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The Birthday of Orthodoxy

June 23, 2024

The Birthday of Orthodoxy
Happy Birthday!!!!
Pentecost
Fill the Churches
We are celebrating this day of Pentecost, the day of the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, the day of the hope of perfection, the end of expectation, the longing for salvation, the fulfillment of prayer and the image of patience.
However, on this occasion, amidst fiery tongues, the deeds produced, by the activity of the Holy Spirit, served to preserve us, as heirs of preaching, in fulfillment of the will of God.
This very Feast of the Holy Trinity, likewise summons us to speak, because on this day, nearly two thousand years ago, the holy Apostles, who had just received the grace of the Holy Spirit, and were strengthened in faith and mind, fearlessly went forth to preach. And their fiery, inspiring word, their zeal for the Lord, immediately won the hearts of their hearers: as that day three thousand souls were baptized (Acts 2:41).  
This is the same Holy Spirit, Who was preached by the prophets; Who gave understanding to the apostles; Who spoke to men. He was given to them by the Lord, and all their adversaries were not able to contradict or resist Him. For, as the Lord said,
“It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”
This same Holy Spirit, also or­dains clergy, consecrates churches, purifies altars, completes sacrifices and cleanses people of their sins. This Holy Spirit abides with the godly, refines the righteous, and guides kings.
On the occasion of today’s birthday of the Church, we extend our heartfelt wish in the form of an appeal – let us fill our churches!
This temple is the House of God, a house of prayer, and in this holy house, we offer up our prayers.
We all know that a man in sorrow, misfortune, or need, runs to the Lord with supplicatory prayer, supplications; when one of our close ones dies, we hasten to church to ask the Lord to give rest to his soul and number him with the righteous. And we ourselves, when we are visited by a serious illness, we ask God, in our church, for healing and to grant us strength. Glory to God for such seeking and praying of God’s help!
Penitential prayer is also a form of supplication, because in repenting, we ask the Lord God for the forgiveness of our sins. And so, we have received what it was we asked: the Lord heard our prayer – and then what? How many return to church and give thanks? The holy Apostle Luke, tells us in his Gospel (17:17-18), “So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” How quickly we forget God’s benefits and blessings towards us!
We can observe this thankless attitude towards God’s generosity even among those who approach the greatest of His gifts – the Holy Mysteries. How many communicants leave church without waiting to really listen to or to pray their thanksgiving prayers, especially within their hearts and with their voices?
How many consider it their sacred duty to make the sign of the cross before and after meals? And likewise, in going to bed, to thank the Lord for all the good things He granted them that day? With great sorrow we must admit, that we have not corrected ourselves to thanksgiving prayer.
In looking over the different kinds of prayer, one can say that the most exalted is doxology – this is the prayer of a “singing heart”. A person, who loves God and everything godly; and feels a constant need for communion with his Creator and Providence.
This need, constitutes for him the very breath of life, and the heart of such a person – like a fount of pure, living water – washes his entire being, filling him with joy and peace in the Lord. For such a person, Divine Liturgy and prayers, in church, are a joy and a supreme mercy of communion and peace with the Lord: My peace I give unto you.
And if sincere supplication to the Lord is combined with unselfish gratitude toward Him, and with joyful praise of the glory of God, we demonstrate an abundance of love for God and a depth of faith in Him.
Remember how the holy Apostles who had been hiding from fear of the Jews, boldly set forth in their spiritually renewed state, to preach the Gospel. Here–in the illumination of our souls through the light of Truth–is our promise and our renewal, and here we attain that Promised Land, where we shall find joy, unspeakable and everlasting peace.
Then will our hearts be open to receive the desired gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is precisely this, the Church calls us to, today, in the prayer to the Holy Spirit, when we all sing “with one mouth and one heart.” The psalmist tells us, “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.” Psalm 95:2
Thus, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of sonship, and the Spirit of grace; for grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, to those who have been born by the power of God.
Moreover, the Spirit is called the Comforter, because He is also our advocate with the Father; not only is He with the Father, but He is always with us.
“And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever,” comforting your hearts, and making them steadfast in divine patience, and trust in Christ. Whereas, the holy Apostles re­ceived this testament after Christ’s holy Rising from the dead, and they, as we, were sent forth to teach and to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and whereas we have already been promised this true washing by the Holy Spirit, let us strive to keep our souls and our bodies undefiled, as we glorify the Most holy and consubstantial Trinity.
There is no doubt that a sincerely believing soul, thirsts to be free of this world.
A world with its suffocating cares and concerns, and which lies in all manner of evil; it is a world foreign to its spirit and its nature.
Prayer, sincere prayer, however, releases a person and their soul, from this captivity, to freedom, and returns them to his Father’s House.
And so, my brethren, let us approach this sweet converse with the Lord, and, turning from the fleeting ‘good things’ of this world, let us fill our holy churches, and thus ascend the blessed path of the salvation of our souls. Happy Birthday!
 Remember Christ is still King 

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