Are you a “Cafeteria Christian”?

Paul, writing to the Church in Ephesus: 

Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him. We must stop acting like children. We must not let deceitful people trick us by their false teachings, which are like winds that toss us around from place to place.  Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head of the body. Christ holds it together and makes all of its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love. (Eph 4:11-16, CEV)

Ambrosiaster, from his fourth century commentary on Ephesians:

Considering the love of Christ by which he loved us and gave himself up for us, we should make everything subject to him as members of the body are to the head. Others, either through error or through malice, may not confess that Christ is the head of everything or that everything is created from him by the Father’s will. But we who adhere to the wholeness of faith ought nonetheless to take pains with all care and devotion that we bring no harm to this faith but rather to uphold it. We do this by remaining steadfast in this affirmation, so as to constrain the talk of depraved minds armed against the truth.

The prayer of a servant:

My Lord God, I confess that I often do not follow the teachings of the Church and I dispute my Bishop over matters that I claim to be conscience. I overlook the foundation of the Church’s teaching in Christ, in Peter and the Apostles, and in the blood of faithful martyrs and confessors. I do not live as I am taught and know in my heart to be right; I compromise so that I can pursue the things I want and avoid the sacrifice and suffering that Jesus lived with as he remained faithful to you.

Father God, grant me strength and wisdom in humility. In the light of your Spirit, help me to cooperate with your grace in rooting out the willfulness that is displeasing to you and ruinous for me.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, the sinner. Amen.

St. Sabinus & the Dangers of the Third Century A.D.

St. Sabinus

St. Sabinus

 

To call the third century A.D. merely dangerous is an incomplete statement. It was chaotic, violent, and contentious.  Imperial Rome was in chaos. The rule of law was spotty throughout the empire. Even where there was law, Christians regularly faced threats to life, limb, and reputation.

 

One such martyr was St. Sabinus, an official within the Egyptian city of Hermopolis. In 287, a persecution of Christians was launched there. (Although it happened early in the reign of the emperor Diocletian- 284-305- it is unlikely Diocletian initiated the campaign. His bile was fully released on Christians early in the fourth century.)  St Sabinus and his companions hid in a remote village. An ungrateful beggar, previously helped by the saint, revealed his hiding place for a few gold coins. Sabinus and six other Christians were captured, tortured, and then drowned in the Nile for their failure to renounce their faith.

St. Sabinus is remembered this day in the Roman Catholic Church and on Monday the 16th in the Orthodox and Melkite Greek-Catholic calendars.

Kontakion – Tone 2 

O God-bearing Sabinas, you are an unfading flower and bloom of divinity. Branch heavy-laden with fruit, fill with your gladness those who in faith honor your memory, and pray for us all unceasingly.