and
Mary was there. Jesus and His disciples were likewise among the guests.
3. When Mary saw that the wine began to fail, she said to Jesus: "They have no wine." Jesus
answered: "My hour is not yet come." But Mary said to the waiters: "Whatsoever He shall say to
you, do ye."
4. There were in the room six stone pitchers, containing two or three measures apiece. Jesus said
to the waiters: "Fill the pitchers with water." And they filled them up to the brim. Then Jesus said
to them: "Draw out now, and carry it to the chief steward." And they carried it.
5. The chief steward tasted the water that had been turned into wine. But he did not know where
the wine came from. He therefore called the bride-groom and said to him: "Every man at first sets
forth the good wine and then that which is worse; but thou has kept the good wine until now."
6. Jesus wrought His first miracle in Cana of Galilee at the request of His blessed mother. His
disciples seeing His divine power believed in Him.
1. What did Jesus do when He was thirty years of age?
2. Where did He work His first miracle?
3. What did Mary say to Jesus?
4. How many pitchers were standing there?
What did Jesus say to the waiters?
5. What did the chief steward say?
6. Why did the disciples believe in Him?
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LESSON THIRD: On the Unity and Trinity of God
Q. 201. Why must a divine religion have mysteries?
A. A divine religion must have mysteries because it must have supernatural truths and God
Himself must teach them. A religion that has only natural truths, such as man can know by
reason alone, fully understand and teach, is only a human religion.
Q. 202. Why does God require us to believe mysteries?
A. God requires us to believe mysteries that we may submit our understanding to Him.
Q. 203. By what form of prayer do we praise the Holy Trinity?
A. We praise the Holy Trinity by a form of prayer called the Doxology, which has come down to
us almost from the time of the Apostles.
Q. 204. Say the Doxology.
A. The Doxology is: "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in
the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, throughout all ages of ages. Amen." Some Westerners
say, "world without end" instead of "throughout all ages of ages."
Q. 205. Is there any other form of the Doxology?
A. There is another form of the Doxology, which is said in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy
(the Mass). It is called the "Gloria in excelsis" or "Glory be to God on high," etc., the words sung
by the Angels at the birth of Our Lord.
LESSON FOURTH: On Creation
Q. 206. What is the difference between making and creating?
A. "Making" means bringing forth or forming out of some material already existing, as workmen
do. "Creating" means bringing forth out of nothing, as God alone can do.
Q. 207. Has everything that exists been created?
A. Everything that exists except God Himself has been created.
Q. 208. Who created heaven and earth, and all things?
A. God created heaven and earth, and all things.
Q. 209. From what do we learn that God created heaven and earth and all things?
A. We learn that God created heaven and earth and all things from the Bible or Holy Scripture, in
which the account of the Creation is given.
Q. 210. Why did God create all things?
A. God created all things for His own glory and for their or our good.
Q. 211. Did God leave all things to themselves after He had created them?
A. God did not leave all things to themselves after He had created them; He continues to preserve
and govern them.
Q. 212. What do we call the care by which God preserves and governs the world and all it contains?
A. We call the care by which God preserves and governs the world and all it contains, His
Q. 213. How did God create heaven and earth?
A. God created heaven and earth from nothing by His word only; that is, by a single act of His
Q. 214. Which are the chief creatures of God?
A. The chief creatures of God are angels and men.
Q. 215. How may God's creatures on earth be divided?
A. God's creatures on earth may be divided into four classes:
1. Things that exist, as air;
2. Things that exist, grow and live, as plants and trees;
3. Things that exist, grow, live and feel, as animals;
4. Things that exist, grow, live, feel and understand, as man.
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CHRIST, NOT MAN,
IS THE LIGHT
Numerology, Gnosticism, and other individual interpretations of Scripture are not valid
The so-called "Enlightenment" which formed the French Revolution, which is the foundation of
so-called "Free" Masonry, which in turn began the Bolshevik Revolution and the communist
take-over of that revolution, and the better known of the major sinners of today, believe and
promulgate the concept that man is the light by-which all is known, all is done, all is measured.
They propound the precept that humans are the ultimate, and this principle is the basis for those
religions which are not part of The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. And even within the
True Church, we find Catholics, Orthodox, Coptics, Armenians and others who really do rely on
God, also believing they can understand that which has not been revealed. They ask themselves
and each other what is meant, what is truth, and ignore that in truth we can not know even the
most simple of matters regarding God unless God reveals that truth to us.
This is aptly expressed in Saint John, when our Lord said: A little while, and now you shall not
see me: and again a little while, and you shall see me: because I go to the Father. Then some of
his disciples said one to another: What is this that he saith to us: A little while, and you shall not
see me: and again a little while, and you shall see me, and, Because I go to the Father? They
said therefore: What is this that he saith, A little while? We know not what he speaketh. And
Jesus knew that they had a mind to ask him. And he said to them: Of this do you inquire among
yourselves, because I said: A little while, and you shall not see me; and again a little while, and
you shall see me?
The disciples had no idea of what our Lord was speaking, but we do, not because of the passage
of time, but because our Lord has revealed His meaning to us through His Church, and the True
Church has preserved the meaning and taught it to us.
So too is it with the Old and New Testaments, and those who seek to comprehend, understand,
and interpret what these Books contain. That God does not reveal His truth to such is evident in
that each of them believes something different, while those who follow the teachings of the
Church, which is the only Earthly presence which God has authorized as His clearinghouse of
revelation, all believe that which is taught by God - all believing the same.
As an example, look to those who believe numbers have some innate significance, that Satan's
number is 6 or 666, or that the number 666 is the mark of the beast.
Now, reflect on Genesis: Genesis 1:24 - 31. And God said: Let the earth bring forth the living
creature in its kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth, according to their kinds.
