In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Dear beloved, let us remember Blessed Augustine of Hippo and his mother St Monica, Prophet Amos, St Abraham of Auvergne. Blessed Augustine, St Monica, Prophet Amos, and St Abraham, pray for us.

Blessed Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, father among the saints in the 4th century, who wrote many spiritually edifying writings, once said, “it is better for people to condemn our grammar, than that they do not understand”.

Therefore, there is a place and time for deep spiritual writings, especially to define and put things into the right perspective. For many of us who are humble pilgrims traveling towards God, seeking to partake in His Divine Nature, seeking to glorify Him in all the days of our lives, often failing, falling, and weeping, and yet with His Mercy, stands up again and continue walking towards Him, there may be something else, something simple, that we need. As Blessed Augustine said, we seek to understand so that we can seek and return to God.

This is what encircles our minds and hearts when we reflect on Deuteronomy 6:5-9. We are to love God with our whole heart, our whole soul, and our whole power. God is bountiful in love and mercy with us, His priceless creations. So then, we are to love Him in our whole heart, soul and power. In the interior prayer, we unceasingly pray unto God, which is the essence of Deuteronomy 6, whether we talk to others, sitting in our abodes, walking, lying down, and going about our daily grind and activities. Our constant thinking of God is a prayer, however simple it may sound to another.

One of the most spiritually uplifting openings to a book for ordinary people such as us, has to be “The Way of a Pilgrim”, which seeks the interior prayer, the unceasing prayer, to be the center of our lives, everyday.

It began in such a profound manner, “By the grace of God I am a Christian, by my actions a great sinner, and by calling a homeless wanderer of the humblest birth who roams from place to place. My worldly goods are a knapsack and some dried bread in it, and a Bible in my breast pocket. And that is all.”

What does that mean to us? As we reflect on St Matthew 6:33, we are to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God. As a rich young man asked our Lord Jesus Christ (St Luke 18:22-25), on what he needed to inherit eternal life, having kept the laws of God. Our Lord told this young man, the only one thing he lacked towards eternal life, was to forsake his wealth to give to the poor, and follow Christ. When the rich young man felt sad that he had to forego his wealth to seek eternal life, our Lord told him, that it would be easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle, than a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God.

And yet, the nameless monk in “The Way of a Pilgrim”, said that all he possessed was a vessel (the knapsack), to contain the kindness of people (the bread), and his most prized possession – the Holy Bible. That was all he had, and all that he needed, to seek after the Kingdom of God.

Our Lord assured His apostles who left behind their worldly possessions and followed Him, that every person who forego material and worldly attachments for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will receive many times more, and in the age to come, eternal life (St Luke 18:28-30).

In these days, we begin to see the unraveling of great challenges, great difficulties, and above all, great spiritual warfare resulting from the lures and snares of the evil one. Keep our hearts simple, our thoughts simple towards God, and our prayers intense, and our love for others continuing. Pray ever simply, without hesitation in every break and silence we enjoy, calling on His Holy Name, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”.

Let us close by praying the thanksgiving prayer:

It is truly meet to call thee blest, the Theotokos, ever blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word: True Theotokos, we magnify thee.

O virgin Theotokos, rejoice; O Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Savior of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr Raphael+

Readings
Deuteronomy 6:5-9
Psalm 91 (LXX 90)
St Matthew 11:27-30
Romans 11:13-24