Wise Counsel from the Abbess Thaisia of Leushino:
“It is through sorrows that the great designs of God’s Providence are manifested to us. ‘God is known in His burdens.’ But how heavy and hopeless our sorrows appear to our short-sighted and faint-hearted minds! We do not understand, we do not even want to see in the sorrows that befall us the great purposes of Providence; we are unable to obey God without murmuring” (Abbess Thaisia: An Autobiography, p.131)
“Commit yourself, I repeat, without defence to the will of your [spiritual] guides – give way to them, like clay to the potter, like iron to a smith; let them mold and hammer on the forge of obedience (as was expressed by St. John, author of the Ladder) your unruly and proud will, until it will be ground into the soft wax of humility, so that with understanding and discernment you may repeat the words of the Psalmist: “In our humiliation the Lord remembered us” (Ps. 135:23), or, “It is good for me that Thou hast humbled me, that I might learn Thy statutes (Ps. 118:71).” (Letters to a Beginner, p. 47)
St. Paisios the Athonite (July 12)
The Providence of God embraces everything in the world. God provides not only for the great and the immense, but also for the small and apparently insignificant; not only over the heaven and the earth, angels and men, but also over the smallest creatures, birds, grasses, flowers, trees. The whole of Sacred Scripture is filled with the thought of God’s unwearying providential activity.
We pray: “Our Father which art in heaven,” but at the same time we know that God is everywhere, because He is a genuine Spirit, who is “living everywhere.” That is why David the Psalmist exclaimed, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee” (Psalm 139).
We should firmly know that God is infinitely good and wishes our happiness and salvation only; this is why we should also be thankful in accepting grieves from Him. Children do not stop loving parents when parents punish them unjustly, because they know that parents want better for them. The Scripture says that the Lord punishes him whom He loves.
If the Lord provides for us all the time, meaning that He always cares about our life and salvation, then we also have to learn how to follow His Providence in our lives. Sometimes we notice that things happen not as we want them to. We get angry and indignant, murmur about fortune, but after years pass we understand that what happened was to the better, and it would be worse for us otherwise. We Christians should thank God for our sorrows, rather than triumph over our success, because sorrows clean off our passions, while worldly success leads to forgetting God and the purpose of our life on the earth.
Prokeimenon; (Tone VI):
Prokeimenon: Look upon me, and have mercy upon me: * for poor and needy am I.
Verse: Unto Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul.
A READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS (3:34 – 4:22)
The LORD scorneth the scorners: but He giveth grace unto the lowly. The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools. Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honor, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life. Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
Sessional hymn; by Theodore; (Tone VIII):
The Fast hath set before us a mystic table, * inviting us all to partake abundantly thereof. * We shall partake of the everlasting gifts of the Spirit; * we shall drink of the divinely flowing stream of tears. ** Let us thereby rejoice and offer ceaseless praise unto God.
Tone VI (by Theodore):
Let us now set out with joy upon the second week of the Fast; * and from day to day, O brethren, let us fashion for ourselves, * a fiery chariot as did Elijah the Tishbite, * from the four great virtues; * let us exalt our minds through freedom from the passions; * let us arm our flesh with purity, * * putting to flight and gaining victory over, the enemy.
To the Martyrs: (Tone VIII):
O martyrs of the Lord, ye hallow every place * and heal all manner of infirmities; * and now We entreat you to pray on our behalf * * that our souls may be delivered from the snares of the enemy.