Second Epistle Of Saint Paul To Timothy 2:1-15, 19-26
You, who are my son, strengthen yourself with the grace of Christ Jesus.
What you have heard of me, which is corraborated by numerous witnesses,
confide to responsible men who will be capable of teaching others.
Share my labors, like a good soldier of Jesus Christ. He who bears
arms does not mingle in the affairs of civil life, so as to be able
to meet the orders of the one who enrolled him. The athlete does not
receive the prize if he does not fight in accord with the rules.
The worker that toils hard is the first one that has the right to
reap the fruits. Think about what I tell you and the Lord, for his part,
will help you to comprehend everything. Remember Jesus Christ, who
resurrected among the dead and is the descendent of David. This is the
Good News that I preach, for which I suffer and I am in chains like a
criminal. Yet the word of God is not in chains. This is why I bear
these trials for love of the elect, with the goal that they also
reach the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, and they participate in
the eternal glory.
This doctrine is worthy of faith: if we have died with Him, we will live
with Him. If we are steadfast, we will reign with Him. If we deny Him,
He will also deny us. If we are not faithful, He remains faithful,
because He cannot deny himself. Do not stop teaching these things, nor
stop imploring to God that useless discussions take place, which are only
useful for the perdition of those who partake in them. Strive to be
worthy of the aprobation of God, presenting yourself before Him like
a laborer who has nothing to be ashamed of and like a loyal dispensor
of the Word of Truth.
But the solid foundation that God has established remains unmovable, and the
inscription of what serves Him as a seal says: The Lord knows His own and:
he who invokes the name of the Lord, must distance himself from iniquity.
In a large house not only are all the vessels of gold or silver; there are others
made of wood and clay. Some are destined to noble uses, others, to common ones.
If someone maintains themselves free of those errors he or she will be like a noble
and sanctified vessel, that offers usefulness to his or her owner for all types of
good works. Do not cave in to the impulses of youth and seek instead justice, faith,
love and peace, together with all who invoke the Lord with a pure heart.
Avoid stupid questions lacking in sense: you already know that they provoke serious altercations.
He who serves the Lord must not take part in quarrels. On the contrary, they must be amiable with everyone,
apt to teach and patient in trials. He must apprehend their adversaries with tenderness, taking into account
that God is capable of granting them their conversion and taking them to the knowledge of the Truth,
making them react and liberating them from the trap of the devil that holds them captive to the
service of his will.
You have called me, Lord, to minister to your people
From The Statement of Faith by St. John Damascene, Priest
O Lord, you led me from my fatherís loins and formed me in
my motherís womb. You brought me, a naked babe, into the
light of day, for natureís laws always obey your commands.
By the blessing of the Holy Spirit, you prepared my creation
and my existence, not because man willed it or flesh desired it,
but by your ineffable grace. The birth you prepared for me was
such that it surpassed the laws of our nature. You sent me forth
into the light by adopting me as your son and you enrolled me among
the children of your holy and spotless Church.
You nursed me with the spiritual milk of your divine utterances.
You kept me alive with the solid food of the body of Jesus Christ,
your only-begotten Son for our redemption. And he undertook the task
willingly and did not shrink from it. Indeed, he applied himself to
it as though destined for sacrifice, like an innocent lamb. Although
he was God, he became man, and in his human will, became obedient to
you, God his Father, unto death, even death on a cross.
In this way you have humbled yourself, Christ my God, so that you
might carry me, your stray sheep, on your shoulders. You let me graze
in green pastures, refreshing me with the waters of orthodox teaching
at the hands of your shepherds. You pastured these shepherds, and now
they in turn tend your chosen and special flock. Now you have called me,
Lord, by the hand of your bishop to minister to your people. I do not
know why you have done so, for you alone know that. Lord. Lighten the
heavy burden of the sins through which I have seriously transgressed.
Purify my mind and heart. Like a shining lamp, lead me along the straight
path. When I open my mouth, tell me what I should say. By the fiery tongue
of your Spirit make my own tongue ready. Stay with me always and keep me
in your sight.
Lead me to pastures, Lord, and graze there with me. Do not let my heart
lean either to the right or to the left, but let your good Spirit guide
me along the straight path. Whatever I do, let it be in accordance with
your will, now until the end.
And you, O Church, are a most excellent assembly, the noble summit of
perfect purity, whose assistance comes from God. You in whom God lives,
receive from us an exposition of the faith that is free from error, to
strengthen the Church, just as our Fathers handed it down to us.
SAINT JOHN DAMASCENE (676-749) is best known for his
defence of Christian sacred art, particularly in the
form of icons.
While the churches of Rome and Constantinople were still
united during St. Johnís life, the Byzantine Emperor Leo III
broke radically from the ancient tradition of the church,
charging that the veneration of Christian icons was a form of
John had grown up under Muslim rule in Damascus, as the child of
strongly Christian parents.
His excellent education, particularly in theology, prepared him
well to defend the tradition of sacred iconography, against the
heresy of the "iconoclasts," so-called because they would enter
churches and destroy the images therein.
During the 720s, the upstart theologian began publicly opposing
the emperorís command against sacred images in a series of writings.
The heart of his argument was twofold: first, that Christians did not
actually worship images, rather through them, they worshiped God, and
honoured the memory of the saints.
Second, he asserted that by taking an incarnate physical form, Christ
had given warrant to the Churchís depiction of him in images.
By 730, the young public officialís persistent defence of Christian
artwork had made him a permanent enemy of the emperor, who had a letter
forged in Johnís name offering to betray the Muslim government of Damascus.
The ruling caliph of the city, taken in by the forgery, is said to have
cut off Johnís hand. The saintís sole surviving biography states that the
Virgin Mary acted to restore it miraculously. John eventually managed to
convince the Muslim ruler of his innocence, before making the decision to
become a monk and later a priest.
Although a number of imperially-convened synods condemned Johnís advocacy
of Christian iconography, Rome always regarded his position as a defence of
Years after the priest and monk died, the Seventh Ecumenical Council
vindicated his orthodoxy, and ensured the permanent place of holy images
in both Eastern and Western Christian piety.
Saint John of Damascusí other notable achievements include the "Exact Exposition
of the Orthodox Faith," a work in which he systematized the earlier Greek Fathers.í
thinking about theological truths in light of philosophy.
The work exerted a profound influence on Saint Thomas Aquinas and subsequent scholastic
theologians. Centuries later, Saint Johnís sermons on the Virgin Maryís bodily assumption
into heaven were cited in Pope Pius XIIís dogmatic definition on the subject. The Saint
also contributed as an author and editor, to some of the liturgical hymns and poetry
that Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholics still use in their celebrations of the
Grant, we pray, O Lord, that we may be helped by
the prayers of the Priest Saint John Damascene,
so that the true faith, which he excelled in teaching,
may always be our light and our strength.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns
with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
An icon of the Theotokos, called of the three hands
Saint John of Damascene, also known as John of Damascus, icon from Damascus (Syria), 19th c., attributed to Iconographer Neímeh Naser Homsi;
March 27 (Traditional), December 4 (Novus Ordo) Feast of Saint John Damascene, Confessor and Doctor - Defender of Christian Truth, Art and Music
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The Apostolic Blessing by the Holy See in Rome is bestowed (October 28, 2013)
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