Verses to Joseph the all-good
Wise Joseph, was revealed a just ruler,
And a provider of grain, O abundance of good things.
Verses to the withered fig-tree.
Christ likened the synagogue of the Hebrews
To a fig tree devoid of spiritual fruit
And withered it with a curse
Let us flee from a similar fate
St. Nikolai Velimirovic
The innocent and chaste Joseph endured two great and difficult temptations and overcame them: the temptation of wicked envy on the part of his blood brothers, and the temptation of adulterous passion from the Egyptian temptress. Jealousy sold him as a slave, and the passion of adultery drove the innocent one to prison. In both cases he returned good for evil: he gave food to his hungry brothers and preserved the life, throne and people of frightened Pharaoh… but God saved him…
Such is the wondrous mercy of God toward the righteous. Thus does the Lord know how to save and glorify the innocent and the chaste. In the greatness of the destiny of Joseph, we see the greatness of God’s mercy. There is one eye that never sleeps, my brethren. Let us cling to God and not fear anyone. Let us be innocent and chaste and not fear evil, or slander, or prison, or ridicule, or misfortune. On the contrary, let us rejoice when all of this befalls us because of our innocence and chastity; let us rejoice and await with faith the revelation of God’s wonders toward us. Let us, in every storm, await the thunder of God’s justice-and afterward the calm.
O mysterious Lord, Who secretly but vigilantly accompanies the righteous in slavery and in prison, and manifests Thy mercy in Thine own time, help us to be innocent and chaste.
Prologue from Ochrid by St. Nikolai Velimirovic
Elder Sophrony (Sakharov) of Essex
“All of us, at every moment of our lives, are in absolute need of Divine grace, which is given to man through pain and effort. When we pray in the morning, pray in the evening, and pray every moment – then we have the right to say: ‘Lord, do not leave me; help me.’”
“It is essential to read the Gospel, that incomparable book. Then our life will be built up on the basis of the Word of God.And we will begin to think and make decisions in the spirit of the Divine commandments. How beautiful, when one begins to think like the Creator of this world!”
“When we begin to lead the Christian life, all our labor, all our struggle [podvig] is directed towards accepting even our enemies with love. In this consists the Christian’s martyric witness.”
“The human soul is the image of God. It finds rest only when it attains perfection.”
“Spiritual Life,” On Prayer, Blessed Sophrony Sakharov, Rosemary Edmonds (tr), Stavropegic Monastery of Saint John the Baptist, Essex, England
Abba John (the Dwarf) said, “Who sold Joseph?” A brother replied saying, “It was his brethren.” The old man said to him, “No, it was his humility which sold him, because he could have said, “I am their brother” and have objected, but, because he kept silence, he sold himself by his humility. It is also his humility which set him up as chief in Egypt.”
The man who endures accusations against himself with humility has arrived at perfection. He is marvelled at by the holy angels, for there is no other virtue so great and so hard to achieve. St Isaac of Syria
St. Porphyrios says of humility, Complete trust in God––that is what holy humility is. Complete obedience to God, without protest, without reaction, even when some things seem difficult. Abandonment of the hands to God. St. Paisios the Athonite
– Geronda, how should we consider someone who treats us in an unfair way?
– How should we consider him? We must treat him like a great benefactor who makes deposits on our behalf in God’s Savings Bank. He is making us eternally wealthy.
God knows. He has providence for His creature. Where there is patience, things fall into place. God provides. We need patience, not logic. Since God is watching, He is observing us, we must surrender unconditionally to Him. You see, the Righteous Joseph did not say a thing when his brothers sold him into slavery. He could have said, I am their brother’. But he said nothing, until God spoke and made him king. But when one has no patience, he suffers. When someone is wronged in this life either by men or by demons, God does not worry, because the soul benefits as a result. Many times, however, we say that we are wronged, while in reality we are the ones causing the harm. We must be careful to distinguish the two.
When we consider that the most wrongly accused is Christ, we would receive injustice with joy… This is why the wrongly accused are the most beloved children of God. This is why those who have been wrongly accused have within their hearts the wrongly accused Christ, and rejoice in exile and in prison as if they are in Paradise, because wherever Christ is, there is Paradise.
The just person is usually given the worst position, or may even lose his position to others. They abuse him and step all over him. Don’t we have the saying, “They walk over corpses; they stop at nothing?” But the more people push the just and righteous person down, the more the Good God lifts him up, like a cork. It’s not easy though and it takes a lot of patience. Patience clears up so many things.
Human justice is zero compared to divine justice. Our Lord was the first one to apply divine justice. Neither did He find excuses for Himself when He was being accused, nor protested when people spat on Him, or threatened when He was suffering. He patiently and silently endured everything, without reacting in the least. He even let them tear His clothes off; thus God was ridiculed for standing naked in the presence of His own creations. The most important thing was that He did not only seek help from human justice, but, instead, He justified His persecutors and prayed to His Father to forgive them. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Lk 23:34)..
Blessed are those who do not preach the Gospel with words, but live it and preach it with their silence, with the Grace of God, which betrays them.
Blessed are those who rejoice when unjustly accused, rather than when they are justly praised for their virtuous life. Here are the signs of holiness, not in the dry exertion of bodily asceticism and the great number of struggles, which, when not carried out with humility and the aim to put off the old man, create only illusions.
Blessed are those who prefer to be wronged rather than to wrong others and accept serenely and silently injustices. In this way, they reveal in practice that they believe in “one God, the Father Almighty” and expect to be vindicated by Him and not by human beings who repay in this life with vanity.
When you accept an injustice and are prepared to justify your neighbor you accept Christ himself into your heart Who was often wronged and maligned. It is then that Christ cannot be evicted from your heart and fills you with peace and gladness. Try it my children and experience this great joy! Learn to be happy with this spiritual joy not with the worldly one and every day it will be Easter.
Anyone who accepts injustice accepts into his heart Christ, Who was treated unjustly.
Through the prayers of St. Joseph the All-comely, O Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us.
Kontakion Tone 8. Ὡς ἀπαρχὰς
Jacob lamented the loss of Joseph, but his noble son was seated in a chariot and honoured as a king. For refusing to be enslaved by the pleasures of the Egyptian woman, he was glorified by him who sees the hearts of men, and bestows an incorruptible crown.
Verse: We were filled in the morning with Thy mercy, O Lord, and we rejoiced and were glad. In all our days, let us be glad: for the days wherein Thou hast humbled us, for the years wherein we have seen evil. And look upon Thy servants, and upon Thy works, and do Thou guide their sons.
O Lord, teaching thy disciples to think perfect thoughts, thou didst say, be not like the Gentiles who exercise dominion over those who are weak; it shall not be so with you my disciples, for of mine own will am I poor. Therefore let him who is first among you be the minister of all, the one who rules as the one being ruled, the one who is preferred as the least of all. For I myself have come to minister unto Adam in his poverty, and to give my life as a ransom for the many who cry to me: glory to thee. (Great Monday Matins)