And it was so done. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds, and cattle,
and every thing that creepeth on the earth after its kind. And God saw that it was good. And he
said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of
the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping
creature that moveth upon the earth. And God created man to his own image: to the image of
God he created him: male and female he created them. And God blessed them, saying: Increase
and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of
the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth. And God said: Behold I have given
you every herb bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their
own kind, to be your meat: And to all beasts of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to all
that move upon the earth, and wherein there is life, that they may have to feed upon. And it was
so done. And God saw all the things that he had made, and they were very good. And the
evening and morning were the sixth day.
If the Numerologist are correct, then, since the creeping creatures, cattle, and other things which
move on the Earth, were created on the sixth day, all such must be Satanic and evil, including
man. But man was made in God's image and in God's likeness - so, according to the
Numerologists, that would mean God is under the control of Satan, of evil. It would mean that
our Lord provided salvation to mankind, salvation from evil - salvation from . . . God? - the
contradictions are obvious and without end for God is infinite. Of course the Numerologist are
wrong, and no number and no numbers have any innate significance or control. By the way, if
you divide the number of original Apostles (12) by two, the result is six - so the Numerologists
must believe God the Father, our Lord, the Apostles, and since He overshadowed the Blessed
Ever Virgin Mary, God the Holy Spirit, are all under Satan's influence and are evil.
Then, again, too often we focus on suffering. It is good to restrain ourselves, but if we restrain
ourselves where it is not necessary, and we restrain ourselves unnecessarily all of our lives, then
that restraint eventually becomes useless for we become accustomed to it and in that familiarity
there is no hardship.
This is not to be taken as allowing libertine living, for libertine life is devoid of God.
Rather, we should seek a good balance between a normal, permitted and encouraged holy life,
and intermittent additional restraint. Fast and even abstinence one or two days a week, with the
remainder of each week being with a normal and regular diet, are good examples of a balance
between these two, and that balance does not contain anything of either the libertine or of self
In following these generalities we will be examples of good behavior. We will be examples of
that life which everyone can live, rather than being examples of a type of life that is so severe
that joy is driven from it, or of a type if life so loose that there is no self restraint, and therefore
no joy. There actually is no difference between a life of extreme severity and a life of no self
restraint, for both are devoid of God and of true joy.
Our Lord has taught this, and has promulgated it through His Church, but those who hold that
they can comprehend the Bible on their own become so confused that they overlook this
simplicity, and often fall into sin in order to escape the confusion into which they have lead
themselves. When this happens, the ones in error focus either on this world to the exclusion of
the next world, or they focus on the next world to the exclusion of this world.
This type of focus is improper, for this world and the next world are part of reality, they are part
of what God has created, and they really are the same for while one does pass from this world
into the next world, the difference is that at our current stage of existence and development we
can not readily perceive that what we call the next world contains what we call this world.
Our ability to comprehend is so limited that we believe some individuals, such as Saint Mary of
Egypt, lead lives of suffering once they recanted their lives of sin. We best look to Saint Mary
Magdalene, and to the Blessed Ever Virgin Mary, and Saint Paul, and Saint Augustine, and Saint
Mary of Egypt, and see that what we perceive to be lives of suffering actually are lives that in
their more holy stages were lives lived at times within the Beatific Vision, and that when within
the Beatific Vision there was a perfection of experience of the world within the running of time
and of the world which contains it, the world in which there is no time.
But, do not try to comprehend this. Allow our Lord, through His Church, to make it
comprehensible to you - otherwise you will never understand.
Ref: 1 Peter 2:11-19; John 16:16-22
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OF THE FAMILY
James 1:17-21; 1 John 16:5-14
Mother, Momma, is designed by God to be the one who provide the impetus for everyone else in
the family to attend Divine Liturgy, Church, with her, every Sunday. Her position in the family
is that of the heart of the family, and her course to spirituality must be exemplary, for it will
usually be the course followed by the rest of the family. This does not mean she is to be the
spiritual leader of the family, for that position is one of teacher and is reserved and appointed to
the father, but she is the heart of the family and therefore carries the richness of spiritual life to
all parts of the family.
If the mother as the heart of the family, does not beat strong and true, then the family will be
anemic in all aspects, and will be easily succeptible to invasive disease, many of which are fatal.
She is supposed to be a rich blend of spiritual and physical - imagine a mother who focused on
prayer and going to Church but who never hugged her children or neglected her husband. Once
they left the womb her children would never hear their mother's heart beat, they would never
have the physical comfort of being fully "mothered" and would be effected by this the rest of
their lives; and there would be no joy in the marriage bed or in the house. People have a
tendency to leave places where there is no joy.
God designed each woman to be a mother, each man to be a father, and every person to be a
member of a family - first as a child in their parents' family, then as an adult in their own family.
Some forego this design and calling, and enter into monastic life or that of a hermit - and if that
particular calling is paramount over the calling to family, then that is good. But those who have
the calling to be a cebonite, to live as a hermit or a monastic, are given the tools and character
traits of that calling - there is no calling to the single life if the single life is only a refuge.
A mother may find herself somewhat harassed at times, or even almost all the time, but if she is
focused on God and her family as a unity, then that harassed state can be looked upon by her with
a great degree of pleasure and satisfaction. That pleasure and satisfaction usually is felt in the
evenings when she lies in the protection and comfort of her husband - especially if her husband
gets up in the middle of the night to tend to a crying child.
In the world of divorce, living in sin, and of multiple marriages, of the grass being greener
somewhere else so let us go graze, of leaving a spouse because one wants to "grow", of being
selfish and self centered, people have lost the concept of choosing a spouse with care from those
people who have been known for years, of thinking of marriage as the creation of a new person
who will have a strong effect on all of the world.
Likewise, those who have made mistakes and because of those mistakes forego the world of
family when they need not, these remove themselves from being a source of strength, good
example, and nourishment.
Nourishment - there is nothing more satisfying to a mother than nourishing her family. Whether
it be a child at breast, holding her children to her bosom, or her husband to her heart, every
woman feels the fullness of her existence in nourishing all aspects of her family. If she has no
family to nourish, or does not nourish her family, then she is without contentment; she will be
and feel incomplete for she is designed by God to nourish and one can not be content if one
ignores the Divine plan.
