July 16, 2014 + About the Participation of the Faithful in God's Nature
by St. Nikolai Velimirovich
"That by these you might be partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).
Brethren, how can mortal man have a part in God's nature? How can eternity be a companion of time and glory with unglory, the incorruptible with the corruptible, the pure with the impure? They cannot without particular conditions and these conditions the Apostle Peter mentions: one condition on the part of God and the other on the part of men. As a condition on God's part, the apostle mentions: "According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3). As a condition on the part of man: "having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:4). God has fulfilled His condition and gave us His power. "Through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (2 Peter 1:3). Now it is man's turn to fulfill his condition, i.e., to know Christ the Lord is to escape from the bodily desires of this world. The Lord Christ first opened heaven and all the treasures of heaven and then He called mankind to draw near and to receive those treasures. How did He invite them? Did He invite them only by words? In words, but not only words but also "called us to glory and virtue"; glory, i.e., by His glorious resurrection; virtue, i.e., by His miraculous service and suffering. By this He invited us to receive the exceeding great promises that, by them, we may partake in God's nature. But in order that we may know Christ and to hear His invitation, we must first escape from all physical desires of this world. If we do not escape, then we will remain blind before Him, before His glory and virtue and deaf to His invitation!
O brethren, how enormous is the mercy of God toward us! According to this great mercy, God offers to us mortals adoption by the Immortal One and to us sinners to be built up into the glorified Body of the Lord Jesus. But, only under one condition, which is neither a great yoke nor a heavy cross.
O Lord Jesus, the Fulfillment of all promises and the Source of all good, heal us from our blindness and deafness and grant us power to escape the physical desires of this world.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
St. Nikolai Velemirovich, The Prologue of Ohrid, from July 16th.
Hieromartyr Athenogenes the Bishop of Heracleopolis
Most blessed and wise Bishop and Martyr Athenogenes, you grew as a palm tree in the monastic life; towering as a cedar in your struggles, through your teachings you brought a number of martyrs to Christ. We honor them together with you.
Kontakion, Tone 4
Following the Master's teachings, as a shepherd you laid down your life for the flock of Christ. Therefore, we praise you and your ten disciples, who under your guidance and in the fear of God suffered with you. With His life-creating right hand the Lord has granted you a crown. Pray to Him for us all, Hieromartyr Athenogenes.