Glimpes of My Life in Pictures

Monday, July 18, 2011


Repent of your ways, inhabitants of the earth. Behold, the eye of the Master of the world is keeping watch deep within you. Do not trust your seducible eyes, let the Eye illumine your way. Your eyes are curtains over the Eye of God.

Repentance is admission of the way of sin. Repentance opens up a new way. The penitent's eyes are open to two ways: to the way which he is going, and to the way he should be going.

There are more who feel repentant than there are who turn their wheels onto a new way. I tell you: the penitent must have two types of courage--he must have the courage to weep over his old way, and he must have the courage to prepare himself for a new way.

What good is it for you to feel repentant and still tread the old way? How do you describe a person who is drowning and shouts for help, but when help arrives will not grab hold of the life line? I liken such a person to you.
Repent of your yearning for this world and all that is in this world. For this world is the graveyard of your ancestors, which is gaping and waiting for you. Just a little longer and you will be ancestors and will yearn to hear the word "repentance," but you will not hear it.

Just as the wind begins blowing and carries off the mist before the sun, so will death carry you off before the face of God.

Repentance rejuvenates the heart and lengthens one's lifetime. The tears of a penitent wash darkness from his eyes, and give his eyes a childlike radiance. The eye of my lake is like the eye of a deer, always moist and radiant as a diamond. In truth, the moisture in the eyes drains the anger in the heart.

The soul in the penitent is like a new moon. A full moon must wane, a new moon must wax.

The penitent clears the weeds from the field of his soul, and the seed of goodness begins to grow.

Truly, the penitent is not one who laments over the evil deed he has committed, but one who laments over all the evil deeds that he is capable of committing. A wise landowner not only cuts the thornbush that has pricked him, but every thornbush on the field that is waiting to prick him.

O my Lord, make haste to show a new way to every penitent, after he scorns his old way.

O heavenly Mother, Bride of the All-Holy Spirit, bow down toward our heart, when we repent. Open the fountain of tears within us, that we may wash away the heavy clay, that saddens our eyes.

O All-Holy Spirit, blow and disperse the unclean stench from the soul of the penitent that has been choking him and lead him to repentance.
We bow down and beseech You, O Life-giving and Mighty Spirit!
St. Nicolai Velimirovich

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Promise of the Holy Spirit Fullfilled

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. And on my servants and on my handmaids in those days will I pour out of my Spirit. Joel 2:28-29

It will come to pass in the last days,' God says, 'that I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. Indeed, upon my servants and my handmaids I will pour out a portion of my spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy. Acts: 2:17-18

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, Spirit of Truth, everywhere present and filling all things. Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life, come dwell in us, cleanse of from every impurity and save our souls, O Good One.

Come Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Living God, and dwell in our hearts. Purify our minds and our thoughts and make us worthy to be your holy temple. Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew our souls. Make us docile and obedient to every movement of your holy will, no longer living for ourselves, but only for you, O Lord. I love you, O Lord, with all of my heart. For you are One God, forever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Our Father David, the Prophet and King

Kiahk 23
The Departure of David, the Prophet and King.

On this day, of the year 2990 of the world, the great King and the saintly honored prophet David, the son of Jesse, departed.

He was the second king over the children of Israel and the first among their kings to walk in virtue and in justice. He was from the tribe of Judah from Bethlehem. God chose him to be a king over Israel, when Saul, the son of Kish, disobeyed the commandment of God.

God commanded the Prophet Samuel to anoint for Him one of the children of Jesse, a king over Israel. Samuel chose the eldest son who had a good appearance and was tall in stature, but God rejected him and said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (I Samuel 16:7)

Jesse called all his sons and showed them to Samuel and he chose David and anointed him king. God was with him in all his ways, for his purity of heart and his meekness. He overcame Saul who wanted to kill him on several occasions. Once Saul went out to kill David and he went into a cave to attend to his needs. David came to him secretly and cut off a corner of Saul's robe (I Samuel 24:4) to show him that he wouldn't stretch his hand to kill him. Another time David found him sleeping and he took his spear and a jug of water that was by his head and did not hurt him and spared his life for the second time. (I Samuel 26:1-25) When David's men told him to destroy Saul, David said, "The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord's anointed." (I Samuel 26:11)

When a man announced to David the news about the death of his rival Saul saying, "I stood over him and killed him," David took hold of his own clothes and tore them and he mourned him. David called one of the young men and said, "Go near and execute him," (2 Samuel 1: 11-15) and he struck the man so that he died.

