012413_theodosius_sqIn the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Dear beloved, as we walk in the afterfeast of the Theophany, we remember father among the saints, Venerable Theodosius the Great today. St Theodosius, pray for us!

The great desert father, Abba Anthony, once wondered to himself, “Lord, how is it that some die when they are young, while others live to a ripe old age? Why are some rich, and others poor? Why do wicked people prosper while the just suffer in need?” He heard a voice answering him, “Anthony, keep your attention to yourself. These things are according to the judgment of God, and it is not to your advantage to know anything about them.”

Father among the saints, the compassionate wonderworker of God, Venerable Theodosius was the father of cenobitic (common life) monasteries. Born into a faithful Christian family, the saint was known for a powerful voice and he used his gift in Church, faithfully reading and chanting. The young saint met St Simeon the Stylite in Jerusalem, who blessed the young man and told him that he would serve the Lord one day.

Eventually, St Theodosius settled into a cave in Palestine, and began his 30 years of eremitic and unceasing, prayerful life. Many people began to learn of the saint in the cave and came forward for his guidance. More and more people began to join the saint in the solitary life, until the cave was filled. The saint prayed unto the Lord for a new place for all the monks, and taking a censer with unlit coals, he walked into the wilderness. At one location the coals fired up and fragrant smoke began to rise up, and the saint rooted for the place to be the new monastery.

The saint showed love and compassion for all who came to him, whether those in poverty or needing shelter. There was once, due to a great famine in Palestine, many people came to St Theodosius for help. The saint took all of them in, much to the dismay of the monks, who knew that they did not have enough food for all. The saint prayed fervently, and miraculously by the Mercy of God, the kitchen was filled with bread. Through the humble prayers of the saint, such miracles to aid the poor occurred again and again.

Venerable Theodosius the Great showed us abundantly, that the wonders of God serves only one purpose – bringing people closer to God.

As we reflect upon St Matthew 11:27-30 and 2 Corinthians 4:6-15, we are often joyfully reminded, of how immense the shoulders of our Christ and Lord is, for He has promised us, that we can entrust our burdens upon His mighty shoulders, and He has assured us, He will lift us up, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. All the mighty wonderworking saints of our Lord shows us, that through their fervent and unceasing prayers for the sake of others, they have shown to many, that truly the healing and the uplifting strength of our God is with us, everyday, even as we traverse through life’s many sharp turns, fearful corners, and treacherously winding roads. God is with us, especially if we remember to place the burdens of others on our faithful prayers unto God, and it is especially important to reflect upon the Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9, Proverbs 21, and the Epistles in 2 Corinthians 4:6-15. Therefore, place the needs of others ahead of ours, and trust that our genuine prayers for the sake of others, however humble, will be heard by God.

Father among the saints, St Basil the Great, taught us,?”the eagerness to serve holy people is accounted as reverence for Christ, but those who eagerly tend to the poor are shown to be companions of Christ.”

In our daily lives, it is for us to remember that all things happen for a reason, and often, the reason is known only to God. We are not to probe unnecessarily all things which do not benefit our spiritual journeys towards God, nor should we attempt to find things out by intellect or the esoteric. Rather, focus on our repentance, our prayers unto God, and tend to the needs of others as much as we can. Do not draw near only to those who exhibit strength and abundance, nor only to the saints of God. Rather, listen to the cries of the needy, and through the Mercy of God, prostrate ourselves before God as His instruments to tend to others.

And before all deeds and all calamity, call our Lord often, “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
Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9
Proverbs 21:2-13
St Matthew 11:27-30
2 Corinthians 4:6-15