Prologue of Ohrid

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February 3

1. SAINT SIMEON, THE GOD-RECEIVER

During the reign of the Egyptian Emperor Ptolemy Philadelphus, Simeon was chosen as one of the prominent Seventy to whom was entrusted the task of translating the Bible from the Hebrew language into the Greek language [The Septuagint]. Simeon was performing his task conscientiously but when he was translating the book of the Prophet Isaiah and came upon the prophecy: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and will give birth to a son" (Isaiah 7:14), he became confused and took a knife to remove the word "virgin" and to replace it with the words, "young woman," and as such to translate it into Greek. At that moment, however, an angel of God appeared to Simeon and restrained him from his intention, explaining to him that the prophecy is true; that the prophecy is correctly written: that it is true and correct. The messenger of God also said that Simeon would be convinced of it personally for, according to the Will of God, he will not die until he sees the Messiah born of the Virgin. The righteous Simeon rejoiced to hear such a voice from heaven, left the prophecy unchanged and thanked God Who is making him worthy to live and to see the Promised One. When the young Child Jesus was presented in the Temple in Jerusalem by the Virgin Mary, the Spirit of God appeared to Simeon who was very old and as "white as a swan." Simeon quickly entered the Temple and there recognized both the Virgin and the young Child by the light that shone around their heads as an aureal. The joyful Simeon took Christ into his hands and prayed to God to release him from this life: "Now, Master, You may let Your servant go in peace, according to Your word, for my eyes have seen Your salvation" (St. Luke 2: 29-30). Anna the Prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, was also there, who recognized the Messiah and proclaimed Him to the people.

"And coming forward at that very moment, she gave thanks to God, and spoke about the Child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem" (St. Luke 2:38). At that time, Anna was eighty-four years old. St. Simeon died shortly after that. This righteous Elder Simeon is considered to be the Protector of young children.

2. THE HOLY MARTYRS ADRIAN AND EUBULUS

These two holy souls arrived from their place of Baneas in Caesarea of Cappadocia to attend the imprisoned Christians in the dungeon and to console and encourage them. However they, too, were arrested and sentenced to death. Adrian was beheaded and Eubulus was thrown before wild beasts in the year 309 A.D. Thus, not grieving over this life, they honorably and joyfully entered into life eternal.

HYMN OF PRAISE

A PRAYER FOR A SMALL CHILD

O Powerful Lord, have mercy and save,

Do not extinguish this small flame with death!

This child is like the small flame of a candle,

And the winds of the world are terrible, even to the stars;

A weak fire is banked beneath the ashes

And beneath Your hand, the soul of man.

When the water rises and reaches the throat,

And the flame becomes smaller and the fire becomes damp,

O Lord, save, have mercy and alleviate!

Thus, David the Prophet, prayed to You

Even though he was a huge torch.

And a weak child at the base of heaven

And from sinful thoughts his head began to ache.

Every wind of malice weakened him.

It would be extinguished quickly from the tumultuous winds,

If you do not save, O Helper, hurry,

O Lord, have mercy and save us even now,

And this small flame do not extinguish with death!

Through the prayers, O God, of Your favorite Elder,

Holy Saint Simeon, the wonderful receiver of God.

REFLECTION

How great a glory in heaven befitted St. Simeon the Receiver of God, who held the Savior of the world in his hands, which the following incident clearly shows as, related in the hagiography of St. Peter the Athonite (June 12). As a commander during a battle, Peter was enslaved, chained and cast into prison in the town of Samara on the shores of the Euphrates River. Languishing in prison for along time Peter, in tears, prayed to St. Nicholas to beseech God on his behalf to liberate him from prison, promising that he will completely dedicate himself to God. St. Nicholas appeared to him in a dream and told him that although he [St. Nicholas] prays to God on his behalf, God delays his deliverance because he [Peter] earlier made a similar vow to God and did not keep it. And further, St. Nicholas counseled Peter that he ought to pray to St. Simeon the God-receiver "who is very mighty before God and stands close to the Throne of God together with the All-Holy Virgin and St. John the Forerunner." Peter heeded the counsel of St. Nicholas and proceeded to pray to St. Simeon. Again St. Nicholas appeared to him, together with St. Simeon, not in a dream but in reality. Peter saw Simeon glorious in appearance, face glowing, and attired in the vestments of an Old Testament priest with a golden staff in his hand. St. Simeon said to Peter: "Do you want to fulfill the vow and become a monk?" To that, Peter replied: "Yes master, with God's help." Simeon then touched Peter's chains with his staff and the chains melted like wax. Opening the doors of the dungeon, the saint led Peter from prison.

CONTEMPLATION

To contemplate the Lord Jesus as the Cornerstone:

1. As the Cornerstone in building personal character;

2. As the Cornerstone in building the family and a nation;

3. As the Cornerstone of every good intentioned social transformation and inspiration of mankind.

HOMILY

About the Spirit of God Who speaks through the Spirit-bearers

"Do not worry about howyou are to speak --- but theSpirit of your Father speakingthrough you" (St. Matthew 10: 19-20).

These are the words of Him Who knows all and Who declared to the world knowledge which no one knew before His visit to mankind. If someone is filled with the Spirit of God, he does not speak from the spirit of man but the Spirit of God speaks from him and through him. He is only an instrument or a lyre of God's Spirit through which God the Spirit speaks. When that kind of man speaks, he speaks infallibly and no one can find falsehood in his speech except those, who because of the perversion of their minds, consider truth as falsehood. How men speak, filled with the Spirit of God, was clearly shown by the example of the prophets and more clearly shown by the example of the apostles. Miraculous and unbelievable did the words of the apostles seem to strangers, i.e., those who did not have the Spirit of God in themselves and who knew how to speak only of the earth, considered the apostles as intoxicated. In reality, to the ignorant, all those people who first began to speak about the hidden miracles of this physical world, about the power of steam, about magnetism, about electricity, about wireless telegraphy, and conversation at a distance [the telephone] appeared intoxicated and foolish. How then do spiritual men not seem intoxicated and foolish who, led by the Spirit of God, speak about countless hidden mysteries of the spiritual kingdom? Whoever humbles himself before God, God makes him powerful. The Spirit of God settles in a contrite heart and from there speaks through the mouth of man. This is confirmed not only on the prophets and apostles but also on the countless number of God's sons and daughters

O Good Lord, do not refuse us Your Holy Spirit.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
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