Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the Name of the Lord.
This coming Saturday, November 3, we will celebrate the Feast of St Raphael of Brooklyn. St Raphael is the first Orthodox bishop to be consecrated in North America. He is also the Good Shepherd of the Lost Sheep in America, so these services will be an excellent time to intercede on behalf of all those folks that we know who are not yet part of the Church or who have fallen away from the Church. We will offer Orthros at 7am and the Divine Liturgy at 9am.
Wednesday, October 31, and Friday, November 2
Wednesday, October 31
Fall Theological Seminar 7pm at the parish and in Killeen. We will be discussing 210-247 of Gilead.
Thursday, November 1
Choir Practice 7pm
Saturday, November 3
Feast of St Raphael of Brooklyn
Divine Liturgy 9am
St Thomas School 4pm Michael Coleman will lead the discussion of Chpt 20 “Salvation as Deification”
Great Vespers 6pm
Sunday, November 4
Fifth Sunday of St Luke
Church School 8:15am
Divine Liturgy 10am
Fellowship Hour Noon
Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children Noon
Make-Up Stewardship Visit: If you missed your assigned Sunday, this is your time to get all of your budget questions answered and to pick up a 2019 Commitment Card
This Week at St Thomas School
Chapter 20, “Salvation as Deification,” is the final chapter in the fourth section of the second volume of Metropolitan Hilarion’s series, Orthodox Christianity. In this part, Met. Hilarion has written eight chapters on the Orthodox understanding of Christ, His actions, and what it means for us.
He opens this chapter by explaining that while “salvation” has become the preferred word for the goal of mankind, it has lost an important part of the Orthodox meaning of deification. More than only being saved from something, we are saved for something: to recapture our complete union with Christ, which was lost in the Fall. This is what it means to be made in the image of God.
By the time of the first Nicene Council (AD 325), the Orthodox understanding of deification was well established. “We too become sons, not as he in nature and truth, but according to the grace of him that calleth,” was a phrase used by Athanasius.
In the ensuing centuries, the understanding of deification was expanded by Gregory to directly link Christ’s incarnation with mankind’s deification. Symeon added that deification is a process that is unending.
With this understanding of deification, Met. Hilarion closes the door on the section on Christ, which allows him to begin next a six-chapter series on The Church.
If you were not able to make it to your assigned Stewardship Visit, there are two make-up Sundays left—on November 4th and November 11. However, we need all the Commitment Cards to be turned in by Sunday, November 18th. Filling out the Commitment Cards is an important part of life in our parish, because that is how we officially become members of the parish. That membership makes it possible for us to receive the weekly newsletter and get the annual password for the member section of the website; it also gives us the privilege of voting each year at the Annual Community Meeting in February. The cards also provide our Finance Committee with crucial data in regards to our budgeting process, so we need to be sure and fill it out as accurately as possible.
The Nativity Fast begins on Thursday, November 15. That may seem like a ways off, but it will be here before we know it, so we need to start planning now in order to take full advantage of all that the season will offer. This Fast is divided into two periods: The first is November 15th through December 19th when the traditional fasting discipline (no meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fish, wine, and olive oil) is observed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with a blessing for wine and olive oil (some also permit fish) on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and for fish, wine, and olive oil on Saturdays and Sundays. The second is the period of the Forefeast, December 20th through 24th, when the traditional fasting discipline is observed Monday through Friday, with a blessing for wine and olive oil on Saturday and Sunday. If you need to modify the fast in any way, now is the time to make those arrangements with your spiritual father.
During the Nativity Fast, we will be offering the Nativity Paraclesis each Wednesday evening at 7pm. The service lasts about 45 minutes, so, by Orthodox standards, it’s really brief. Because of the way the Liturgical Calendar works out this year, we will only be offering the service four times during the fast, but there’s no reason why each of us cannot participate in at least one of those services before December 25. If we do, our celebration of Nativity and the Circumcision and the Presentation and Theophany will be that much more profound.
Our Moment of Grace and Courtesy
When you approach the chalice to receive the holy gifts, please get as close to the priest or deacon as you can. The cloth should be well under your chin, and the priest or deacon should not have to extend their arm in order to place the gifts in your mouth; this will help prevent the gifts from being spilled.
If you are worried that you might forget to bring your Commitment Card with you the next time you’re up at the parish, you can always send that information to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daylight Savings Time ends this coming weekend, so before you go to bed on Saturday night, be sure to set your clocks back one hour.
An unworthy priest,