Devotional to the Bridegroom - Christ

by ixthis 64 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • ixthis

    The Renewal of the Universe

    "Creation shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption"(Romans 8:21).

    "But we, the pious, cry unto Thee, O Comforter, in a God-inspired manner: 'Blessed art Thou, O Renewer of the universe."'1

    The Great Feast of Pentecost, provides us with the opportunity to delve further into what is also a great Mystery of the last times: the renewal of the universe.

    The Church was engendered on earth by the Holy Spirit for the purpose oftransforming the earth into a Church - to Baptize the earth in the waters of the Incarnation of the Word and in the fiery flames of Pentecost.

    The renewal of the universe began with the Incarnation and Pentecost; the Church of the Divine Comforter "is the innermost ontological mystery, the fiery seed hidden in the depths of the world - the seed of its eschatological transfiguration."

    Just as man, the king of creation, fell into corruption on account of his disobedience, so in the same manner was creation "made subject to vanity" and to the "bondage of corruption," "not willingly, but by reason of Him Who hath subjected it."2

    At the end of the world, something analogous will happen: "Not only will people be resurrected incorrupt by the power of the Holy Spirit, but also the whole world," namely, all of sensible Creation (the heavens, luminaries, stars, and the elements); and "it is destined to come again to its ancient state of incorruptibility which it had before Adam fell through his disobedience."3

    It is a common teaching of the Holy Prophets, Apostles, and Fathers of our Church that the perpetual creative activity of the Holy Spirit, which continuously renews the earth and creation, will definitively free it in the last times "from the bondage of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God."4

    "For there shall be a new heaven and a new earth"; "we look for new heavens and a new earth, according to His promise [in accordance with the Lord's promise], wherein dwelleth righteousness [holiness]"; "and I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away."5

    Our Holy and God-bearing Father Symeon the New Theologian describes in a wondrous manner in his special discourse, "How Creation Will Be Renewed and New Heavens and a New Earth Will Be Made, According to the Divine Apostle," and "What Will Be the Final Radiance of Creation."7

    The Saints particularly emphasize that the renewal and the rendering incorruptible of creation depend directly on man:

    "First people will be renewed and will be rendered incorrupt through the Resurrection, and then all of the elements and creation. As indeed man first fell into corruption, and then creation, through man, so must man again first be rendered incorrupt and then, through man, creation be rendered incorrupt."8

    Then, at the end of the world, the renewal of the universe will constitute an expression of the love of the heavenly Father for His children:

    "Just as a father, at the time of the glory and joy of his sons, adorns even his servants for the greater glory of his sons, in the same manner does God, at the time of the glory, joy, and incorruptibility of us, His sons, adorn also this enslaved world with the beauty of incorruptibility for our greater glory."9

    After this wondrous renewal and the just judgment, our much-desired and sweetest Master Jesus Christ will bestow on the Righteous-in accordance with the worthiness and radiance of each one's works-the appropriate abode in the one Kingdom of Heaven for all.

    There, in the Glory of the Kingdom, everyone will see Christ, "Who will be present with each one, and each one will be with Him; and He will be shining in each one, and each one will be shining in Him; and woe to those who will then be found outside of His House."10

    O Divine Comforter, renewer of our sinful nature and of the world, "come and dwell in us" permanently, free us from the bondage of corruption, cleanse us in the flames of the Pentecost of the Mysteries of the Church, and vouchsafe us the eschatological radiance!

    "But we, the pious, cry unto Thee in a God-inspired manner: Blessed art Thou, O Renewer of the universe!"1


    1. Iambic Canon of Pentecost, Seventh Ode, Troparion 1.
    2. Romans 8:20, 21.
    3. St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite, Nea Klimax [The New Ladder], pp. 55, 56.
    4. Romans 8:21.
    5. Isaiah 65:17; cf. Isaiah 66:22; II St. Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1.
    6. Ethical Discourse I, §§4, 5.
    7. St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite, on II St. Peter 3:10. Cf. St. John Chrysostomos, Homily 14 on the Epistle to the Romans, §5, Patrologia Græca, Vol. LX, col. 530.
    8. St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite, on II St. Peter 3:13.
    9. See note 6.
    10. See note 1.

