Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Saint Simeon the Myrrh-Gusher was the founder of the Athonite Monastery of Simonopetra in the 13th century.  This monastery is dedicated to the Nativity. Saint Symeon had spent many years living as a hermit in a cave.  As the feast of the Nativity neared he exited the cave and saw an bright light that appeared like a star that stood about a rock outside his cave.  He had this same vision for several nights.  On the eve of the nativity he again say this star but this time he heard a divine voice say, "Here , you must lay the foundation of your ceonobium for the salvation of souls... I desire you to be my helper. Heed well and doubt not, lest you should suffer evil"  He heard these words three times.  He was in ecstasy and felt himself to be in Bethlehem beside the shepherds. Like the shepherds at the Nativity of Jesus Christ he was comforted by angels and was rejoicing.  It was only three days later that, like the wisemen of the Nativity, miraculously three wealthy men came to visit him. They became monks and they established the new monastery at this place.

Saint Simeon taught his bothers to have the greatest respect for the feast days of the Church. His teaching applies to us to this day.

Saint Symeon the Myrrh-gusher said as he drew near to the end of his life,,
Be diligent and attentive to keep the feasts in a spiritual manner and not a worldly holiday, lest you should busy yourself with gossiping, chattering, laughing, and joking.
It is important for us to keep in mind that we need to make an extra effort to help lift those of our family above this commercial din that surrounds many of the feast days.  We need  to make a special effort to approach them with a spiritual orientation and not one based on commercial or social activities of this world. We are fast approaching the Feast of Epiphany.  See if you can make this a spiritual experience for those you love.

He also gave us the reason,  
This is because the sacred feasts are enlightenment and sanctification of the soul that is borne from silence, prayer and the reading of holy books.  In the services of the church, chant with reverence, devotion, and piety, and not with voice wanting in discipline and rhythm. 
Simonopetra Monastery on Athos
The Feasts of the Lord are for the enlightenment and sanctification of the soul.  we need to remember to approach them with an inner attitude of reverence and to attend the services associated with them.  It is so unfortunate today to see our Churches almost empty on feast days that fall during the week. Clearly worldly cars have over taken many.  Lets not forget that our worship on these special days are for out spiritual benefit and important to our attaining union with God and life eternal in His Kingdom.

Reference: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church - December, trans. Holy Apostles Convent

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