St John the Theologian smallIn the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Dear beloved, we remember 9th century saint Venerable Peter the Patrician, and monk, of Constantinople.

Venerable Peter was born into an aristocratic family (patrician). He was made a commander in the Greek army by the Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus and went to war against Bulgaria. During a battle, the Emperor was fatally injured and Saint Peter was taken captive. During a night of prayer, the Holy Apostle John the Theologian, came to Saint Peter in a vision and miraculously released him from the prison. Thereafter, Saint Peter joined a monastery on Mount Olympos in Asia Minor as a monk. He was ascetical with strict fasts and prayer, and wore a prickly shirt and went around barefeet. He reposed at 70 years old and was buried in the monastery. Saint Peter the Patrician, pray for us.

In life, we need to recognize what God intends for us. What God wills, we will find it fruitful to follow, and these intentions for us, may be pleasant and joyous, and sometimes, may be painful. But through it all, what God intends for us is for our salvation, for our reconciliation, for our spiritual strengthening, and for our fortitude.

As we reflect upon Lamentations 1:13-14, we know that our failings drag us down, and make us weary. Often, we turn to darkness when we should turn to the Light of God. Often, we turn depressed and weary when we should turn to the Warmth and Healing of God.

Yet, as we reflect upon Matthew 11:27-30, we find consolation that we are to experience and brave through our life journeys through Christ, and that all our burdens are to be with Christ our Lord, if we put our faith in Him. There is no other way to God, except through Christ. Do not be deceived my beloved. Any other assertion by any one, no matter how seemingly powerful, no matter how seemingly righteous, no matter how seemingly the majority, will be false and fruitless. Our only hope, our only path to reconciliation with God, is with Christ our Lord. This is important.

We are taught by the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:13-24, that we must be kind to all. Even as we are soldiering on as pilgrims in seeking our lifelong reconciliation with God, we must be humble in our ways, even as we rejoice that we have found our healing in the Church, just as we are reminded when we reflect on Proverbs 12:23-25.

Pride is a dangerous sin, and the evil one will always trick us through our sins such as pride. For those who do not believe in Christ, let us pray for them that they will yearn for God and be listening to Him and His signs in God’s Time. And for those who have fallen away from the Church, let us pray for them that they will find God through the Church, and not be misled by falsehood, but find the Truth that resides only in the Church.

Nothing evil, however colossal it may seem to us, will prevail. God is infinite, and He will always prevail. Do not believe in heresy that good is balanced by evil. God’s Good is infinite and permeates throughout eternity and space. The evil one, on the other hand, is a mere speck of dust compared to God. Therefore, abide in God, and keep Him close to us as we struggle against our burdens, our sins, our weariness.

“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:
Lamentations 1:13-14
Proverbs 12:23-25
Matthew 11:27-30
Romans 11:13-24