Prayer Service (Molieben) in Times of a Devastating Epidemic
Tues. evening Vespers (3/31/20) - St. Mary of Egypt
March 29, 2020 4th Sunday of Lent - Troparia/Kontakia; Homily on Mark 9:17-31
The Life of St. Mary of Egypt (Part 2)
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In addition to St. John of the Ladder, this week we remember another great - and almost unknown - saint, namely, Mary of Egypt. St. Mary was born in Egypt and fell asleep in the Lord in the wilderness across the Jordan from Palestine on April 1, 522. St. Mary's first 29 years of life were spent in almost total debauchery and fornication. After being repelled by the invisible power of God at the doors of the Church in Jerusalem, St. Mary discerned the depth and repugnance of her sins and vowed to live in total repentance. Guided by a divine voice and the protection of the Virgin Mary, she crossed the Jordan River into the wilderness spending the next 47 years in isolation fighting against and conquering her passions, the Holy Spirit instructing her in the grace and Word of God. St. Mary's remarkable story was revealed to the Elder Zosimas who encountered her while he journeyed into the wilderness for spiritual enlightenment during the forty days of Lent.
St. Mary's life is a revelation to all of us desiring to overcome sin and to attain the kingdom of God. Our spiritual ills are cured by their opposites (e.g., lust for pleasure with abstinence, evil thoughts with prayer, pride with humility, etc.). As much as we devote ourselves to sinful pursuits and pleasures, we have to vow ourselves to God to pursue His will and accept all the discomfort that may entail. Genuine repentance involves patient endurance, taking as much time to undo what we in our passions have made habitual. Importantly, St. Mary's last wish was fulfilled, the receiving of the very Body and Blood of Christ before she died in the body; her ultimate desire was Communion with God.
If you are interested in the Orthodox Faith, we welcome you to come and meet with us and pick up many interesting and informative pamplets that are available for you! If you should have any questions please feel free to call me at the Church at (330) 372-3895.
Thank you for visiting our website and we look forward to seeing you soon!
As of noon on March 25, by Bishop Paul's directive, all public services at St. John's are cancelled. The Priest will be serving Divine Liturgy on Sunday mornings, as well as various prayer services, with a maximum of two other people in the locked Church. These services will be recorded and made available for use on this website (above); we will live-stream services when we have the capability. May God bless all the members of St. John's, our families, our neighbors, our friends and co-workers to remain healthy, recover quickly and completely if infected, and bear patiently whatever God sees fit to lay upon us. May we be vigilant in prayer, strong in faith, and compassionate in care for both our bodies and our souls. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and everything within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul. and forget not all His rewards: Who is merciful to all your transgressions, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from corruption, who crowns you with mercy and compassion, who satisfies your desire with good things; and your youth is renewed like the eagle's." (Ps. 102/103:1-5)