January 2, 2013 + "Pride goes before disaster,and a haughty spirit before a fall"
by St. Nikolai Velimirovich, The Prologue of Ohrid, January 2nd
Of all that exists on the four corners of the earth, what, O mortal man, can make us proud except stupidities and demonic illusions. Did we not enter into the world naked and wretched and are we not going to depart this world in the same manner? Everything that we have, did we not borrow it; and by our death, are we not going to return everything? Oh, how many times has this been said and overheard? The wise apostle says, "For we have brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it" (I Timothy 6:7). And, when we offer sacrifice to God of ordinary bread and wine, we say, "Thine own of Thine own, we offer unto Thee" (Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom). For nothing that we have in this world is ours: not even a crumb of bread nor a drop of wine; nothing that is not of God. In truth, pride is the daughter of stupidity, the daughter of a darkened mind, born of evil ties with the demons.
Pride is a broad window through which all of our merits and good works evaporate. Nothing makes us so empty before men and so unworthy before God as does pride. When the Lord is not proud, why should we be proud? Who has more reason to be proud than the Lord, Who created the world and Who sustains it by His power? And behold, He humbles himself as a servant, a servant to the whole world: a servant even to the death, to the death on the Cross!
O humble Lord, burn up within our hearts the devil's sowing of pride with the fire of Your Holy Spirit, and plant within it the noble sowing of humility and meekness.
St. Sylvester of Rome
You appeared to your flock as a rule of faith, An image of humility and a teacher of abstinence. Because of your lowliness Heaven was opened to you; Because of your poverty, riches were granted to you. O holy Pope Sylvester, pray to Christ our God to save our souls!
Kontakion - Tone 2
The Trinity delights in you, O holy bishop Sylvester! You are divine thunder, a spiritual trumpet A planter of the Faith, and destroyer of heresies. As you ever stand with the angels, entreat Christ without ceasing for us all!