Prologue entry for 02/02/23 (read on 02/15/23 on the Old Calendar)
1. The Meeting [Presentation] Of Our Lord In The Temple
The fortieth day after His birth, the All-holy Virgin brought her divine Son into the Temple of Jerusalem, in accordance with the Law, to dedicate Him to God and to purify herself (Leviticus 12:2-7; Exodus 12:2). Even though neither the one nor the other was necessary, the Lawgiver did not want in any way to transgress His own Law, which He had given through Moses, His servant and prophet. At that time, the high-priest Zacharias, the father of John the Forerunner, was serving in the Temple. Zacharias placed the Virgin, not in the temple area reserved for women, but rather in the area reserved for virgins. On this occasion two very special persons appeared in the Temple: the Elder Simeon and Anna, the daughter of Phanuel. The righteous Simeon took the Messiah in his arms and said: Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation(Luke 2:29-30). Simeon also spoke the following words about the Christ-child: Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel (Luke 2:34). Then Anna, who from her youth had served God in the Temple by fasting and prayer, recognized the Messiah and glorified God. She then proclaimed to the inhabitants of Jerusalem the coming of the long-awaited One. But the Pharisees who were present in the Temple, having seen and heard all, became angry with Zacharias because he had placed the Virgin Mary in the area reserved for virgins, and they reported this to King Herod. Convinced that this was the new king spoken of by the Magi from the East, Herod immediately sent his soldiers to kill Jesus. In the meantime, the holy family had already left the city and set out for Egypt under the guidance of an angel of God. The Feast of the Meeting of our Lord in the Temple was celebrated from earliest times, but the solemn celebration of this day was established in the year 544 A.D., during the reign of Emperor Justinian.
2. The Holy New Martyr Jordan
Born in Trebizond, Jordan was a coppersmith by trade. Because he openly defended his faith in Christ and unmasked Islam, Jordan suffered at the hands of the Turks in 1650 A.D. at Galata in Constantinople. The monk Gabriel, a canonarch of the Great Church [Hagia Sophia] in Constantinople, suffered in the same manner in the year 1672 A.D.
Hymn Of Praise
Saint Simeon The God-Receiver
When winter encountered spring,
The aged Simeon was of good fortune:
He encountered the long-awaited One
Who, by the prophets, was foretold.
The treasury of all heavenly riches
Was seen as a naked infant by Simeon.
And in this manner Simeon prophesied:
"Evening has descended upon my life;
This One is set to conquer many
And to raise many." Thus the spirit spoke—
The elder's prophecy was fulfilled:
Jesus became the measure and the standard,
The source of happiness, peace and joy,
But also the target of disputes and maliciousness.
One He lifts up, the other He overturns,
And Paradise and hades He opens to men.
Let everyone choose whatever their hearts tell them.
In Paradise with Christ! That is our heart's desire.
Speaking about the gradual spread of the celebration of Christ’s Nativity, St. John Chrysostom said: “Magnificent and noble trees, when planted in the ground, shortly attain great heights and become heavily laden with fruit; so it is with this day.” So it is also with the day of the Meeting of our Lord. From the beginning this day was commorated among Christians, but the solemn celebration began in the time of the great Emperor Justinian. During his reign, a great pestilence afflicted the people in Constantinople and its vicinity, so that five thousand or more people died daily. At the same time a terrible earthquake occurred in Antioch. Seeing man’s inability to prevent these misfortunes, the emperor, in consultation with the patriarch, ordered a period of fasting and prayer throughout the entire empire. And, on the day of the Meeting itself, he arranged great processions throughout the towns and villages, that the Lord might show compassion on His people. And truly, the Lord did show compassion, for the epidemic and earthquake ceased at once. This occurred in the year 544 A.D. From that time on, the Feast of the Meeting began to be celebrated as a great feast of the Lord. The tree, in time, grew and began to bring forth abundant fruit.
Contemplate the Lord Jesus as Health:
- As the Health of our mind, for with Him we think soundly;
- As the Health of our heart, for with Him we feel soundly;
- As the Health of our will, for with Him we act soundly;
- As the Health of the family, the Church, the school, the people and every institution.
On the guidance of the Spirit of God
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Luke 4:1). You see, brethren, what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Without the Spirit of God, man is filled with worries: Where will he go and how will he act? But with the Spirit of God, man is without those worries, for then the Spirit instructs man where he will walk and how he will act. Then man becomes sinless in his movement and actions, because the Holy Spirit, Who leads and guides him, is sinless. Man can neither walk justly nor act righteously if the Omnipotent and Omniscient Spirit of God does not inform him. Whoever is not led by the Holy Spirit of God is led either by his own individual spirit or by the evil spirit of the demon. As a result of this he becomes helpless, bitter, remorseful, angry and despondent. We cannot endure the Spirit of God in His fullness as did Christ the Lord, but we can receive the Spirit of God sufficiently in order to know “whither, what and how.” According to the purity of man’s heart, the Holy Spirit settles in his heart and from the heart directs him. That is why the Church often repeats this prayer to the Holy Spirit: “O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth … come and abide in us.”
O God, O Holy Spirit, to Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.