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December 2017 English Newsletter | Santa Verena Charity

December 2017 English Newsletter Posted December 19, 2017 by admin

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December, 2017

My Beloved the benevolent

Grace and peace wishing every goodness and blessing

It’s my pleasure to join you in welcoming the blessed month of Kiahk, the month of praise and admiration as we prepare to receive Our Lord born in Bethlehem. The church prepares us during this month through Kiahk hymns and praises as well as the readings of Sundays of Kiahk.

The readings of the Sundays of Kiahk are taken from the Gospel of our teacher St. Luke the Evangelist. The first Sunday is about the Annunciation of St. John the Baptist. The second Sunday is the Annunciation of the Birth of Christ. The third Sunday is St. Mary’s Visit to Elizabeth. The fourth Sunday is the Birth of St. John the Baptist. Among the people mentioned in gospels of the four Sundays is a righteous and holy woman, St. Elizabeth the wife of Zacharias the priest.

In the Gospel of the first Sunday, the angel says to Zachariah, “Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you are to call him John.” Lu.1:13, and toward the end of the Gospel, it mentions “Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months” Lu.1:24

In the Gospel of the second Sunday, the angel says to the Virgin Mother of Light, “Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.” Lu. 1:36

In the Gospel of the third Sunday, the story is told of the visit of the Virgin to Elizabeth, and how Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She then spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” Lu.141-44

And the Gospel of the fourth Sunday mentions Elizabeth delivering John, and her insistence that he be called John as the angel had named him.

St. Elizabeth offers us several lessons to use in our lives:

  1. The life of righteousness and repentance: the Bible testifies that Zachariah and Elizabeth, “…were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” Lu.1:6 Despite a life of righteousness that they were living, their life was not without pain or need, for the Bible says, “But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.” Lu.1:7 Zachariah and Elizabeth resorted to God to grant them children, thus the angel says to Zachariah, “Do not be afraid Zacharias, for your prayer is heard” Lu.1:13 God responded at the appropriate time to grant to Zachariah and Elizabeth a son and not just any son, but John the Baptist who is the greatest among those born of women.
  2. When Elizabeth finally got pregnant with God’s help the Bible says, “For five months remained in seclusion and said Thus the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” Lu.1:25 Amazingly, despite Elizabeth’s  feeling of shame because she was barren, when she did get pregnant, she didn’t go out to tell everyone and boast to those who were judging her that she is now pregnant, but rather, she hid herself. She wanted to provide herself and her baby with a calm and peaceful environment to grow peacefully. Therefore, when God grants us spiritual blessings we should keep to ourselves and not show it off in order to grow spiritually and not be afflicted with pride.  God chooses the way and the time to let others know about His work.
  3. God does not leave Himself without a witness: Elizabeth hid herself, but God revealed her pregnancy secret to St. Mary, so she went to serve her. The meeting between the Virgin, Elizabeth, and John the Baptist in his mother’s womb, was a beautiful spiritual meeting that the Holy Spirit worked in. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried with a loud voice, “Blessed are you among women 1:42 The Holy Spirit descended upon John the Baptist in his mother’s womb, so he leaped with joy in his mother’s womb rejoicing in the coming of the Savior in the Virgin’s womb.
  4. When John the Baptist was born, St. Elizabeth insisted that he be named John saying, “No, he shall be called John” Lu.1:60 Holding on to what she knew from Zachariah that the angel specified his name, “She will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John,” Despite the objection of the family and friends desiring to name him Zachariah, she refused and named him John as the angel had named him.

May the blessings of St. Elizabeth be with us and grant us to act like her in a life of holiness and to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and may the Lord bless all your offerings to support Santa Verena Charity Programs and fill your hearts with peace.

 

                                                                                                                                                                Metropolitan Serapion