Do you ask a lot of questions?

Last Sunday’s Gospel poses an interesting situation. The non-believers asked many questions of the blind man, to the point where he became frustrated. How many times do we question what God asks of us? To read Scripture on a daily basis – to pray – to follow the Commandments – to attend the Divine Liturgy – to partake of the Eucharist – to confess our sins – to do good works. We question Stewardship instead of taking action and doing those things that are necessary for our Salvation! Maybe one day, we also will say “One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see!”
We pray that you have a blessed summer and please remember that supporting the Church’s ministries is a year long commitment.
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Stewardship of the Fast, Family and Vacation!

The final bell rings marking the end of the school year-and the mad rush for the exits ensues. Many of us can remember that highly anticipated and energetic time of our youth. It is a time of hope for a new day, a time of planning on summer camps, a time of family vacations. And so often, we also think of it as a time to take vacation from Church…

Interestingly, the Church offers a Fast at the beginning of this time of year-the Apostles’ Fast. It is a time that is so often neglected in our family life here in the United States and Canada. And yet, it is a time that can be the greatest blessing to recharge our spiritual batteries and prepare for the family vacation season.

When we fast, we set aside the time to care for our relationship with God. When we fast, we take the time to deny the self, and thus strengthen our ability to say “YES” to God-uniting our will to His Will. When we fast, we remind ourselves that there is something more important than immediate gratification.

The question remains: How do we fast and still have a family vacation? Family time-including taking a vacation together-is vital to the health of our relationship with our loved ones. There is nothing more important than keeping the Gift of the Family healthy and whole and dedicated to God. That does not mean that to be a healthy family, an extravagant trip is needed. How healthy is it to take a “vacation” from the one thing that nourishes us as a family: Christ? How healthy can it be to remove ourselves from the one place where Jesus Christ is revealed in His Fullness: the Divine Liturgy? This week, as the summer planning sessions are beginning in earnest, let us take some time to prioritize our family life so that our summer vacations can reflect our values in Christ. When we set our family time priorities, it is important to list them in the same manner as our personal ones, keeping in mind the one thing needful: Our Relationship with Christ! Each family should take some time to determine what is truly important to them.

Father Christopher Rocknage, Harrisburg, PA

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The Stewardship of Reading Scripture-St. John Chrysostom

Great is the profit of divine Scriptures, and all sufficient is the aid which comes from them… for the divine oracles are a treasury of all manner of medicines.Whether it be needful to quench pride, to lull passion to sleep, to tread under foot the love of money, to despise pain, to inspire confidence, to gain patience – in the Scriptures, we may find an abundant resource.

Throughout life, we are presented with many examples where the reading of Scripture has provided comfort, resolution, support and answers.

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Try something new…

In the Orthodox Church calendar, the second Sunday after Easter is dedicated to the Myrrh Bearing Women. These women played a very important role in Christianity. Stepping outside of their boundaries or not being in their comfort zone is one way we can describe them. We always think about trying or doing something new, but the fear of the unknown hinders our progress. Consider this from the Myrrh Bearing Women’s perspective. They loved Jesus, were at His side, listened to His teachings and followed Him – all during a time where pursuing Jesus, in any way, was very risky and dangerous. Were they afraid? Did they have concern for their lives? Were they scared? Maybe, but what took precedent was their faith in Christ and a belief that He would protect them.

When we consider our Stewardship, have faith in God that He will lead and guide you to do good works. Try something new, get involved at your Church or take responsibility for leading a ministry. Let us imitate these women and practice an unconditional and dedicated commitment of faith!
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What we can’t control and what we can- a valuable guideline in our business lives

St. Basil the Great…

Each of us, let us acknowledge it, is the first author of his own vice. Among the ordinary events of life, some come naturally, like old age and sickness, others by chance like unforeseen occurrences, of which the origin is beyond ourselves, often sad, sometimes fortunate, as for instance the discovery of a treasure when digging a well, or the meeting of a mad dog when going to the market place. Others depend upon ourselves, such as ruling one’s passions, or not putting a bridle on one’s pleasures, to be master of our anger, or to raise the hand against him who irritates us, to tell the truth, or to lie, to have a sweet and well-regulated disposition, or to be fierce and swollen and exalted with pride. Here you are the master of your actions.

Reflect on this in your daily life – at work and at home!

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“He who has compassion on the poor lends to God and He will repay Him for his good deed” (Proverbs 19:17).

The poor man who begs and the rich man who gives both are indebting the Lord, but only under the condition that the poor man begs in the name of the Lord with humility and that the rich man gives in the name of the Lord with compassion. Everyone who receives should know that he receives that which belongs to God and everyone who gives should know that he gives that which belongs to God. Such giving has a price and such receiving has a price. All of us enter this world naked and naked shall we leave this world. All of us are beggars before the Lord for we possess nothing that we have not received from the Lord. Therefore, give to the poor man as God as given to you. You take what is another’s and you give to your own when you perform charity. The poor man is closer to you than all of your goods even as God, the Creator of men, every man is incomparably more precious than all of his goods. If you have been given riches, it was given to you for temptation: that your heart be tempted! That God and all the heavenly hosts see whether you understood from whom are all your riches and why they were given to you. Blessed are you if you know that your goods are from God and belong to God! Blessed are you if you consider the poor as your companions, among your family members and share with them from that which God has entrusted to you!

O how immeasurable is God’s love for mankind! Behold, all that you have belongs to God but, nevertheless, God considers Himself your debtor if you take from Him and give to the poor and He will repay you for your good. What kind of mercy can be compared to this!

O Man-loving Lord, open our minds to understand the mystery of Your mercy and soften our hearts as wax, that as wax they burn and shine with the reflection of Your inexpressible mercy!

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

St. Nikolai Velimirovic –Prologue of Ohrid

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Everyone is good at something

St. Justin Popovic: For to be a member of the Church means to become incarnated with the God-man, to share His body, to become an organic part of His divine-human body. In other words, to become divine-human in the entire reality of one’s human personality
Theosis is our opportunity to become like Christ, to live like Christ and to create a lifestyle that treats the Church as our primary focus. Consider how you can help your Church. Are there areas where your Time and Talents could be used? What unique qualities do you possess that can contribute to the Church’s needs? A singer, an electrician, a teacher, a carpenter, an accountant, a gardener, a cook or a painter – just to name few. Think about the many skills that you have and how you can use them!
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