When Momma focuses on worldly possession, social position, and temporal matters, she courses
that focus through the family, and nourishes her children and husband with poison - that is a
When Momma focuses on God, she will automatically focus on her husband and her children and
grandchildren. Then she will course salvation through her family.
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POPE JOHN-PAUL II'S
VISIT TO THE GREEKS
Pope John-Paul II's recent trip to the Greeks, Palestine, and Middle East appears to have been of
His visit was opposed by a significant percentage of Greek Orthodox, both clergy and laity.
The atrocities of the Crusades are still fresh in the historical mind of the people who had the Sacred Eucharist in their Churches defecated upon and defiled, the wives and daughters of their Priests
raped, the sons and the Priests themselves emasculated, their Churches burned, their Altars
defiled, and the great library of Constantinople burned, all by the Crusaders who attacked
Constantinople with apparent Papal approval.
Rome apologized to the Jews for not doing enough to help the Jews during WWII, yet Rome did
more than any other entity to protect the Jews - the racist and un-Godly positions of some mid-European Roman Bishops notwithstanding. Where, Greek Orthodox ask, is Rome's apology to
Orthodox, for the atrocities Rome initiated against Constantinople?
The irrationality of Rome's contention that the Jesuits were sent into Russia after the fall of
Communism, solely for the purpose of tending to the needs of Roman Catholics in Russia, is a
great "problem" for Russian Orthodox. One does not send in top line battle troops to administer;
one sends them in to do battle. And the only one for the Jesuits to battle in Russia is the Russian
There are many more reasons for the opposition.
None of them are of sufficient weight to oppose reunification of the Church, for our Lord has
made it very clear that He commands His Church on Earth be reunited, immediately.
Even skepticism regarding the holiness of Rome's intentions regarding reunification, is not
appropriate, but caution even with open arms can be maintained.
Pope John-Paul II made major progress towards our believing his desires for reunification are
exactly that, a desire for reunification and not a desire for conquest of Orthodox, when he
apologized for the wrongs committed by Rome against Orthodox, and particularly for the evils of
the Crusaders in Constantinople.
We believe he, Pope John-Paul II, truly desires reunification of the Church, and that he desires
true reunification, equals with equals, and not conquest. But what are the desires and intentions
of those who serve under him and who will lead the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church
when he Falls Asleep in the Lord?
Most Orthodox know more about Rome than most Romans know about Orthodox. This includes
knowledge possessed by the Clergy as well as the laity. But no one, not Roman or Orthodox,
knows what does or may lurk in the minds and intentions of the Roman Curia, of those who will
lead Rome when the era of Pope John-Paul II is over.
Perhaps, just perhaps, now actually is the time for reunification not just because our Lord
demands it be done immediately, but also because we have a somewhat known entity with whom
to deal at this time, Pope John-Paul II. Once the parameters of reunification were established,
and reunification a fact, Roman arrogance would be held in check, and Orthodox disquietude
would have no foundation. Is it not best to reunify now, when the prncipal "players" are known,
then to wait and have our Lord impose reunification in a bath of plague?
We believe and hope:
Pope John-Paul II will accept formal reunification as equals;
Orthodoxy can agree to having the Pope proclaim as Dogma, that which has been approved in
true Ecumenical Council of the entire Church, Orthodox, Rome, and let us not forget our brothers
in Christ under the Coptic Pope, the Catholicos, and the other Churches which are part of The
Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church;
The Fillioque Clause, apparently never having been proclaimed as Dogma by Rome, but having
been used as a custom imported into Rome by the Franks, and which apparently is being dropped
by the Eastern Rite Churches in communion with Rome, can easily be dropped by Rome -
universally. The Creed of Nicea flows nicely in all languages without it, and we have heard Pope
John-Paul II pray the Creed of Nicea without it;
The date for celebration of Pascha, not being a matter of dogma but of Tradition established
under Emperor Constantine in Ecumenical Council, can be cemented into one date. Rome holds
that Orthodox are in error in the date for Pascha, but Rome changed the date it celebrates Pascha
when Rome changed from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendar. Orthodox do not comprehend
how Rome can hold Orthodox is in error as to the date for Pascha, when Orthodox did not
change - Rome changed. But since the date is not a matter of Dogma, men acting in Holiness can
resolve this matter - and those who refuse to resolve this matter are not Holy and do not seek to
become Holy. Perhaps a new date, based on the actual astrological measurements? . . . But
Orthodox do dislike change;
The Immaculate Concepcion and the Assumption - some Orthodox deem these matters to be
insurmountable, but such persons are not truly Orthodox for the Bearer of God having been
conceived Immaculate and thus being the Immaculate Concepcion, and the Mother of our Lord
having been raised bodily into Heaven upon her death, are matters which Orthodox and the entire
Church held as true, as so obvious there was no need to proclaim them as dogma. Indeed, they
were both on the Greek Calendar until late in the 20th Century, when someone realized Rome
had proclaimed these two to be Dogma but had done so without an Ecumenical Council;
Roman Papal Infalibility appears something which is insurmountable, but if it is held that it is the position of the Roman Pope to proclaim as Dogma that which has been established as Dogma in
Ecumenical Council, this "problem" is resolved;
Ecumenical Councils - Rome must stop referring to Roman Councils, such as Vatican I and
Vatican II, and Trent, as Ecumenical Councils, for they were not. We were not invited to
participate, so these could not be Ecumenical Councils, but only Roman Councils. Ecumenical
Councils are councils of the entire Church, and Rome is not the entire Church. This leads us to
the most pressing problems.
These last two, Rome's position on Infalibility and Rome's view as being exclusive in
Ecumenical Councils, are the more difficult problems, for these indicate a "mind set" and it is
this mind set more than anything else, which causes opposition from the rest of The Holy
Catholic and Apostolic Church. When one meets arrogance, which often is or appears to be what
is the Roman position, one intuitively reacts with opposition to that arrogance.
