This coming Sunday, August 28th, is the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, also known as the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is an important Feast of the Church and will be a big day in the life of our parish. We will be receiving catechumens into full church membership and we are expecting visitors.
The Sacrament of Confession will be available from 8:15 to 8:45 AM. Because of the Feast we will have Solemn Matins - something that happens rarely in the Western Rite. The liturgical colour will be blue. A festive Potluck Luncheon will follow the Liturgy.
THE WAY OF SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION
I am always on the lookout for helpful reading material that I can pass on to you, and I am attaching a link for you to a piece that is well worth reading. It is the transcript of a talk given my Abbot Damascene (Christensen). Abbot Damascene was a monk with Fr. Seraphim (Rose) in the early 1980s, wrote a beautiful biography of Fr. Seraphim, and is now abbot of the monastic community that Fr. Seraphim and Fr. Herman founded.
In Protestantism, salvation means simply changing God’s attitude toward you, so that you can go to heaven. God is angry with sinners (everyone), but His attitude toward you can be changed by trusting in Christ and by saying a “Sinners Prayer."
This notion was unknown in the early Church and has only been around since the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. The Apostolic Faith is much different. God is not angry with us. He loves us, pities us, and does not desire the death of a sinner, but that he should turn from his sin and live. For the Apostles and for Orthodox Christians today salvation means spiritual transformation. “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom. 12:2).
This way of spiritual transformation is called Theosis or Deification. Not that we become God, but that we enter into union with Him and become “partakers of the Divine Nature” (2 Peter 1:4). The aim of the Christian life is not to change God’s attitude toward us - He already loves us; or even to just become better people living more moral and ethical lives. The Church is not just a moral reform society. The aim of the Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit and union with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Our union with God is a continual transformation by grace into the likeness of God, which is the likeness of Christ.
Harry Boosalis of St. Tikhon’s Seminary writes: “For the Orthodox Church, salvation is more than the pardon of sins and transgressions. It is more than being justified or acquitted for offenses committed against God. According to Orthodox teaching, salvation certainly includes forgiveness and justification, but is by no means limited to them. For the Fathers of the Church, salvation is the acquisition of the Grace of the Holy Spirit. To be saved is to be sanctified and to participate in the life of God – indeed to become partakers of the Divine Nature (2 Peter 1:4).”
I hope that you will prayerfully and thoughtfully read THE WAY OF SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION. You will find it to be a blessing and a help in your spiritual walk with Christ. Here is the link:
Sunday Solemn Matins is at 9:15 AM, followed by the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM, with a Potluck Luncheon in our parish hall following the Liturgy. Everyone is always welcome at Holy Cross parish. There will be plenty of good food and warm fellowship so please be sure to invite family and friends. If you have never worshipped with us before or haven’t worshipped with us recently, I hope that you will accept my personal invitation to worship with us this Sunday and to join us for a festive potluck luncheon. We are a faithful, friendly and vibrant church and we have a place for you. See you on Sunday!
Fr. Victor Novak
Holy Cross Orthodox Church
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127