God honored this Prophet over all mankind, for he had many virtues. Besides the virtue of humility, he was a prophet, a righteous man, and a just king. In spite of that, he called himself a "dead dog" and a "flea". (I Samuel 24:14) God praised him by saying, "I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will." (Acts 13:22; Psalms 89:20; 1 Samuel 13:14) God protected Jerusalem for his sake during his lifetime and after his death, and He made the kings of the people of Israel from his seed, and He called Himself "his Son." He prophesied in the Book of Psalms, which is a book full of useful teachings and good instructions. David's might and power were supported by God. When he was young and guarding his father's sheep, once a bear and another time a lion attacked his sheep and David killed both the bear and the lion.

When the army of Israel faced the army of the Philistines and Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, whose height was six cubits and a span, and who was armored with a bronze helmet on his head and a coat weighing five thousand shekels of bronze, and he had bronze grieves on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders and the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; Goliath went out, stood up and cried out to the armies of Israel, "I defy the armies of Israel this day; give us a man that we may fight together." The Philistine presented himself for forty days, morning and evening. All of Israel heard these words and were dismayed and greatly afraid.

When David came to visit his brothers and brought provisions to their camp, he saw and heard Goliath. David was moved with divine zeal and said to him, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the Name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied." David took out a stone and he slung it and he struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank in his forehead and he fell on his face to the ground. David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and cut off his head and removed the reproach of Israel. (I Samuel 17)

David lived 70 years, 30 years of which were before he became a king. He was born one thousand, one hundred and twenty years before Christ.

His prayers be with us all. Amen.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Birth of Saint John the Baptist

He that was greater than all who are born of women, the Prophet who received God's testimony that he surpassed all the Prophets, was born of the aged and barren Elizabeth (Luke 1:7) and filled all his kinsmen, and those that lived round about, with gladness and wonder. But even more wondrous was that which followed on the eighth day when he was circumcised, that is, the day on which a male child receives his name. Those present called him Zacharias, the name of his father. But the mother said, "Not so, but he shall be called John." Since the child's father was unable to speak, he was asked, by means of a sign, to indicate the child's name. He then asked for a tablet and wrote, "His name is John." And immediately Zacharias' mouth was opened, his tongue was loosed from its silence of nine months, and filled with the Holy Spirit, he blessed the God of Israel, Who had fulfilled the promises made to their fathers, and had visited them that were sitting in darkness and the shadow of death, and had sent to them the light of salvation.
Zacharias prophesied concerning the child also, saying that he would be a Prophet of the Most High and Forerunner of Jesus Christ. And the child John, who was filled with grace, grew and waxed strong in the Spirit; and he was in the wilderness until the day of his showing to Israel (Luke 1:57-80). His name is a variation of the Hebrew "Johanan," which means "Yahweh is gracious."

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Fast of the Apostles

Today at midnight, having rejoiced for fifty days following our Lord's Pascha, we start the Fast of the Apostles.

This is the fast that Christ's disciples undertook after the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. As part of their preparation, the Holy Apostles began a fast asking God to strengthen their resolve and to be with them in their missionary undertakings.

It is this fast that we take part in while observing the Apostles' Fast. We do this not only because we honor the Apostles and their sacrifice, but also as a preparation to be sent as missionaries into the world, to reflect and radiate Christ to those around us.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pentecost - The Descent of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit was the One who gave the necessary power for the work of preaching. The sending of the Holy Spirit was a promise from the Lord (John 14:26, 15:26, 16:7), however, despite this He said to them, "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:29). Where will this power come from? He said to them regarding this, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me" (Acts 1:8).