If Orthodox could trust Rome a little or a little more, and if Rome could abandon its arrogance a
little, . . . but then if if were a skiff we could all take a ride. But, we do need to take that ride.
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IMITATION OF CHRIST
By Thomas a Kempis
The Seventh Chapter
Avoiding False Hope and Pride
Vain is the man who puts his trust in men, in created things.
Do not be ashamed to serve others for the love of Jesus Christ and to seem poor in this world. Do
not be self-sufficient but place your trust in God. Do what lies in your power and God will aid
your good will. Put no trust in your own learning nor in the cunning of any man, but rather in the
grace of God Who helps the humble and humbles the proud.
If you have wealth, do not glory in it, nor in friends because they are powerful, but in God Who
gives all things and Who desires above all to give Himself. Do not boast of personal stature or of
physical beauty, qualities which are marred and destroyed by a little sickness. Do not take pride
in your talent or ability, lest you displease God to Whom belongs all the natural gifts that you
Do not think yourself better than others lest, perhaps, you be accounted worse before God Who
knows what is in man. Do not take pride in your good deeds, for God's judgments differ from
those of men and what pleases them often displeases Him. If there is good in you, see more good
in others, so that you may remain humble. It does no harm to esteem yourself less than anyone
else, but it is very harmful to think yourself better than even one. The humble live in continuous
peace, while in the hearts of the proud are envy and frequent anger.
IMITATION OF CHRIST
By Thomas a Kempis
The Eighth Chapter
Do not open your heart to every man, but discuss your affairs with one who is wise and who fears
God. Do not keep company with young people and strangers. Do not fawn upon the rich, and do
not be fond of mingling with the great. Associate with the humble and the simple, with the
devout and virtuous, and with them speak of edifying things. Be not intimate with any woman,
but generally commend all good women to God. Seek only the intimacy of God and of His
angels, and avoid the notice of men.
We ought to have charity for all men but familiarity with all is not expedient. Sometimes it
happens that a person enjoys a good reputation among those who do not know him, but at the
same time is held in slight regard by those who do. Frequently we think we are pleasing others by
our presence and we begin rather to displease them by the faults they find in us.
IMITATION OF CHRIST
By Thomas a Kempis
The Ninth Chapter
Obedience and Subjection
It is a very great thing to obey, to live under a superior and not to be one's own master, for it is
much safer to be subject than it is to command. Many live in obedience more from necessity than
from love. Such become discontented and dejected on the slightest pretext; they will never gain
peace of mind unless they subject themselves wholeheartedly for the love of God.
Go where you may, you will find no rest except in humble obedience to the rule of authority.
Dreams of happiness expected from change and different places have deceived many.
Everyone, it is true, wishes to do as he pleases and is attracted to those who agree with him. But
if God be among us, we must at times give up our opinions for the blessings of peace.
Furthermore, who is so wise that he can have full knowledge of everything? Do not trust too much in your own opinions, but be willing to listen to those of others. If, though your own be good, you accept
another's opinion for love of God, you will gain much more merit; for I have often heard that it is
safer to listen to advice and take it than to give it. It may happen, too, that while one's own
opinion may be good, refusal to agree with others when reason and occasion demand it, is a sign
of pride and obstinacy.
IMITATION OF CHRIST
By Thomas a Kempis
The Tenth Chapter
Avoiding Idle Talk
Shun the gossip of men as much as possible, for discussion of worldly affairs, even though
sincere, is a great distraction inasmuch as we are quickly ensnared and captivated by vanity.
Many a time I wish that I had held my peace and had not associated with men. Why, indeed, do we converse and gossip among ourselves when we so seldom part without a troubled conscience? We do so because we seek comfort from one another's conversation and wish to ease the mind wearied by diverse thoughts. Hence, we talk and think quite fondly of
things we like very much or of things we dislike intensely. But, sad to say, we often talk vainly
and to no purpose; for this external pleasure effectively bars inward and divine consolation.
Therefore we must watch and pray lest time pass idly.
When the right and opportune moment comes for speaking, say something that will edify.
Bad habits and indifference to spiritual progress do much to remove the guard from the tongue.
Devout conversation on spiritual matters, on the contrary, is a great aid to spiritual progress,
especially when persons of the same mind and spirit associate together in God.
IMITATION OF CHRIST
By Thomas a Kempis
The Eleventh Chapter
Acquiring Peace and Zeal for Perfection
We should enjoy much peace if we did not concern ourselves with what others say and do, for
these are no concern of ours. How can a man who meddles in affairs not his own, who seeks
strange distractions, and who is little or seldom inwardly recollected, live long in peace?
Blessed are the simple of heart for they shall enjoy peace in abundance.
Why were some of the saints so perfect and so given to contemplation? Because they tried to
mortify entirely in themselves all earthly desires, and thus they were able to attach themselves to
God with all their heart and freely to concentrate their innermost thoughts.
We are too occupied with our own whims and fancies, too taken up with passing things. Rarely do we completely conquer even one vice, and we are not inflamed with the desire to improve ourselves day by day; hence, we remain cold and indifferent. If we mortified our bodies perfectly and allowed no distractions to enter our minds, we could
appreciate divine things and experience something of heavenly contemplation.
The greatest obstacle, indeed, the only obstacle, is that we are not free from passions and lusts,
that we do not try to follow the perfect way of the saints. Thus when we encounter some slight
difficulty, we are too easily dejected and turn to human consolations. If we tried, however, to
stand as brave men in battle, the help of the Lord from heaven would surely sustain us. For He
Who gives us the opportunity of fighting for victory, is ready to help those who carry on and trust
in His grace.
If we let our progress in religious life depend on the observance of its externals alone, our
devotion will quickly come to an end. Let us, then, lay the ax to the root that we may be freed
from our passions and thus have peace of mind.
