Catechetical Letter

 

Prophet Zachariah  +  Great Martyr Theodore Stratelates  +  St. Sabbas Ii of Serbia

February 8, 2006

To the Corinthians I

 

The Holy Apostle Paul

 

[1] Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
[2] Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
[3] Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
[4] I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
[5] That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
[6] Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
[7] So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
[8] Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
[9] God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
[10] Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
[11] For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
[12] Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
[13] Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
[14] I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
[15] Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
[16] And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
[17] For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
[18] For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
[19] For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
[20] Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
[21] For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
[22] For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

[23] But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
[24] But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
[25] Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
[26] For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
[27] But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
[28] And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
[29] That no flesh should glory in his presence.
[30] But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
[31] That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

 

 

 

To learn for Holy Pascha…


HYMN TO THE RESURRECTION:


Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ,

let us worship, the holy Lord Jesus,

the only Sinless One!

We venerate Thy Cross, O Christ,

and Thy Holy Resurrection

we praise and glorify;

for Thou art our God,

and we know no other than Thee;

we call on Thy name.

Come, all you faithful,

let us venerate Christ's Holy Resurrection!

For, behold, through the Cross

joy has come into all the world.

Let us ever bless the Lord,

praising His Resurrection.

By enduring the Cross for us,

He destroyed death by death!

 

 

 

THE PASCHAL TROPARION:

Christ is risen from the dead,

trampling down death by death,

and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

 

 

 

Commentary

 

[1] Sosthenes was head of the Synagogue in Corinth and became Bishop at Colophon, having been led to Orthodoxy by the Apostle. The Apostle uses the “episcopal we” in calling the bishop “our brother”.

[2] We are all called to be Saints, though we would not call ourselves Saints.

[3-9] This can be looked upon as a discussion of our salvation – of theosis and the fullness of Orthodoxy.

[10] It is fitting that we all share one doctrine, not many, and that we not multiply factions over doctrine or opinions.

[11] Notice that everything is in the open, about who has said what, and what has been said.

[12-13] We should not make our favorite teachers the justification for factions, not even by claiming to follow Christ alone and making that a faction. Having teachers and being disciples of fathers is part of our tradition, but there is no division in Christ, or between Christ and those who represent him. And certainly Christ is Lord of all, our only Teacher and Father, so that all is held in His Name.

[14-16] The Apostle is glad that he can hardly be mistaken for starting his own Church, baptizing in his own name.

[17] If the Apostle made the gospel into a set of propositions, a thing composed of words, such a gospel could not save. It would be an intellectual construct – a dialectical abyss.

[18] The true Gospel fails to appeal on a purely intellectual level to those who look for a propositional epiphany, but to those being deified, we know its working in us, in a way that cannot be contained or conveyed in dialectic.

[19-25] The intellectual of the world system (and not even the blind religious believer) can discover proofs of the mystery of the Gospel. But to some, who truly know the mystery, it is power and wisdom of God.

[26-29] If you look at yourselves, you can see we’re not the haven of the intellectual, the powerful, or the elite. But weak things have been made the bane – the  antagonist – the nemesis of the strong – by God’s choosing. In this way, no one can claim greatness on either account.

[30] But you are made people ‘of God’ by your union with Christ, and Christ has become your wisdom, your righteousness, your setting apart, and your redeeming. If there is anything to exalt in that, it is God.

 

 

These thoughts are only my own flawed thoughts, and are offered as informal commentary, not presuming to be comprehensive, or without error, or even entirely correct.

 

 

 

To learn for Holy Pascha…


PASCHAL HYMN TO THE THEOTOKOS:

The angel cried

to the Lady Full of Grace:

Rejoice, Rejoice O Pure Virgin!

Again I say: Rejoice!

Thy Son has risen from His three days in the tomb!

With Himself He has raised all the dead!

Rejoice, rejoice all ye people!

Shine! Shine! Shine, O New Jerusalem!

The Glory of the Lord

has shone itself on you!

Exalt now, exalt,

and be ye glad, O Zion!

Be radiant, O Pure Theotokos,

in the Resurrection

- the Resurrection of thy Son!

 

 

 

If you should think of me, in my unworthiness, pray Christ have mercy and save me. – the unworthy

 

 

 

DIVINE LITURGY

 

Cathedral:

Sun 2/19 5:00am

 

LAY PRAYERS

 

Vespers & Compline:

Saturdays 6pm

 

Hours & Typica:

Sundays 9:30am

CALENDAR

 

Meatfare Week:

Economia from fasting

Feb 12 – Feb 19

 

Cheesefare Week:

Dairy, Eggs, Fish

Feb 27 – March  5

 

Great Lent:

March 6 – April 22

 

Holy Week:

April 16 – April 23

 

oca.org/OCFasting.asp

 

 

Just as the simple thought of human realities does not oblige the mind to disdain the divine, so neither does the simple knowledge of divine things persuade it fully to disdain human things, for the reason that the truth exists now in shadows and figures. Hence there is a need for the blessed passion of holy love, which binds the mind to spiritual realities and persuades it to prefer the immaterial to the material and intelligible and divine things to those of sense.

- St. Maximus the Confessor.

 

 

"Discrimination is born of humility. On its possessor it confers spiritual insight, as both Moses and St. John Klimakos say: such a man foresees the hidden designs of the enemy and foils them before they are put into operation. It is as David states: `And my eyes looked down upon my enemies' (Ps. 54:7). Discrimination is characterized by an unerring recognition of what is good and what is not, and the knowledge of the will of God in all that one does. Spiritual insight is characterized, first, by awareness of one's own failing before they issue in outward actions, as well as of the stealthy tricks of the demons; and, second, by the knowledge of the mysteries hidden in the divine Scriptures and in sensible creation."

- St. Peter of Damaskos.


"Now the divine nature, as it is in itself, according to its essence, transcends every act of comprehensive knowledge and it cannot be approached or attained by our speculation. Men have never discovered a faculty to comprehend the incomprehensible; nor have we ever been able to devise an intellectual technique for grasping the inconceivable. For this reason the great Apostle calls God's ways unsearchable (Rom. 11:33), teaching us by this that the way that leads to the knowledge of the divine nature is inaccessible to our reason; and hence none of those who have lived before us has given us the slightest hint of comprehension suggesting that we might know that which in itself is above all knowledge."

- St. Gregory of Nyssa.