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Orthodox Christian Education
A ministry of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
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Consistory Office of Religious Education
Office of Religious Education-UOCofUSA
Finding our Purpose

God created us to be His People, His Church.  In fact, the Greek word for Church, Ekklesia, has "calling" as one of its root words--He calls us to be His People.  That is our primary vocation in Life, to abide in Him, and He in us.  However, many Orthodox Christians have yet to realize this calling.  

All too many of our faithful still see themselves as "coming to church" rather than as already together in Christ being the Church, and coming to assemble as the Church that we already are.  

Unfortunately, when people think of Church membership, they see themselves and their fellow faithful as members of an organization, rather than as what they truly are--members of a divine Organism (the Body of Christ).  

As a result of this lack of realization, many Churches operate more like "volunteer organizations" (i.e. fundraising organizations) than they do the Body of Christ.    

Yet we have a calling both collectively as His People and we each have an individual calling within His Body of the Faithful.  

Our collective calling is to, together, Commune with God in Sacrament and prayer, to pray for the world and to do God's work in the world, and to expand His Kingdom--His Commonwealth, to make disciples of all nations, and to share the Good News of Salvation in Christ with all.  

Each of us has to discern our individual calling(s).  What am I good at?  What am I passionate about?  Christ mentions three basic Christian duties of prayer, fasting and works of mercy in the sixth chapter of Matthew.  But the FIRST one that He mentions is the works of mercy, that we are to perform daily.  However, some are good at or passionate about one or some of these areas more than the others.  We can develop our Christian calling based on that, to do God's work daily according to our individual calling.  This can be done either through volunteering (keeping a higher paying job and giving of our time), or by giving up pursuit in a higher paying job and taking a usually lower paying job in one of these areas.  

It is important for you as a Christian to understand that your work, no matter what you do, has a spiritual dimension.  That is true even for the burger flipper or the salesperson.  Notice below that two of the works of mercy are feeding the hungry (burger flipper) and clothing the naked (retail salesperson).  Sure, your job is to sell these things, but you provide a service.  You can maybe even fit in a few other works of mercy through the day.  For example, if you see a person crying, you can either pretend you don't notice and go about your day or you can offer a word of consolation, show some concern.  You can't overdo it so that you are neglecting your duty, but remember the Movie Miracle on 34th street?  More people shopped at Macy's because Macy's put people's needs ahead of the "buck."  As a result, they trusted the retail outlet and shopped there more.           

The Seven Acts of Mercy relating to the Body. 

To feed the hungry--we may find our calling helping those who are hungry.  Parents, you may not realize it, but you are already fulfilling this commandment by working to feed your family.  You just need to add pray and daily remind yourself of the important spiritual dimension to it.  Eating is a religious act, so always add prayer to meals, making it a spiritual activity of the family, whereby their image the kingdom of God which Christ likens to eating a family meal or banquet.  

To give drink to the thirsty--we may find our calling giving drink to the thirsty.  I don't know how many times at events that churches have volunteers who provide water for free to attendees, or provide water for workers who are doing other things.

To clothe the naked--we may find our calling doing clothing drives, or helping out at a local place.  For example, at the one home for foster kids who are in between regular homes near us ("A Kid's Place"), they are always needing help with gathering and organizing clothing for the kids.  There are many organizations in which you could do this.  

To receive the traveler--maybe you work in a hotel.  You can show Christ-like love by being especially kind and helpful to those in need. Especially those who are in wheelchairs, those who are elderly, etc.  Doing that with a simple "God bless you" may be your individual calling.  Maybe you are a realtor.  Don't try to upsell a family that needs a place to live and is already at their max, but genuinely help, and genuinely pray for them while they are looking for a house so that God will guide their decision.    

To visit the sick--You may already work in health care, but you can add to it a spiritual dimension.  Say the prayer for the beginning of the day every day before going to work.  That of itself will add a spiritual dimension to your work (and let you be aware that your work already has a spiritual dimension that is easy to overlook or forget about in the "chore" of the day).  Some people that you may be treating are scared and maybe even feel lost.  You can offer to pray with them.  Whether you pray with them or not, pray for them.  Get their first names, and how they are sick, and pray for them when on a break or when you get off work or even in the evening once you get home.  