If we were to uproot only one vice each year, we should soon become perfect. The contrary,
however, is often the case -- we feel that we were better and purer in the first fervor of our
conversion than we are after many years in the practice of our faith. Our fervor and progress
ought to increase day by day; yet it is now considered noteworthy if a man can retain even a part
of his first fervor.
If we did a little violence to ourselves at the start, we should afterwards be able to do all things
with ease and joy. It is hard to break old habits, but harder still to go against our will.
If you do not overcome small, trifling things, how will you overcome the more difficult? Resist
temptations in the beginning, and unlearn the evil habit lest perhaps, little by little, it lead to a
more evil one.
If you but consider what peace a good life will bring to yourself and what joy it will give to
others, I think you will be more concerned about your spiritual progress.
IMITATION OF CHRIST
By Thomas a Kempis
The Twelfth Chapter
The Value of Adversity
It is good for us to have trials and troubles at times, for they often remind us that we are on probation and ought not to hope in any worldly thing. It is good for us sometimes to suffer contradiction, to be misjudged by men even though we do well and mean well. These things help us to be humble and shield us from vainglory. When to all outward appearances men give us no credit, when they do not think well of us,
then we are more inclined to seek God Who sees our hearts. Therefore, a man ought to root
himself so firmly in God that he will not need the consolations of men.
When a man of good will is afflicted, tempted, and tormented by evil thoughts, he realizes clearly
that his greatest need is God, without Whom he can do no good. Saddened by his miseries and
sufferings, he laments and prays. He wearies of living longer and wishes for death that he might
be dissolved and be with Christ. Then he understands fully that perfect security and complete
peace cannot be found on earth.
IMITATION OF CHRIST
By Thomas a Kempis
The Thirteenth Chapter
So long as we live in this world we cannot escape suffering and temptation. Whence it is written
in Job: "The life of man upon earth is a warfare." Everyone, therefore, must guard against
temptation and must watch in prayer lest the devil, who never sleeps but goes about seeking
whom he may devour, find occasion to deceive him. No one is so perfect or so holy but he is
sometimes tempted; man cannot be altogether free from temptation.
Yet temptations, though troublesome and severe, are often useful to a man, for in them he is
humbled, purified, and instructed. The saints all passed through many temptations and trials to
profit by them, while those who could not resist became reprobate and fell away. There is no
state so holy, no place so secret that temptations and trials will not come. Man is never safe from
them as long as he lives, for they come from within us -- in sin we were born. When one
temptation or trial passes, another comes; we shall always have something to suffer because we
have lost the state of original blessedness.
Many people try to escape temptations, only to fall more deeply. We cannot onquer simply by fleeing, but by patience and true humility we become stronger than all our enemies. The man who only shuns temptations outwardly and does not uproot them will make little
progress; indeed they will quickly return, more violent than before.
Little by little, in patience and long-suffering you will overcome them, by the help of God rather
than by severity and your own rash ways. Often take counsel when tempted; and do not be harsh
with others who are tempted, but console them as you yourself would wish to be consoled.
The beginning of all temptation lies in a wavering mind and little trust in God, for as a rudderless
ship is driven hither and yon by waves, so a careless and irresolute man is tempted in many ways.
Fire tempers iron and temptation steels the just. Often we do not know what we can stand, but
temptation shows us what we are.
Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is
more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold
when he knocks.
Someone has said very aptly: "Resist the beginnings; remedies come too late, when by long delay
the evil has gained strength." First, a mere thought comes to mind, then strong imagination,
followed by pleasure, evil delight, and consent. Thus, because he is not resisted in the beginning,
Satan gains full entry. And the longer a man delays in resisting, so much the weaker does he
become each day, while the strength of the enemy grows against him.
Some suffer great temptations in the beginning of their conversion, others toward the end, while
some are troubled almost constantly throughout their life. Others, again, are tempted but lightly
according to the wisdom and justice of Divine Providence Who weighs the status and merit of
each and prepares all for the salvation of His elect.
We should not despair, therefore, when we are tempted, but pray to God the more fervently that
He may see fit to help us, for according to the word of Paul, He will make issue with temptation
that we may be able to bear it. Let us humble our souls under the hand of God in every trial and
temptation for He will save and exalt the humble in spirit.
In temptations and trials the progress of a man is measured; in them opportunity for merit and
virtue is made more manifest.
When a man is not troubled it is not hard for him to be fervent and devout, but if he bears up
patiently in time of adversity, there is hope for great progress.
Some, guarded against great temptations, are frequently overcome by
small ones in order that, humbled by their weakness in small trials, they may not presume on
their own strength in great ones.
 Job 7:1.
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The Confessions of
13. Did I not, then, as I grew out of infancy, come next to boyhood, or rather did it not come to me and succeed my infancy? My infancy did not go away (for where would it go?). It was simply no longer present; and I was no longer an infant who could not speak, but now a chattering boy. I remember this, and I have
since observed how I learned to speak. My elders did not teach me words by rote, as they taught me my letters afterward. But I myself, when I was unable to communicate all I wished to say to whomever I wished by means of whimperings and grunts and various gestures of my limbs (which I used to reinforce my demands), I myself repeated the sounds already stored in my memory by the mind which thou, O my God, hadst given me. When they called some thing by name and pointed it out while they spoke, I saw it and realized that the thing they wished to indicate was called by the name they then uttered. And what they meant was made plain by the gestures of their bodies, by a kind of natural language, common to all nations, which expresses itself through changes of countenance, glances of the eye, gestures and intonations which indicate a disposition and attitude -- either to seek or to possess, to reject or to avoid. So it was that by frequently hearing words, in different phrases, I gradually identified the objects which the words stood for and, having formed my mouth to repeat these signs, I was thereby able to express my will. Thus I exchanged with those about me the verbal signs by which we express our wishes and advanced deeper into the stormy fellowship of human life,
depending all the while upon the authority of my parents and the behest of my elders.
