Today is the day that the HHS Mandate that those of us who hold traditional beliefs are required to violate our conscious and pay for things that we find morally repugnant. It is truly a sad day.
Today is also the start of the Orthodox Fast period before the Great Feast of the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary. As Orthodox we are called to repentance during all of the fast periods of the Church but this one seems extremely important. As the Roman Catholics used the days leading up to the 4th of July as the Fortnight for Freedom, we Orthodox should use these days of the fast to pray for our country and its leaders. That, as the Divine Liturgy says, “in their calmness we may lead religious and serene lives.”
Today is also the day we commemorate the Procession of the Holy Cross. This description of the Feast is taken from the website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese: (emphasis mine)
Because of the many diseases that occur in the month of August, the custom prevailed of old in Constantinople to carry the precious Wood of the Cross in procession throughout the city for its sanctification and its deliverance from illnesses. It was brought forth from the imperial treasury on the last day of July and placed upon the Holy Table of the Great Church of the Holy Wisdom; and beginning today, until the Dormition of the Theotokos, it was carried in procession throughout the city and was set forth for veneration before the people.
I celebrated a Divine Liturgy today and the Gospel reading assigned for this day was also very poignant for this particular day and what we as a nation and as believers are going to face:
The Reading is from Matthew 10:16-22
The Lord said to his disciples, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”
For me this reading was a battle cry for us to be prepared for what is coming. As the Gospel says we will be hated for the sake of the Son of God but we need not fear for God will be with us and we who endure to the end will be saved.
God Bless all of you and God Bless America!