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2013-06-23 message

posted Jun 25, 2013, 12:12 PM by St. John's Webmaster   [ updated Jun 25, 2013, 12:12 PM ]

Today, following the Divine Liturgy, we celebrate the Vespers service known as kneeling Vespers. In this service, for the first time since Pascha, we kneel. The first kneeling prayer reminds us that we kneel before God, as we do much of the time, in repentance: “Accept us as we kneel before You crying the familiar, ‘I have sinned!’ We have been dependent on You from our mother's womb; You are our God. But because our days have been vainly squandered, we are stripped of Your help, without any defense"

We also kneel in supplication. On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured upon the disciples, we also ask, during the second kneeling that God, “Grant me the Spirit of wisdom in my thoughts, the Spirit of prudence in my ignorance. […] Renew a steadfast Spirit in my breast, and let Your guiding Spirit make firm my errant mind, so that each day, led by Your good Spirit towards that which is profitable, I may be worthy to keep Your commandments, ever mindful of Your glorious and soul­searching presence. Do not allow me to be beguiled by the world's corrupting delights, but rather to desire the enjoyment of future treasures.”

Our kneeling can also represent our thankfulness, sadness, awe, despair, joy and it is important to come to God in prayer in every circumstance. Every emotion in its own way contains the impulse to bring us closer to God as well as the temptation to go away from him. It is up to us, to our rational nature, to direct these impulses in the proper way, which is to say, to bring them before God.

In the end, every aspect of our lives can bring us on our knees before the Lord. When that happens, we recognize that we are before the one true God, the Father Who sees in secret, the Son Who dwelt among us, and the Spirit Who is everywhere present. We are humbled by this realization. And God, Who exalts the humble, draws us to Him ever closer.

With love in Christ,
+Fr. Peter