  • designs

    There is a certain sweet and pleasant brainwashing that goes on with Liturgies and Hymns, mesmerizing in a way.

  • myelaine

    dear designs...

    snap out of it.

    these belong to God.


  • ixthis

    Wretch that I am,

    I have cast off the robe woven by God,

    disobeying Your divine command,

    Lord, at the counsel of the enemy,

    and I am clothed now in fig leaves and in garments of skin.

    I am condemned to eat the bread of toil in the sweat of my brow,

    and the earth has been cursed so that it bears thorns and thistles for me.

    But, Lord, who in the last times were made flesh of a Virgin,

    call me back and bring me into Paradise again.

  • ixthis

    From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 60):

    "He has as yet no perfect love, whose disposition towards men depends on what they are like,

    loving one and despising another for this or that,

    or sometimes loving, sometimes hating one and the same man.

    Blessed is the man who can love all men equally."

  • ixthis

    Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
    my memory, my understanding,
    and my entire will,
    all I have and call my own.
    You have given all to me.
    To you, Lord, I return it.

    Everything is yours –
    do with it what you will. Give me
    only your love and your grace.
    That is enough for me.

    Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous.
    Teach me to serve you as you deserve –
    to give and not to count the cost,
    to fight and not to heed the wounds,
    to toil and not to ask for rest,
    to labor and not to seek reward,
    except to know, my God,
    I do your will.

  • myelaine

    In the Old Testament, God commanded His people to offer incense in worship.

    Pure incense is the resin from certain trees found in limited areas of the Middle East like Ethiopia and Eritrea. In ancient times it was obtained only at great expense.

    In the book of Exodus (Chapter 30), God commanded Moses to make an altar of acacia wood for the burning of incense.Aaron is to burn incense morning and evening. Moses is given special instructions for making the incense to be used exclusively for the worship of God (Exodus 30:34-38). One of the many ingredients given in God's list was frankincense.

    Among the gifts of the Magi given to the baby Jesus was frankincense--a gift worthy of a king.

    Incense is a symbol for the prayers of God's people.

    "Let my prayer be counted as incense before thee, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. . . ."-Psalm 141:2

    The people would pray outside of the Holy of Holies while the priest inside offered incense upon the golden altar.

    “And the whole multitude of people were praying outside at the hour of incense.”-Luke 1:10

    In the Old Testament, God established a formal, liturgical type of worship. Historic, formal liturgical Christian worship services have sometimes incorrectly been accused of being derived from Judaism. In fact, they are derived directly from the New Testament---from the worship in Heaven that the Apostle John reveals to us in the book of Revelation.

    "An angel came and stood at the altar, with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden Altar before the Throne of God; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the Saints from the hand of the angel before God."-Revelation 8:3-4

    In the Bible, clouds are often used as a sign of God's presence.

    Another characteristic of incense is that it forms a cloud. A cloud in the Bible often reveals God's presence. The Israelites were led by the pillar of cloud (Exodus 13:22). A cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled it (Exodus 40:34).

    During the Transfiguration of Christ, a cloud appears and the Voice of God is heard from it (Matthew 17:5). In the book of Acts, Jesus is taken up into a cloud (Acts 1:8).

    When we use incense, and experience its aromatic perfume through our sense of smell, we are helping to involve the entirety of our person in worship. We are to consecrate all of ourselves to God; mind, heart, will, strength, emotions and senses. All of our senses: touch, sight, taste, hearing, and even smell!

    The smell of incense in a home in Bible times signaled the impending visit of someone of importance.

    In ancient times incense was used to sweeten and purify the air before an important visitor arrived (only an important visitor, because incense was very expensive, and so could only be used on special occasions).