14. O my God! What miseries and mockeries did I then experience when it was impressed on me that obedience to my teachers was proper to my boyhood estate if I was to flourish in this world and distinguish myself in those tricks of speech which would gain honor for me among men, and deceitful riches! To this end I was sent to school to get learning, the value of which I knew not -- wretch that I was. Yet if I was slow to learn, I was flogged. For this was deemed praiseworthy by our forefathers and many had passed before us in the same course, and thus had built up the precedent for the sorrowful road on which we too were compelled to travel, multiplying labor and sorrow upon the sons of Adam. About this time, O Lord, I observed men praying to thee, and I learned from them to conceive thee -- after my capacity for understanding as it was then -- to be some great Being, who,
though not visible to our senses, was able to hear and help us. Thus as a boy I began to pray to thee, my Help and my Refuge, and, in calling on thee, broke the bands of my tongue. Small as I was,
I prayed with no slight earnestness that I might not be beaten at school. And when thou
didst not heed me -- for that would have been giving me over to my folly -- my elders and
even my parents too, who wished me no ill, treated my stripes as a joke, though they were
then a great and grievous ill to me.
15. Is there anyone, O Lord, with a spirit so great, who cleaves to thee with such steadfast affection (or is there even a kind of obtuseness that has the same effect) -- is there any man who, by cleaving devoutly to thee, is endowed with so great a courage that he can regard indifferently those racks and hooks and other torture weapons from which men throughout the world pray so
fervently to be spared; and can they scorn those who so greatly fear these torments, just as
my parents were amused at the torments with which our teachers punished us boys? For
we were no less afraid of our pains, nor did we beseech thee less to escape them. Yet, even
so, we were sinning by writing or reading or studying less than our assigned lessons.
For I did not, O Lord, lack memory or capacity, for, by thy will, I possessed enough for my
age. However, my mind was absorbed only in play, and I was punished for this by those
who were doing the same things themselves. But the idling of our elders is called business;
the idling of boys, though quite like it, is punished by those same elders, and no one pities
either the boys or the men. For will any common sense observer agree that I was rightly
punished as a boy for playing ball -- just because this hindered me from learning more
quickly those lessons by means of which, as a man, I could play at more shameful games?
And did he by whom I was beaten do anything different? When he was worsted in some
small controversy with a fellow teacher, he was more tormented by anger and envy than I
was when beaten by a playmate in the ball game.
16. And yet I sinned, O Lord my God, thou ruler and creator of all natural things -- but of sins only the ruler -- I sinned, O Lord my God, in acting against the precepts of my parents and of
those teachers. For this learning which they wished me to acquire -- no matter what their
motives were -- I might have put to good account afterward. I disobeyed them, not because
I had chosen a better way, but from a sheer love of play. I loved the vanity of victory, and I
loved to have my ears tickled with lying fables, which made them itch even more ardently,
and a similar curiosity glowed more and more in my eyes for the shows and sports of my
elders. Yet those who put on such shows are held in such high repute that almost all desire
the same for their children. They are therefore willing to have them beaten, if their
childhood games keep them from the studies by which their parents desire them to grow up
to be able to give such shows. Look down on these things with mercy, O Lord, and deliver
us who now call upon thee; deliver those also who do not call upon thee, that they may call
upon thee, and thou mayest deliver them.
17. Even as a boy I had heard of eternal life promised to us through the humility of the Lord our God, who came down to visit us in our pride, and I was signed with the sign of his cross, and was seasoned with his salt even from the womb of my mother, who greatly trusted in thee. Thou didst see, O Lord, how, once, while I was still a child, I was suddenly seized with stomach pains and
was at the point of death -- thou didst see, O my God, for even then thou wast my keeper, with what agitation and with what faith I solicited from the piety of my mother and from thy Church (which is the mother of us all) the baptism of thy Christ, my Lord and my God. The other of my flesh was much erplexed, for, with a heart pure in thy faith, she was always in deep travail for my eternal salvation.
she would have provided forthwith for my initiation and washing by thy life-giving
sacraments, confessing thee, O Lord Jesus, for the forgiveness of sins. So my cleansing was
deferred, as if it were inevitable that, if I should live, I would be further polluted; and,
further, because the guilt contracted by sin after baptism would be still greater and more
Thus, at that time, I "believed" along with my mother and the whole household, except my
father. But he did not overcome the influence of my mother's piety in me, nor did he
prevent my believing in Christ, although he had not yet believed in him. For it was her
desire, O my God, that I should acknowledge thee as my Father rather than him. In this
thou didst aid her to overcome her husband, to whom, though his superior, she yielded
obedience. In this way she also yielded obedience to thee, who dost so command.
18. I ask thee, O my God, for I would gladly know if it be thy will, to what good end my
baptism was deferred at that time? Was it indeed for my good that the reins were
slackened, as it were, to encourage me in sin? Or, were they not slackened? If not, then
why is it still dinned into our ears on all sides, "Let him alone, let him do as he pleases, for
he is not yet baptized"? In the matter of bodily health, no one says, "Let him alone; let him
be worse wounded; for he is not yet cured"! How much better, then, would it have been
for me to have been cured at once -- and if thereafter, through the diligent care of friends
and myself, my soul's restored health had been kept safe in thy keeping, who gave it in the
first place! This would have been far better, in truth. But how many and great the waves
of temptation which appeared to hang over me as I grew out of childhood! These were
foreseen by my mother, and she preferred that the unformed clay should be risked to them
rather than the clay molded after Christ's image.
19. But in this time of childhood -- which was far less dreaded for me than my adolescence
-- I had no love of learning, and hated to be driven to it. Yet I was driven to it just the
same, and good was done for me, even though I did not do it well, for I would not have
learned if I had not been forced to it. For no man does well against his will, even if what he
does is a good thing. Neither did they who forced me do well, but the good that was done
me came from thee, my God. For they did not care about the way in which I would use
what they forced me to learn, and took it for granted that it was to satisfy the inordinate
desires of a rich beggary and a shameful glory. But thou, Lord, by whom the hairs of our
head are numbered, didst use for my good the error of all who pushed me on to study: but
my error in not being willing to learn thou didst use for my punishment. And I -- though
so small a boy yet so great a sinner -- was not punished without warrant. Thus by the
instrumentality of those who did not do well, thou didst well for me; and by my own sin
thou didst justly punish me. For it is even as thou hast ordained: that every inordinate
affection brings on its own punishment.
