SUNDAY OF THE FOREFATHERS
Choir Director: Veronika
We welcome you to the Orthodox Church. Please feel at ease and free to participate in the singing. As a visitor you are welcome to come forward at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy and venerate the Cross offered by the priest. Additionally you may receive the blessed bread (Antidoron) that is offered at that time. If you have questions or would like further information, the priest or one of the members of the parish will be pleased to help.
A word to our visitors on Holy Communion
The Orthodox Church does not practice open Communion. Therefore, only members of Canonical Orthodox Churches exercising jurisdiction in America may approach the Chalice for Holy Communion. The Orthodox do not regard Holy Communion solely as an act of personal piety, but also as an expression of union with the Orthodox Church’s faith, doctrine, and discipline. Orthodox visitors wishing to receive Holy Communion should make their intention known to the priest in advance — ask any member of the parish for help in relaying your intention to the priest. Orthodox Christians should prepare themselves to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion through recent Confession, prayers of preparation for Holy Communion, and fasting (at minimum, from midnight before receiving).
“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in a an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.” – I Corinthians 11:27
TROPARIA AND KONTAKIA
Troparion of the Forefathers – Tone 2
By faith didst Thou justify the forefathers, O Thou that, through them, didst betroth Thyself afore time to the Church which was from among the nations. The saints boast in glory, for from their seed hath come a right glorious fruit, even she that gaveth birth unto Thee. O Christ God, by their prayers have mercy upon us!
Kontakion of the Forefathers – Tone 6
O thrice-blessed ones, who did not honor an image wrought by hands, but were defended by the indescribable Essence, ye were glorified in your ordeal by fire; and standing in the midst of unbearable flame, ye called upon God, saying: Speed Thou and make haste to our aid, O Compassionate One, in that Thou art merciful; for what Thou willest, Thou canst do!
Opportunities to give:
➢ Food donations to the Ashland Food Project
➢ Our Nativity drive for Jackson County Fuel is going on. Please state clearly on the check or envelope if you want to contribute!
- Please sign up for coffee fellowship/kitchen cleanup.
- Parish Council meeting following Divine Liturgy today.
- Ss. Peter and Paul Men’s Fellowship this Tuesday at 6.00 PM.
- No more Adult Education classes for the year. We will resume classes January 16th.
- Choir practice on Saturday, 3.00 pm.
- The Nativity Fast is going on. For your own spiritual benefit, and for the glory of God, please observe it to the best of your ability!
Service Schedule this Week:
Wednesday – 6.00 pm, Vespers
Thursday – 6.40 am, Hours, Divine Liturgy
Saturday – 6.00 pm, Great Vespers
Sunday – 8.40 am, Hours, Divine Liturgy
Confession after Vespers or by appointment!
Other Activities Next Week:
- Tuesday, 6.00 PM – Ss. Peter and Paul Men’s Fellowship
- Saturday, 3.00 PM – Choir practice for Nativity at the Bloms’
SERVICE SCHEDULE FOR NATIVITY
Monday, December 24, 2012
8.00 am – Royal Hours, Typika, Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil the Great
5.00 pm – Holy Supper (our last common supper of the Nativity Fast)
6.30 pm – Nativity Vigil
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
9.00 am – Divine Liturgy (the Nativity of our Lord)
On Prayer – Part 1 (St. Theophan the Recluse)
Gathering in the temple, you pray, of course. And in praying here, you surely ought not abandon prayer at home. Therefore, it would be extraneous to speak to you about our duty to pray, when you already pray. But I do not think that it is extraneous in any way to give you two or three rules about how to pray, if not in the way of teaching, then simply as a reminder. The work of prayer is the first work in Christian life. If in everyday affairs the saying: “live and learn” is true, then so much more it applies to prayer, which never stops and which has no limit.
Let me recall a wise custom of the ancient Holy Fathers: when greeting each other, they did not ask about health or anything else, but rather about prayer, saying “How is your prayer?” The activity of prayer was considered by them to a be a sign of the spiritual life, and they called it the breath of the spirit. If the body has breath, it lives; if breathing stops, life comes to an end. So it is with the spirit. If there is prayer, the soul lives; without prayer, there is no spiritual life.
However, not every act of prayer is prayer. Standing at home before your icons, or here in church, and venerating them is not yet prayer, but the “equipment” of prayer. Reading prayers either by heart or from a book, or hearing someone else read them is not yet prayer, but only a tool or method for obtaining and awakening prayer. Prayer itself is the piercing of our hearts by pious feelings towards God, one after another – feelings of humility, submission, gratitude, doxology, forgiveness, heart-felt prostration, brokenness, conformity to the will of God, etc. All of our effort should be directed so that during our prayers, these feelings and feelings like them should fill our souls, so that the heart would not be empty when the lips are reading the prayers, or when the ears hear and the body bows in prostrations, but that there would be some qualitative feeling, some striving toward God. When these feelings are present, our praying is prayer, and when they are absent, it is not yet prayer.
It seems that nothing should be simpler and more natural for us than prayer and our hearts’ striving for God. But in fact it is not always like this for everyone. One must awaken and strengthen a prayerful spirit in oneself, that is one must bring up a prayerful spirit. The first means to this is to read or to hear prayers said. Pray as you should, and you will certainly awaken and strengthen the ascent of your heart to God and you will come into a spirit of prayer.
In our prayer books, there are prayers of the Holy Fathers – Ephraim the Syrian, Makarios the Egyptian, Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, and other great men of prayer. Being filled with the spirit of prayer, they were able to up that living spirit into words, and handed it down to us. When one enters into these prayers with attention and effort, then that great and prayerful spirit will in turn enter into him. He will taste the power of prayer. We must pray so that our mind and heart receive the content of the prayers that we read. In this way the act of praying becomes a font of true prayer in us. I will give here three very simple instructions:
1. always begin praying with at least a little preparation;
2. do not pray carelessly, but with attention and feeling; and
3. do not go on to ordinary work immediately after prayer.