The Spirit of God was essential to them for they could not work without Him. The Holy Spirit worked with them in preaching and teaching. They waited according to the Lord's command. Their previous preparation for service which lasted more than three years did not dispense them of the Holy Spirit and His work in and with them. Perhaps these ten days which they waited were days of prayer and hope, from the heart, in preparation for the coming work.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Every Knee Shall Bow and Every Tongue Confess That Jesus Christ is Lord!

May the Name of the Lord be praised; now and forevermore! Often I ponder upon the Lord's commandment to go out into all the world and preach the gospel to every living creature. And how are we to accomplish such a great commission? We must submit and be docile to the Holy Spirit. For it is in obedience to God's Word and through humility that we are to become effective instruments of God's mercy and love. And it is by His thorny crown and His cross upon which He bled that we are obliged and commanded to share the wonderful truth to all those around us. And how are we to share this truth that Jesus Christ entrusted to us? It is only through humility, (the mother of all virtues), and love (the greatest of all) that we may become, even though unworthily so, effective instruments of the Lord's message. And if any one helps his brother to turn from the path of error and ungodliness, then not only does he save a soul from death, but also cover a multitude of sins. I have also come to know that my actions often times speak louder than my words. So, as Jesus has left us example of love and forgiveness, so we also must do! And as we await with hope and joy the wondrous feast of Pentecost, let us ponder on the twelve virtues of of Holy Spirit, which are written in the Holy Scriptures, these are their names: The first is love; the second is hope; the third is faith. The fourth is purity; the fifth is virginity; the sixth is peace. The seventh is wisdom; the eighth is righteousness; the ninth is meekness. The tenth is patience; the eleventh is longsuffering; and the twelfth is asceticism. I greet you all with a warm embrace and a holy kiss. Please keep me in your prayers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Holy Pascha - Christos Anesti! - Christ is Risen! - Al Maseeh Qam! Haqqan Qam!

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Christ is risen!

This greeting, which we use so frequently in the 40 days following Pascha every year, seems to many of us to become merely a greeting and nothing more. It becomes ‘something you do’ as a Paschal (Easter) tradition, something akin to the greeting of ‘Merry Christmas’ around the feast of the Nativity. However, let us look for a moment at what the real meaning behind this salutation is. To begin with, the whole concept of Pascha and the Resurrection of Christ is one of the most central and fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith. The great Apostle Saint Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, states, "If Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain … if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins". In other words, if there is no Resurrection of Christ, then Christianity is the biggest lie ever told, and we, and all those that have gone before us, have to be the most gullible fools that ever walked the earth. If we choose to term ourselves as Christians, and discard or even ignore the Resurrection of Christ as some kind of myth or fairytale, then we really need to opt for a completely different religion and way of life. That is how important the event of Christ’s resurrection is to our faith and us.

Acknowledging and confessing Jesus as the Christ or the Messiah is also equated with the Resurrection and the fundamental belief of Christianity. It was man who was the first to die, but it was the God-man, the Theanthropos who died in order to raise up fallen man, and who Himself resurrected after His necessary death on a cross. So the first part of the Paschal greeting ‘Christ’ is in itself an expression of faith, of us confessing Jesus as the Christ, the Saviour, the Messiah. The second part ‘is risen’ is a confession of Christ in the here and now.

Throughout the hymns and prayers of the Orthodox Church, we always use the term ‘today’, and various other words to denote an event as happening now. For example at the end of the doxology, before the liturgy commences, we chant 'today salvation has come to the world', as if everything was happening right here and now; so too with the Resurrection of Christ. We don’t commemorate the Resurrection of Christ as something that happened nearly two thousand years ago, we celebrate the Resurrection as a timeless event that happens for us now. In fact, we celebrate Christ's Resurrection every single Sunday in the Church calendar. This is why the hymn of the small entrance, when the priest proceeds through the church holding the gospels up high, is based solely on the Resurrection, and on Sunday the book of Gospels always has the icon of the Resurrection instead of the crucifixion facing upwards. This is why we call this Sunday of St. Thomas Antipascha. This is not translated as anti-Easter, but it is the first instead of Easter- instead of the great celebration that we experienced last Sunday, that we continue to celebrate every Sunday of the year until the great celebration of the Anastasis, the Resurrection greets us again next year.

