July 23, 2014 + If You Desire to Become Equal to the Apostles, There is Nothing to Hinder You
by St. John Chrysostom
Wherefore, if you desire to become equal to the apostles, there is nothing to hinder you. For to have arrived at this virtue only suffices for your not at all falling short of them. Let no one therefore wait for miracles. For though the evil spirit is grieved, when he is driven out of a body, yet much more so, when he sees a soul delivered from sin. For indeed this is his great power [cf. Acts 8:10]. This power caused Christ to die, that He might put an end to it. Yea, for this brought in death; by reason of this all things have been turned upside down. If then thou remove this, you have cut out the nerves of the devil, you have bruised his head, you have put an end to all his might, you have scattered his host, you have exhibited a sign greater than all signs.
The saying is not mine, but the blessed Paul's. For when he had said, Covet earnestly the best gifts, and yet show I unto you a more excellent way; [1 Corinthians 12:31] he did not speak next of a sign, but of charity, the root of all our good things. If then we practice this, and all the self-denial that flows from it, we shall have no need of signs; even as on the other hand, if we do not practice it, we shall gain nothing by the signs.
Bearing in mind then all this, let us imitate those things whereby the apostles became great. And whereby did they become great? Hear Peter, saying, Behold we have forsaken all, and followed You; what shall we have therefore? Hear also Christ saying to them, You shall sit upon twelve thrones, and, every one that has forsaken houses, or brethren, or father, or mother, shall receive an hundredfold in this world, and shall inherit everlasting life [Matthew 19:27]. From all worldly things, therefore, let us withdraw ourselves, and dedicate ourselves to Christ, that we may both be made equal to the apostles according to His declaration, and may enjoy eternal life; unto which may we all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ to whom be glory and might forever and ever. Amen.
St. John Chrysostom, Homily 46 on St. Matthew's Gospel
Icon of the Mother of God of Pochaev
Those who pray before your holy icon, O Lady, are vouchsafed healing and receive the knowledge of the true faith, and they repel the attacks of the Hagarenes. Therefore entreat remission of sins for us who fall down before you. Enlighten our hearts to thoughts of piety, and raise a prayer to your Son to save our souls.
Kontakion, Tone 1
Your icon of Pochaev, O Theotokos, is become a source of healing and the confirmation of the Orthodox Faith. Therefore deliver us who have recourse to you from calamity and temptation. Preserve your monastery unharmed. Confirm Orthodoxy in the surrounding lands, and forgive the sins of those who pray to you; for you can do as you will.