20. But what were the causes for my strong dislike of Greek literature, which I studied from my boyhood? Even to this day I have not fully understood them. For Latin I loved exceedingly -- not just the rudiments, but what the grammarians teach. For those
beginner's lessons in reading, writing, and reckoning, I considered no less a burden and pain than Greek. Yet whence came this, unless from the sin and vanity of this life? For I was "but flesh, a wind that passeth away and cometh not again." Those first lessons were better, assuredly, because they were more certain, and through them I acquired, and still retain, the power of reading what I find written and of writing for myself what I will. In the other subjects, however, I was compelled to learn about the wanderings of a certain Aeneas, oblivious of my own wanderings, and to weep for Dido dead, who slew herself for love. And all this while I bore with dry eyes my own wretched self dying
to thee, O God, my life, in the midst of these things.
21. For what can be more wretched than the wretch who has no pity upon himself, who
sheds tears over Dido, dead for the love of Aeneas, but who sheds no tears for his own
death in not loving thee, O God, light of my heart, and bread of the inner mouth of my soul,
O power that links together my mind with my inmost thoughts? I did not love thee, and
thus committed fornication against thee.
Those around me, also sinning, thus cried out: "Well done! Well done!" The friendship of
this world is fornication against thee; and "Well done! Well done!" is cried until one feels
ashamed not to show himself a man in this way. For my own condition I shed no tears,
though I wept for Dido, who "sought death at the sword's point," while I myself was
seeking the lowest rung of thy creation, having forsaken thee; earth sinking back to earth
again. And, if I had been forbidden to read these poems, I would have grieved that I was
not allowed to read what grieved me. This sort of madness is considered more honorable
and more fruitful learning than the beginner's course in which I learned to read and write.
[No Chapter 14 was found. The last two divisions of the fourdivisions of Chapter 13 were
taken from it to create a Chapter 14 -- a choice which may, or may not, be correct.]
22. But now, O my God, cry unto my soul, and let thy truth say to me: "Not so, not so! That first learning was far better." For, obviously, I would rather forget the wanderings of Aeneas, and all such things, than forget how to write and read. Still, over the entrance of the grammar school there hangs a veil. This is not so much the sign of a covering for a mystery as a curtain
for error. Let them exclaim against me -- those I no longer fear -- while I confess to thee, my God, what my soul desires, and let
me find some rest, for in blaming my own evil ways I may come to love thy holy ways. Neither let those cry out against me who buy and sell the baubles of literature. For if I ask them if it is true, as the poet says, that Aeneas once came to Carthage, the unlearned will reply that they do not know and the learned will deny that it is true. But if I ask with what letters the name
Aeneas is written, all who have ever learned this will answer correctly, in accordance with the conventional understanding men have agreed upon as to these signs. Again, if I should ask which would cause the greatest inconvenience in our life, if it were
forgotten: reading and writing, or these poetical fictions, who does not see what everyone
would answer who had not entirely lost his own memory? I erred, then, when as a boy I
preferred those vain studies to these more profitable ones, or rather loved the one and
hated the other. "One and one are two, two and two are four": this was then a truly
hateful song to me. But the wooden horse full of its armed soldiers, and the holocaust of
Troy, and the spectral image of Creusa were all a most delightful -- and vain -- show!
23. But why, then, did I dislike Greek learning, which was full of such tales? For Homer was skillful in inventing such poetic fictions and is most sweetly wanton; yet when I was a boy, he was most disagreeable to me. I believe that Virgil would have the same effect on Greek boys as Homer did on me if they were forced to learn him. For the tedium of learning a foreign language mingled gall into the sweetness of those Grecian myths. For I did not understand a word of the language, and yet I was driven with threats and cruel punishments to learn it. There was also a time when, as an infant, I knew no Latin; but this I acquired without any fear or tormenting, but merely by being alert to the blandishments of my nurses, the jests of those who smiled on me, and the sportiveness of those who toyed with me. I learned all this, indeed, without being urged by any pressure of punishment, for my own heart urged me to bring forth its own fashioning, which I could not do except by learning words: not from those who taught me but those who talked to me, into whose
ears I could pour forth whatever I could fashion. From this it is sufficiently clear that a
free curiosity is more effective in learning than a discipline based on fear. Yet, by thy
ordinance, O God, discipline is given to restrain the excesses of freedom; this ranges from
the ferule of the schoolmaster to the trials of the martyr and has the effect of mingling for
us a wholesome bitterness, which calls us back to thee from the poisonous pleasures that
first drew us from thee.
24. Hear my prayer, O Lord; let not my soul faint under thy discipline, nor let me faint in confessing unto thee thy mercies, whereby thou hast saved me from all my most wicked ways till thou shouldst become sweet to me beyond all the allurements that I used to follow. Let me come to love thee wholly, and grasp thy hand with my whole heart that thou mayest deliver me from every temptation, even unto the last. And thus, O Lord, my King and my God, may all things useful that I learned as a boy now be offered in thy service -- let it be that for thy service I now speak and write and reckon. For when I was learning vain things, thou didst impose thy discipline upon me: and thou hast forgiven me my sin of delighting in those vanities. In those studies I learned many a useful word, but these might have been learned in matters not so vain; and surely that is the safe way for youths to walk in.