Therefore, we say Christ is risen, replied by Truly He is risen, as if His Resurrection is an immanent event in our lives. We don’t say Christ rose, or Christ has risen, as if it is a distant concept to us, but we confess the Christ who is present with us here and now.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lent and the Great Fast

The power of fasting is coupled with prayer and almsgiving. Fasting bears no fruit if the intention is not to pray. Fasting is the spiritual armament that our Lord has given us to destroy the grasp of evil and to bear light to those around us through the conquering of self, sin and vice.

The Holy Spirit beckons us to fast during this holy season by way of example of the Holy Scriptures. Fasting is private and should not be public. It is between the Lord and the Soul. Each one fasts according to his strength and ability. We are encouraged to keep the monastic fast of abstaining from animal products, including poultry, meat, fish, eggs, and milk and in many Orthodox traditions it includes abstaining from wine and olive oil. Also, no food or drink is allowed between the hours of sunrise and sunset in many monastic communities. Lent, known as “the Great Fast,” is the main fast of Orthodox and Catholic Christians . Lent starts with a pre-Lent fast of one week for Orthodox Christians, followed by a forty day fast commemorating Christ’s fasting on the mountain, followed by the holy week of the Coptic calendar called Pascha. Lent climaxes with Good Friday and ends with Holy Pascha (Easter).

Lent, known as “the Great Fast,” is the main fast of the Church. The Orthodox rules for lenten fasting are the monastic rules.

The season of Lent is 40 days long . 40 is the Biblical number for a time of preparation and cleansing. It rained for 40 days and nights during the the flood while God cleansed the world. The children of Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years while God cleansed them of their rebellion. Christ fasted for 40 days to prepare for his ministry as he was tempted in the wilderness. The reason Sundays are excluded when counting these 40 days is that each Sunday is a celebration of the day of the week on which Christ rose. So each Sunday is a little Easter.

Lent starts with a pre-Lent fast of one week, followed by a forty day fast commemorating Christ’s fasting on the mountain, followed by Holy Week, the Orthodox Church calls this Pascha. The word Pascha is the Hebrew word which means Passover. As Orthodox Christians we use Pascha instead of Easter. Pascha is used because it describes what Christ did for us. Just as the blood of the sacrificed lamb kept the angel of death away from the Hebrews (Ex. 12: 3-49) so it is Christ's sacrifice as the New Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7) and His blood allows us to "pass from death to life." (John 5: 24)

Lent climaxes with Good Friday and ends with Easter.

One of the first things we consider when planning a trip is where we are going — our destination. Great Lent is a very special trip. It is a holy pilgrimage which, if understood and planned properly, can lead us to the very mystery of God's mighty act of sacrificial love and glory.

Great Lent takes us to Calvary where the Lord Jesus redeemed us from the bondage of sin, death, and Satan himself. But our destination is the lord's glorious Resurrection by which everlasting life in God's Kingdom has been assured to those who in faith and love follow Him. The significance of this spiritual pilgrimage is that it affords us the opportunity to renew experientially both the death and the newness of life that the Lord's saving act makes real for our lives in Baptism. People who take trips to distant places usually do so because they can afford it. The People of God who participate in Great Lent do so because they know that they cannot afford not to.

There are three indispensable means of participating in Great Lent. They are fasting, prayer and Spiritual vigilance which is an attitude of alertness and eager expectation both for the coming of the Lord and the averting of worldly distractions which would divert our attention from Him.

When Jesus had fasted forty days and forty nights in the wilderness in preparation for His saving ministry, we are told that the devil tempted Him to change stones into loaves of bread. The lord rebuked the tempter with the words, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God'" (Matthew 4:14; Deuteronomy 8:3). In this way Jesus succeeded where Adam had failed (Genesis 3:1-6). His answer to Satan is a trenchant affirmation that to live our lives as though God did not exist, that is, "by bread alone," is to live according to a demonic lie.

Fasting is an essential element of the Christian Life. Christ fasted and taught men to fast. Blessed fasting is done in secret). It has as its goal the purification of our lives, the liberation of our souls and bodies from sin, the strengthening of our human powers of love for God and man, the enlightening of our entire being for communion with the Blessed Trinity.

