September 5, 2012 + On Cain's and Abel's Offerings
by St. Macarius the Great
From Genesis, Creation, and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision, by Fr. Seraphim Rose, edited by Hieromonk Damascene, 2nd ed., p. 292.
I always remember that it was Abel who offered a sacrifice to God of the fat and firstlings of his flock, while Cain offered gifts of the fruits of the earth, but not of the firstfruits. It is said: 'And God looked upon Abel and his gifts, but Cain and his sacrifices He regarded not' (Gen. 4:4-5). This teaches us that everything that is done in fear and in faith is pleasing to God, and not that which is done for display and without love.
Prophet Zachariah and Righteous Elizabeth, Parents of St. John the Forerunner and Baptist
Troparion - Tone 2
The memory of Your prophets Zachariah and Elizabeth We celebrate today, O Lord. By their prayers, we beseech You, O Christ God, save our souls!
Troparion - Tone 4
Robed in the vestments of the priesthood, according to the Law of God you offered whole-burnt offerings in a sacred manner, wise Zachariah. You became a luminary and a seer of the mysteries, bearing within yourself the signs of grace, all-wise one. Slain by the sword in the temple of God, O prophet of Christ, intercede together with the Forerunner that our souls may be saved.
Kontakion - Tone 3
Today the prophet Zachariah, priest of the Most High and parent of the Forerunner, has prepared a banquet to his memory to nourish the faithful, mixing the drink of righteousness. Therefore we praise him as a divine initiate of the grace of God.
Kontakion - Tone 4
As the full moon brightly reflects the light of the sun, you reflected the glory of the Messiah, the Light of wisdom! With Zachariah you walked in all of the Lord's commandments, Elizabeth, beloved by God. So as we bless you with fitting songs, we praise the Lord, the bountiful Light, Who enlightens all.