The Beginning of the Day Belongs to Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ Light of the World, God and Saviorby Chris Banescu –
In Life Together, the book that highlights the importance of Christian fellowship and community life centered on Christ, Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us that the beginning of the day belongs to God. “At the threshold of the new day stand the Lord who made it.” He exhorts us to silence all empty talk and distractions when we rise each day and instead let our first thoughts and words be offered to Jesus Christ, “to whom our whole life belongs.”

This is the same message that the Scriptures, wise men of God, the Orthodox Church, and the Christian Saints have taught and practiced throughout the ages. The Gospels bear witness that Jesus Christ himself started each day with prayer. “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35).

“For Christians, the beginning of the day should not be burdened and oppressed with besetting concerns for the day’s work. At the threshold of the new day stand the Lord who made it. All the darkness and distraction of the dreams of night retreat before the clear light of Jesus Christ and His wakening Word. All unrest, all impurity, all care and anxiety flee before Him. [Read more…]

Men are Mirrors or ‘Carriers’ of Christ to Other Men

Men are Mirrors or Carriers of Christ to Other Menby Chris Banescu –
C.S. Lewis reminds of the significance of our work and witness in the world and the importance Christian fellowship in bringing Christ and the Truth to others.

“Men are mirrors, or ‘carriers’ of Christ to other men. Sometimes unconscious carriers. This ‘good infection’ can be carried by those who have not got it themselves. People who were not Christians themselves helped me to Christianity. But usually it is those who know Him that bring Him to others.

That is why the Church, the whole body of Christians showing Him to one another, is so important. You might say that when two Christians are following Christ together there is not twice as much Christianity as when they are apart, but sixteen times as much.” ~ C.S. Lewis

This same message was proclaimed by Christ. “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)

The Greater the Darkness, The Brighter Our Lights Must Shine

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
The Greater the Darkness, The Brighter Our Lights Must Shine [Read more…]

A Symphony of Illumination

Christ Master of Life and Illuminationby Chris Banescu –

Seek and you shall find. Ask and you shall receive.
So You have promised Lord, and so I’ve found my calling.

Silence and faithfulness till the earth which Thou spoke into existence.
The Mighty One of old gives heed to my persistence.
Lord I call upon Thee hear me, hear me O Lord.
Receive my prayer and supplication, O Master.
Guide my heart and life towards Thee, my only hope and blessing.

A ray of uncreated light breaks through the clouds of daily cares.
A timeless, gentle whisper gathers strength, comes ever closer.
Infinite love and Truth draw near.

Eternal Word humbles Himself again, descends towards His creation.
The Father stretches His arms once more, embracing His invention.
Eternity approaches!
[Read more…]

Correcting Scorners and Rebuking Wicked Men is Harmful

Proverbs 9 by Chris Banescu –
The Bible warns us that confronting and trying to correct and rebuke scornful and wicked individuals can be harmful. The Proverbs caution that “he who corrects a scorner [scoffer] gets shame for himself” and “he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself” (Proverbs 9:7). The Scriptures further instruct us to “not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you,” but instead “rebuke a wise man, and he will love you” (Proverbs 9:8).

A scorner (or scoffer) is typically someone who treats others with disdain and contempt, someone who unjustifiably considers others as despicable and unworthy.

Scoffers and the wicked unfairly dislike and disrespect anyone they disagree with, even on the smallest of points. They insult and ridicule those who try to correct and rebuke them, frequently responding with open hostility and outright hatred. They always resort to attacking the messenger and ignoring the message. The more reasonable, logical, and true the messages are, the greater the insults and anger that scorners direct at the messengers. [Read more…]

Prayer for America on Election Day 2012

Holy Spirit Prayer for America by Chris Banescu –
Dear Lord pour out Thy Holy Spirit on this nation and help us in this time of trouble. Give comfort to the suffering, strength to the weak, wisdom to the undecided, and courage to the fearful.

Master, You are our only help in time of need. You Who are just, loving, and compassionate look down upon us and have mercy on us and deliver us from the darkness and danger that now besets us. Deal with us not according to our iniquities, but according to Your manifold mercies, for we are the works of Your hands, and You know our weaknesses.

Be merciful to us Lord for we are in need of Your love and kindness. Help us elect a faithful, loving, mature, hard-working, and wise leader, a man of character and integrity who will bring hope, peace, and joy to a suffering and crumbling nation.

We beseech Thee Master do not forsake us and hear our prayers and petitions. [Read more…]

Sin Troubles the Soul and Chases Away Inner Peace

Saint Jerome Orthodox icon by Chris Banescu –
Sin always troubles our soul and chases away our inner peace. Saint Jerome cautions us that the evil one is a master at snaring and troubling us with many kinds of deceptions. When we give in to these distractions and “begin to play with sin”, we fall from a state of grace and our soul is in trouble. We are no longer at peace. We become even more vulnerable to the devil and easy prey to his snares.

In our daily battle to stay close to God’s grace and find peace, we must not give in to sin, even the smallest ones which pave the way for greater ones. We must continually strive to embrace God’s truth and reject the lies and deceptions from the evil one.

Even if we succumb to temptation and fall, we should not despair and we must not persist in our sinful conduct. Often Satan’s greatest lie is to convince us that we are beyond redemption and there is no hope in asking for forgiveness from the Lord. We must quickly repent, reject the sin, return to Christ, and seek the grace of the Holy Spirit. This is the only way to stay sane and peaceful in the darkness and corruption of “this world.” [Read more…]

Miraculous Dove Blesses the Gospel and the Shepherd

Miraculous Dove Blesses the Gospel and the Shepherdby Chris Banescu –
A miraculous event happened recently in an Orthodox Christian monastery in Crete. As reported by John Sanidopoulos on the Mystagogy blog and documented via multiple photographs (see below), a white dove miraculously appeared during the religious procession on the monastery grounds. The beautiful bird first landed on the Holy Gospel and then perched itself on the head of the Orthodox priest holding it. The dove continued to rest on top of the priest’s hat all the way inside the church.

During a visit by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the sacred Monastery of Saint John the Baptist on the Island of Crete, a white dove appeared during the procession towards the church. The dove first perched itself on top of the Gospel book carried by the priest. It stayed there while the Ecumenical Patriarch venerated the Holy Gospel.

As the priest walked towards the monastery’s main church, the dove moved from the Holy Gospel onto the priest’s shoulder. Then it flew and rested on the pastor’s kalimavki (a black hat worn by monastics and archimandrites). While the procession continued moving towards the church, the dove remained perched on top of the priest’s hat. [Read more…]