Let us fast with a fast pleasing to the Lord. This is the true fast: the casting off of evil, the bridling of the tongue, the cutting off of anger, the cessation of lusts, evil talking, lies and cursing. The stopping of these is the fast true and acceptable.

Genuine fasting which subjects our flesh and its passions to the will of a humbled and contrite spirit is perhaps the most effective means to grow in God's grace (see Romans 8:1-17). It opens our innermost self to the promptings of the Holy Spirit Who yearns to make our soul His temple. It is this possibility for growth in Christ-likeness through fasting that should fire our self-discipline according to the canons and rules of the Church. Adherence to dietary prescriptions alone easily deteriorates as a negative preception of Lent which does violence both to the intent and purpose of fasting. The point is to give up a measure of our dependence upon the material world in order to experience personally our hunger for God.

The days of fasting are days of repentance and contrition. At the same time, they are periods of joy and cheer as believers experience victory and power in their innermost self. Fasting does not imply fatigue, restraint, or irritation, but rather it inspires joy and inward gladness with the Lord reigning within the heart... This is the experience of the Coptic Church particularly during the Holy Week. At that time believers practice asceticism more than at any other time of fasting. The signs of real spiritual joy and consolation filling the heart are so clearly evident then.

The Patriarch of Alexandria, St. Athanasius has recorded this experience. He says: [Let us not fulfill these days like those that mourn, but by enjoying spiritual food, let us try to silence our fleshly lusts. For by these means we shall have strength to overcome our adversaries, like blessed Judith (13:8), when having first exercised herself in fasting and prayers, she overcame the enemies, and killed Olophernes

How you begin and conduct your fast will largely determine your success.You have to plan to make your time with the Lord more meaningful and spiritually rewarding.

Set Your Objective

Why are you fasting? Is it just as a tradition of the church or Is it for spiritual renewal, for guidance, for healing, for the resolution of problems, for special grace to handle a difficult situation? Ask the Holy Spirit to clarify His leading and objectives for your prayer fast. This will enable you to pray more specifically and strategically.

Through fasting and prayer we humble ourselves before God so the Holy Spirit will stir our souls, awaken our churches, and heal our land according to 2 Chronicles 7:14. Make this a priority in your fasting.

Prepare Yourself Spiritually

The very foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance. Unconfessed sin will hinder your prayers. Here are several things you can do to prepare your heart:

Ask God to help you make a comprehensive list of your sins.

Confess every sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your remembrance and accept God's forgiveness.(1John 1:9)

Seek forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you. (Maek 11:25, Luke 11:4, 17:3,4)

Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit according to His command in Ephesians 5:18 and His promise in 1 Johns 5: 14,15.

Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master; refuse to obey your worldly nature (Romans 12:1,2).

Meditate on the attributes of God, His love, sovereignty, power, wisdom, faithfulness, grace, compassion, and others (Psalm 48:9,10, 103: 1-8, 11:13.

Do not underestimate spiritual opposition. Satan sometimes intensifies the natural battle between body and spirit (Galatians 5:16.17).

Prepare Yourself Physically

Fasting requires reasonable precautions. Consult your physician first, especially if you take prescription medication or have a chronic ailment. Some persons should never fast without professional supervision.

Physical preparation makes the drastic change in your eating routine a little easier so that you can turn your full attention to the Lord in prayer.

Do not rush into your fast.

Prepare your body. Eat smaller meals before starting a fast. Avoid high-fat and sugary foods.

Eat raw fruit and vegetables for two days before starting a fast.

"Fasting is a gift: When we realize the benefits of fasting, we find that it is a blessing from God. Fasting precedes every grace and service: Through fasting, we prepare ourselves to receive every blessing that God offers us. Feasts bear for us certain blessings. This is why fasting precedes every feast. Communion bears for us a special blessing that is why we fast to be ready for it. The faithful, who fast, gain the blessings of the Holy Spirit during the Church sacraments. The unwise man has confidence in his power and intelligence but he who is aware of his weakness appeals to God through fasting when in trouble. "For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now I will arise," says the Lord; "I will set him in the safety for which he yearns." (Ps 12:5). Fasting is a time to let God know of our every problem. It is a period for the contrite heart to lament and for God to hear."