To visit the imprisoned--This often takes a special calling.  But this could be fulfilled, for example, if you see someone is wronged or hurt, to wait around for the police and give your witness to what happened.  

To bury the dead--This involves helping people when a loved one passes.  Normally this is the worst time for them to be handling funeral arrangements.  Make things easier for them--help them bury the dead by maybe making food for them or things of this nature.  

 

The Seven Spiritual Acts of Mercy

To admonish sinners--This is difficult in an era where, if you correct someone, you are often told to mind your own business.  But we are called to intervene when a person, for example, is destroying themselves with substance abuse.  We need to take courage and do the right thing in service to God for our fellow human.    

To instruct the ignorant--We often assume that people know basic things, including about faith.  This is a bad assumption.  Many people don't even know basics about God, life, etc.  We need to take the time and instruct them.  If you have children, you can do this by learning more about your Faith and discussing it with them.  For younger children, read a children's picture bible with them daily, even if only a little bit (better yet, have them read it).   

To counsel the doubtful--This means making an effort to learn enough about faith and the intricacies of life to help those who are doubtful either in themselves, or in their vocation, or in the station in life, or in their faith in God.  

To pray to the Lord for the salvation of your neighbor--This is among the most important duties that we have, to ourselves draw closer to Christ in prayer by also praying for the salvation of others, including enemies.  

To comfort the sorrowful--We can do this in just about any job.  We don't need to go looking for people who are sorrowful for loss of loved ones, loss of a job, a rift in a relationship, etc.  You don't need to have witty answers for their trouble.  You just need to be there and listen, let them know someone is there for them.  It is known as the ministry of presence.  When you can, pray with them, and otherwise, say a prayer for them.  Write a note to pray for a person you encounter on the note section of your phone, and check it every night. 

To bear wrongs patiently--This is difficult for many people.  But it is what we are called to do.  If someone wrongly accuses us or treats us wrongly at work or otherwise, there could be numerous reasons for it.  We need to give some people the benefit of the doubt, because they could be having major problems in their private life that you know nothing about, and without knowing it are redirecting the frustration to others.  It is your job to help them through it, whether you like it or not.  You are the child of God--God is on the side of right, but he wants these people to be saved also.  Remember the Bible stories such as in the book of Acts where the disciples were released from prison but they did not leave the cell because the jailor was going to kill himself and they knew the only way that he wouldn't was for them to stay.      

To forgive all injuries--Christ says if we don't forgive others their trespasses, neither will our heavenly Father forgive our tresspasses.  It is that simple.  

 

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Scripture Readings

Julian Readings

CLICK HERE FOR JULIAN READINGS

*Note, the audio readings above are provided by Ancient Faith Radio and provides readings based on the Revised Orthodox Julian Calendar, because a majority of Orthodox jurisdictions are on the Revised Julian Calendar, as are the large majority of Orthodox in America.  While most of the year the daily readings are the same for the Julian and Revised Julian Calendar, there is a portion of the calendar where they differ.  For this reason, we here provide the readings for days when they differ. 

Saint of the Day

Julian Saint of the Day

The above audio readings are provided by AFR and are based on the Orthodox Revised Julian Calendar because a majority of Orthodox jurisdictions (and the largest three in the US) follow the RJC.  There are no audio readings based on the old Julian reckoning of the Menaion. 

CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF JULIAN SAINTS OF THE DAY

The Orthodox Calendars (both Julian and Revised Julian) are both the same with regard to the Octoechos, the Lenten Triodion, the Pentecostorian (Flowery Triodion).  The only difference is that observation of the Menaion (currently 13 days apart) and "shifts" that occur with regard to the Menaion (such as Lucan jump, and when major feasts fall on a particular day).

   

Faith Encouraged Daily