st dorotheos of gaza
by St. Dorotheos of Gaza
In the Law, God laid down that the sons of Israel should each year give tithes of all they possessed, and if they did so they were blessed in all their works. The holy Apostles, knowing this to be for the help and advancement of our souls, resolved to fulfil it in a better and higher way, namely, for us to deliver up a tithe of the very days of our lives as if to consecrate them to God, so that we may be blessed in all our works, and each year to be unburdened of the whole year’s sins. They elected to consecrate out of the three hundred and sixty-five days of the year, seven weeks of fasting, and so they ordained; but our Fathers, in their time, thought it advisable to add another week, both to train and better prepare themselves to enter on the labor of fasting and to honor with their fasting the holy number of forty days which our Lord fasted. The eight weeks, subtracting Saturdays and Sundays, makes forty days, but we honor Holy Saturday with a fast because it is a very holy day and the only Saturday fast of the year.
by Very Rev. Stephen Rogers
from The Word, March 2000
In the Prologue from Ochrid, that wonderful collection of the lives of the saints compiled by St. Nicholai Velimirovich, we hear a marvelous account on the thirtieth day of this month. On this day, an unnamed monk is commemorated who is described as “lazy, careless, disinclined to prayer . . .” Hardly the description we would expect of a monk commemorated by the Church!
We are told that, when this monk lay dying, he was full of joy. His fellow monks, who knew well the lackluster efforts of their brother, were confused how one so seemingly negligent could be facing death so joyfully. They asked him how this could be and he responded: “I have seen the angels, and they showed me a page with all my many sins. I said to them: The Lord said, ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’ I have never judged anyone and I hope in the mercy of God, that He will not judge me.”
The dying monk ended the account by telling his brothers that the angels, upon hearing that the monk had never judged anyone, immediately tore up the long list of his sins.
The story ends by telling us that all the monks marveled at this and learned from it.
There is probably nothing to which our Lord attached a greater warning than judging our brother.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Matthew 7:1-2).