Patriarch Shenouda of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria

If you sincerely humble yourself before the Lord, repent, pray, and seek God's face; if you consistently meditate on His Word, you will experience a heightened awareness of His presence ( John 14:21). The Lord will give you fresh, new spiritual insights. Your confidence and faith in God will be strengthened. You will feel mentally, spiritually, and physically refreshed. You will see answers to your prayers.

Please keep me in your prayers.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Presentation of the Lord

According to the Law of Moses, every firstborn male was to be brought to the temple to be dedicated to God on the fortieth day after birth. At that time a sacrifice of thanksgiving was also to be brought. The Holy Mother of God followed this law, even though she knew that the Child was the Son of God. Thus Joseph and Mary brought the Child Jesus into the temple on the fortieth day along with a humble sacrifice of two young pigeons. Led by the Holy Spirit into the temple on the day that the holy family brought the Child Jesus to fulfill the law, Simeon, a just and devout man who had once been promised by an angel of the Lord that he would not see death before seeing the Messiah born of the Virgin, took the Child into his arms and blessed God by saying: “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32). Anna, the prophetess was also there. She is the one holding the open scroll that signifies her as a prophetess.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sesaon of Epiphany (Theophany)

Christ, the Coal of Fire, descended and bathed in the waters of the river. Christ, the Burning Flame, is immersed in the waters. The fiery beings stood in awe at the immersion of Christ, that Flame. His pure body is washed to purify those who are not. Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to him!

The waves of the river mingled with Christ, the Light. He set the river aflame with his brightness. The clouds gathered from end to end, they stood over the bed of water, which became the bridal bed for the baptism of Christ, the Bridegroom. Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to him!

Glory to the Father, who by his voice witnessed to his only begotten: adoration to the Son, who to please him received baptism from the son of the barren ones: thanksgiving to the Holy Spirit, who in the likeness of a dove, came upon him and hovered over him in order to sanctify all. Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to him!

Almighty God and Savior Jesus Christ: you are the merciful One. You inclined your everlasting mercy toward us to give salvation to our weak and feeble race. For our sake, you became flesh of the holy Virgin Mary. From the Magi and shepherds, you received mystical and royal gifts. You grew in wisdom and perfection. And though you were the fountain of holiness, you were baptized in the Jordan river by your forerunner, John, so that by your baptism water would be mad holy to bring us to a new birth. Therefore, O Christ our God, we beseech and implore you through this incense which we offer on this festive and holy day. We intercede with you, Lord Jesus Christ, for you are the great abyss filled with unspeakable mysteries, and you have enlightened all creation with the bright and blessed rays of your divinity. You are God who was seen in the flesh, and we of the flesh were transformed by the gifts of the Spirit. O Lord, we ask and implore you: grant pardon of debts and forgiveness of sins to all your flock on this day of your Epiphany. You are God, One in essence, who was seen at the Jordan River through the unspeakable mysteries of your Holy Trinity. From the heights the Father declared and said to us: "This is my belove Son." O God the Word, one person of the Holy Trinity, by your holy baptism you have shown us the Trinity's light. We beseech and ask you, O God of all: be pleased with us on this feast day and accept these petitions and the adoration of your flock, which we offer you with the fragrance of this incense. Comfort us with the protection and fullness of your holy, life-giving commandments. May our lives, actions, and all our undertakings be to the glory of your love for all people and for the absolution and salvation of our souls. May we be worthy of the resting place of your saints and be led to the paradise of light with your righteous. May we be worthy to hear the voice that says: "Come, blessed of my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you before the foundation of the world." We ask this, O Christ, through the intercession of all your saints, now and for ever. Amen.

Prayer of a Franciscan Friar

Lord, my whole being longs for You. My mind desires Your peace, my heart desires the warmth of Your presence and my body aches for Your nearness and the intimacy that lovers share. But Lord, prayer has become so difficult. Silence seems so empty, words seem so dull and my mind seems distracted by many things. Yet more than anything my heart feels weighed down by fears, doubts and anxieties. I feel, Lord, as if You have left me and I am now all alone in this world, a stranger in a place I once called home.