    Christ taught us thatHeis in the midst of us wherever two or three are gathered in His Name (Matthew 18:20). Who is a more important visitor than our Creator? Our Lord may not be physically visible, but He has promised to be present. The beautiful aroma of incense reminds us to be aware of His presence.

    "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour."-Ephesians 5:2

    Our Lord was buried wrapped in incense.

    In our Worship Service, everything and everyone is censed to emphasize that everything and everyone is set aside for and dedicated to God's service. By using incense as it in shown to be used in the worship of the saints in Heaven, we confirm and illustrate the essential unity of Christians in Heaven and on Earth, as well as our participation in the things of Heaven.

    Incense was used when sacrifices were made in the Old Testament. When our Lord died, no incense was burned. Instead, He was buried wrapped in incense. The aromatic clouds of incense we smell during our times of worship remind us that our Lord was sacrificed for our benefit.

    The Apostle Paul applies this same metaphor to us when he says that we are the aroma of Christ to God. Paul says that we are God's incense. His Gift, both to Himself, and to the world.

    "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
    To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?"
    -II Corinthians 2:15,16

  • ixthis

    Peter and Paul

    the Holy Apostles Feastday

    June 29

    Peter from Bethsaida of Galilee was cruc?fied upside down.

    Paul, the Apostle of the Nations from Tarsus, was beheaded in Rome during the reign of Nero.

    * * *

    Sts. Peter and Paul always listen to the prayers of their devotees; time has not diminished their love, and from Heaven - even more than when they were on earth - they do not abandon the interests of the Church nor neglect the least of the inhabitants of the earth.

    134_PresentChurchtoGod_Venetian14thc.jpg - 58323 Bytes
    Ss. Peter and Paul presenting the Church to God
    Venetian school, 14th century

    One of the triumphs of the Devil in our times is to have dulled the faith of good people in this regard. It is necessary to insist that man awake from this deathlike sleep that makes us forget that Our Lord wanted these two saints to continue His work and represent Him visibly on earth.

    St. Ambrose extols the continuing, vibrant apostolic mission of the Church, and expresses with profundity and delicacy the roles of Ss. Peter and Paul in the salvation of the elect. The Church, he says, is the ship from which Peter fishes, and for this labor at times he receives an order to use the hook, and at other times, the net. It is a great mystery, for this fishing is entirely supernatural. While the net does not harm the fish, the hook wounds it; the net takes in multitudes, the hook catches a single fish. The good fish does not resist the hook of Peter because it does not kill, but rather converts. Fortunate the gash that permits one to profess the same faith of Peter!

    It is for this reason that Jesus told Peter: ""Put out into the deep water, and let down the nets for a catch" (Luke 5:1) "Put out into the deep water" - that is, go to the very depths of the hearts of men. 'Put out into the deep water" - go to Christ, the source of living waters of wisdom and knowledge.

    Peter continues to fish every day. Our Lord tells him: "Put out into the deep water." But one seems to hear Peter replying: "Master, we have worked all night with no result." Peter suffers when we are hard-hearted. Paul is also fighting for our souls. Didn't he tell us that no one suffers without him also suffering? We should act in a way that does not make the Apostles suffer.

  • ixthis

    "I'm too busy NOT to pray".

    ~ St John Of San Francisco (+1966) Feastday July 3rd

    On this Sunday, we also remember:

    the discovery of the Relics of the Newly Revealed Great Martyr Raphael of Thermi, in Lesvos, 3 July, 1959.


    St John and Holy Newly revealed Great Martyr Raphael, together with Ss. Nicholas and Irene, and all other Martyrs, please pray to God for our salvation!

  • ixthis

    My children, work diligently at the spiritual fragrance ---I am speaking of prayer--- this holy conversation with Jesus Christ, which abundantly provides His blessings. Yes, children of the Spirit, love prayer with your whole heart so that all of you become a fragrance of grace, and that you smell sweet to those near you and make them say, "Truly, monasticism makes monks give off an angelic fragrance through spiritual grace." So, let the filthy passions be far from you, for they cause a foul smell and make a bad impression.

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