25. But woe unto you, O torrent of human custom! Who shall stay your course? When will you ever run dry? How long will you carry down the sons of Eve into that vast and hideous ocean, which even those who have the Tree (for an ark) can scarcely pass over? Do I not read in you the stories of Jove the thunderer -- and the adulterer? How could he be both? But so it says, and
the sham thunder served as a cloak for him to play at real adultery. Yet which of our gowned masters will give a tempered hearing to a man trained in their own schools who cries out and says: "These were Homer's fictions; he transfers things human to the gods. I could have wished that he would transfer divine things to us." But it would have been more true if he said,
"These are, indeed, his fictions, but he attributed divine attributes to sinful men, that
crimes might not be accounted crimes, and that whoever committed such crimes might
appear to imitate the celestial gods and not abandoned men."
26. And yet, O torrent of hell, the sons of men are still cast into you, and they pay fees for learning all these things. And much is made of it when this goes on in the forum under the auspices of laws which give a salary over and above the fees. And you beat against your rocky shore and roar: "Here words may be learned; here you can attain the eloquence which is so necessary
to persuade people to your way of thinking; so helpful in unfolding your opinions." Verily, they seem to argue that we should never have understood these words, "golden shower," "bosom," "intrigue," "highest heavens," and other such words, if
Terence had not introduced a good-for-nothing youth upon the stage, setting up a picture of Jove as his example of lewdness and telling the tale
"Of Jove's descending in a golden
Into Danae's bosom...
With a woman to intrigue."
See how he excites himself to lust, as if by a heavenly authority, when he says:
"Great Jove, Who shakes the highest heavens with his thunder; Shall I, poor mortal
man, not do the same? I've done it, and with all my heart, I'm glad."
These words are not learned one whit more easily because of this vileness, but through
them the vileness is more boldly perpetrated. I do not blame the words, for they are, as it
were, choice and precious vessels, but I do deplore the wine of error which was poured out
to us by teachers already drunk. And, unless we also drank we were beaten, without
liberty of appeal to a sober judge. And yet, O my God, in whose presence I can now with
security recall this, I learned these things willingly and with delight, and for it I was called
a boy of good promise.
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(The Editors reserve the right to reject any submissions, and to edit as
necessary. Letters must be typed, single space, signed, and include the sender's name address,
and day and evening telephone numbers - If your typed letter is acompanied by an ASCII DOS
Text copy on a floppy, we will thank you with extra prayers - Ed.)
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WORLD WIDE WEB:
The direct connection to computer which functions as the message, file, and communications center for The Society of Clerks Secular of Saint Basil, is:
Issues of REUNION, in color, in Adobe PDF and HTML, are available at:
Dial-up WWW acess: Basilian Clergy and Parishioners have free access to the WWW (keep it
clean or you will be locked-out) using WinServer Navigator (WildCat Navigator) through the
Basilian central communications system at Holy Innocents Orthodox Church BBS (504)
On Line Chat Room: at the main web site log-in http://www.reu.org Clergy "chat schedule" is
posted on the "Chat Room" log-on page.
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Rev. Fr. Dcn. Peter Angasan
P.O. Box 70123
South Naknek, Alaska 99670-0123
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DIVINE LITURGY "MASS" CARDS
Commonly called "Mass Cards", these 4 1/4" by 5 1/2 " (folded) Icon cards feature the above
Icons, and open to reveal prayer intentions for the living and for those who have Fallen
Asleep in The Lord.
ICON # 4 ICON # 7 ICON # 11 ICON # 19 ICON # 26 SOUFANIEH
For those who have Fallen Asleep in The Lord, Icon # 19 graces the cover, with the following text (reduced here to fit in this column) inside:
General Intentions For the Living, for weddings, illnesses, general need, and for the sake of prayer itself, etc., cards, have Icons nos. 4, 7, 11, and 26, and a photograph of the Icon of Our Lady of Soufanieh showing the olive oil dripping from the bottom of the Icon's frame, are available on the covers. All the Icons are full color printed cards, except Our Lady of Soufanieh, which is a color photograph.
The text on the inside of the cards for the living is given above, again reduced here to fit inside the column.
These cards are very beautiful, light gray or bamboo in color, but they are only a product - something to induce you to make a donation which we use to support the various works we provide, including publication of REUNION.
To have a person included in our prayers and at Divine Liturgy, send us a note, or fill out the form in the right column of this page and send it to us. There is no fee for the prayers and Masses, that would be Simony. These cards are also available without prayer intentions, and can be used for regular note or religiously oriented note stationery.
Consider obtaining a small supply, and send the prayer request slip which accompanies the cards when you actually use the card.
Like Monasteries which obtain donations for their Icons, or sell Icons and other items, the donations we receive from these cards are of great use to us. Your help is always appreciated.
If you wish someone to be included in our payer and Divine Liturgy intentions, please just fill in the form below and send it to us - but do not send any money. Prayers are free, the cards cost money.
ITEM QUANTITY REQUESTED TOTAL
Mass Cards: Each
Icon # 4 _________ $2.00 $____________
Icon #7 _________ $2.00 $____________
Icon #11 _________ $2.00 $____________
Icon #19 (Deceased) _________ $2.00 $____________
Icon #26 _________ $2.00 $____________
Soufanieh _________ $3.00 $____________
Icon Stationery Cards: (same as Mass cards but without inside inscription, packs of 10
cards and 11 envelopes)
Icon #4 _________ $15.00 $____________
Icon #7 _________ $15.00 $____________
Icon #11 _________ $15.00 $____________
Icon #19 _________ $15.00 $____________
Icon #26 _________ $15.00 $____________
Soufanieh _________ $22.00 $____________
Liturgical Calendars: (may contain errors, we try to correct them as we receive notice)
General Calendar _________ $6.00 for one $____________
(55 pages +/-) _________ $2.00 for each $____________
at same time
For Year 2000 _________ $6.00 for one $____________
(49 pages +/-) _________ $2.00 for each $____________
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Western Rite Divine Liturgy with rubrics:
Pew Size _________ $5.00 for one $____________
_________ $2.00 for each $____________
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8 1/2" x 11 " pages _________ $9.00 for one $____________
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