Lord, I long for prayer, silence and solitude where I can just be alone with You. I feel tired with everything right now and need to rest in You. The more I try and pray the more it seems like I am not praying. The more I try to seek You, Lord, the more You seem to go away from me. Lord, I want to live in Your light but my feet seem paralyzed and unable to move towards You. Please Lord, draw me more deeply into that light, into that ocean of peace that is Your heart. I long for the time where I can just rest in You, when all of my doubts and fears will be silenced and I can just sleep in Your arms like a child with his mother.

Yet I must believe that I already possess that intimacy with You, even though I feel like I am in darkness. I choose to believe that You are not far away. I believe that You are close, too close even for my senses to perceive You. Please Lord, do not allow the darkness to overcome me. Without Your grace I cannot face it, but with Your grace I can rest in it and even say, “this too shall pass.”

Where could I go anyway if You were not here. I could not find You on my own nor could I discover something more profound or more beautiful than You. Lord, I could not discover You without You because You have discovered me, You have found me, You have revealed Yourself to me!

Yet so many people have come and gone in my life. So many friends have captured my heart and then have moved on, taking my heart with them. Lord, I can’t help but fear that You too will leave someday? My heart trembles at the thought of another separation. I know it is silly to compare You with people and to even doubt Your commitment to me is a sign that I do not understand Your love for me.

Despite all my confusion I can hear Your whisperings in my heart telling me that I am loved and that You will never abandon me. My God, I trust You with the little strength and energy I feel that I have. Thank You, Lord, for being faithful; please, in Your mercy grant me the grace to be faithful to You.

Br. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
St. Leopold Friary
Yonkers, New York

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christ Is Born! Let Us Glorify Him!

Please take the time to visit my Journeys blog to see a photographic journal of my meandering throughout Europe. Juan David De Jesus' Journeys

In the meantime, please enjoy this meditation:

GRATITUD Es la virtud por la cual una persona reconoce, interior y exteriormente, los regalos recibidos y trata de corresponder en algo por lo que recibió. Esencialmente, la gratitud consiste de una disposición interior, un corazón agradecido, pero cuando es genuino trata, de alguna forma, de expresarse en palabras y en obras. Consecuentemente, incluye tres elementos: reconocimiento de que un regalo ha sido recibido; apreciación expresado en agradecimiento; y en cuanto sea posible, regresar de alguna manera lo que se le ha dado de forma gratuita sin ninguna obligación de parte del dador.
Entre los ejemplos del Evangelio resalta la historia de los diez leprosos (Lucas 17). Solo uno regresó a darle gracias a Jesús por su curación milagrosa. Jesús lo puso por ejemplo y se entristeció por los otros nueve. Sin duda la gratitud es necesaria para entrar en una auténtica relación con Dios o con la persona que nos halla agraciado. La gratitud debe tomar la expresiones adecuada, no según la expectación de uno u otro sino en la forma que mas convenga para fortalecer la relación que Dios desea establecer entre las personas. Cuando se refiere a gratitud para con Dios, no debe ser menos que adoración y consagración de la vida entera a su amor y su servicio.
(Las Siervas de los Corazones Traspasados de Jesús y María)

Monday, December 24, 2007


I would like to extend to you a warm greeting and special welcome to my blog. I am honored and at the same time humbled to share with you glimpes of my life. As I have come to realize how small and insignificant I am in the grand scheme of things, I have also come to appreciate how precious we all are in the eyes of God. As I have wandered through meandering paths of this fleeting life, searching and discovering who I am, the purpose of my life and learning to love those around me, I have come to know that to serve God, I must serve others. And this has been my life, giving with no thought of receiving, embracing those most needy of love, and loving to the extreme, knowing that love would not be returned. This is what Christ did. He taught that the two greatest commandments are to love God with all of our heart, with all of our mind and with all of our soul, and the second being to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is what Christ did; and this is what I must do. I invite you to browse my blogs; the links are here to the right under the title of Glimpes of My Life. Among other things, you will see some of my writings, journals, resume and other blogs. I would like to ask you to keep in mind that this is a work in progress; and I am, by no means, a professional. I am just one who would like to share a portion of my life with those around me. With this in mind, enjoy your reading. And I humbly ask you to keep me in your prayers.

With a Warm Embrace,
Juan David De Jesus

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Saludos y Abrazos

Les saludo a todos con mucho cariño y con un abrazo fuerte deseando que al leer estas palabras se encuentren alegres y llenos de paz. Quizás no nos conozcamos pero dado que nos encontramos aquí les ofrezco mi amistad pura, sencilla y sincera, especialmente a los más tristes y solos. Me gusta conocer a las personas porque cuando cruzamos caminos y no nos saludamos, quizás jamás en toda la vida nos volvemos a ver y perdemos la gran riqueza de añadir las experiencias compartidas de momentos alegres y almacenar los recuerdos. Pues ya compartí un trozo de mi vida. Con los brazos abiertos les pido que me permitan mirarles a los ojos para poder ver a Jesús. Mi corazón grita por dentro y añora su presencia como añora el venado el dulce corriente de agua de los ríos. Dejar que Jesús se acercara a mí ha sido la mejor decisión de mi vida. Ya no tengo miedo. ¿Te animas?

This is Who I Am

About Me

Hi, my name is Juan David De Jesus. It is a bit difficult for me to write about myself...but here goes: I work at Warner Bros. I also give much of my time to an orphanage. This experience has truely been rewarding for me. Seeing the children grow up with happy and healthy lives gives me a lot of joy. I also like to fly airplanes. Soaring through the silent whispers of air also brings me a great joy...a joy I wish I could share with everyone. I have been flying since I was 16 years old. As far as sports, I love soccer. I am grateful to our Creator for life and health...for the ocean and the mountains...for all these beautiful things that we have around us. I really like going to the beach as the sun is going down and feel the warm cooling sand between my toes, feel the sea breeze and watch all of the sea gulls that are sitting there facing the setting sun as if in prayer. Moments later the whole ocean is glowing blue, red and orange and the distinction between sky, sea and earth is blurred...Creator and creation are joined.

Who I Am

What I Look for in Other People:

I respect all of those who respect others. The friends that I have are kind and generous and almost always think of others before themselves. Often we go off to the mountains and get lost in the forest.

Things I Like:

As I mentioned before, I love to's in my blood. When I am alone I enjoy reading a good book. I like watching movies, especially if it has something that flies. I like making new friends and sharing with them. And I like spending a lot of time with Cenizo my dog.

Things I Don't Like:

I do not smoke or drink. I have never been near any drugs. And I hate elevators.

Favorite Quote:

For in fire, gold is tested and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation.

Sirach 2,5

Midnight Praises

Arise O Children of the Light. Let us praise the Lord of Hosts. That He may grant us the salvation of our souls. Whenever we stand before you in the flesh. Cast away from our minds the slumber of sleep. Grant us sobriety O Lord that we may know how to stand before you at times of prayer. And ascribe unto you the befitting glorification and win the forgiveness of our many sins. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. Behold bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. You who stand in the house of the Lord in the courts of the house of our God. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. By night lift up your hands all you saints and bless the Lord. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. The Lord bless you from Zion who made heaven and earth. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. Let my cry come before you O Lord, give me understanding according to your word. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. Let my supplication come before you, deliver me according to your word. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. My lips shall laud your praise, for you teach me your statutes. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. My tongue shall speak of your words for all your commandments are righteousness. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. Let your hand become my help for I have chosen your precepts. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. I long for your salvation O Lord and your law is my delight. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. Let my soul live and it shall praise you and let your judgments help me. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. I have gone astray like a lost sheep. Seek your servant for I do not forget your commandments. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. Now and forever and to the ages of all ages. Amen. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto all ages. Amen. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. Glory be to you O Good One Lover of mankind. Glory be your Mother the Virgin and all your Saints. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. Glory be to you O only begotten One, Holy Trinity have mercy upon us. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. Let God arise and let all his enemies be scattered and let all that hate his Holy Name flee from before His face. Glory be to You O Lover of mankind. As for your people, let them be blessed a thousand thousandfold and ten thousand ten thousandfold doing your will. O Lord open my lips and my mouth shall show forth your praise.