Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff and I was told, “Come and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count those who are worshiping in it. But exclude the outer court of the temple; do not measure it, for it has been handed over to the Gentiles, who will trample the holy city for forty-two months. I will commission my two witnesses to prophesy for those twelve hundred and sixty days, wearing sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out of their mouths and devours their enemies. In this way, anyone wanting to harm them is sure to be slain. They have the power to close up the sky so that no rain can fall during the time of their prophesying. They also have power to turn water into blood and to afflict the earth with any plague as often as they wish. When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the abyss will wage war against them and conquer them and kill them. Their corpses will lie in the main street of the great city, which has the symbolic names “Sodom” and “Egypt,” where indeed their Lord was crucified. Those from every people, tribe, tongue, and nation will gaze on their corpses for three and a half days, and they will not allow their corpses to be buried. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and be glad and exchange gifts because these two prophets tormented the inhabitants of the earth. But after the three and a half days, a breath of life from God entered them. When they stood on their feet, great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, “Come up here.” So they went up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies looked on.
And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink.” Jesus answered them, “Can you make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.” And he also told them a parable. “No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one. Otherwise, he will tear the new and the piece from it will not match the old cloak. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined. Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins. (And) no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.'”
Prayer of the Faithful, vol. III
Praise, glory and honor to the One who is eternally merciful
and ever pours out his goodness.
Of his own free will he became incarnate for sinners;
he said: “I have not come to call the just, but the sinners and evildoers.”
We beg that his kindness may deliver us
and his goodness heal our wounds.
Then we shall praise, glorify and adore him, the Father and the Holy Spirit this evening,
and all the days of our lives,
now and forever.
Saints of the Day: Saint Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226, Italian mystic, founder of the Order of Friars Minor, attempted to bring peace to the Crusader – Saracen wars in the Holy Land, recieved the stigmata on Mt. Alvernia, canonized in 1228 by Pope Grepory IX.
Saint Ammon the Great, c.286-c.348 died in Scetis, Egypt. A wealthy married layman who along with his wife decided to live as brother and sister for 18 years and then both entered religious life. He lived as a monk in the Egyptian desert and attracted over 4,000 spiritual students.
The brothers praised a monk before Abba Anthony the monk came to see him, Anthony wanted to know how he would bear insults; and seeing that he could not bear them at all, he said to him, ‘You are like a village magnificently decorated on the outside but destroyed from within by robbers.’
Abba Anthony said also, ‘He who wishes to live in solitude in the desert is delivered from three conflicts: hearing, speech, and sight; there is only one conflict for him and that is with fornication.’
Abba Daniel said, ‘The body prospers in the measure in which the soul is weakened, and the soul prospers in the measure in which the body is weakened.’
Abba Elias said, ‘An old man was living in a temple and the demons came to say to him, “Leave this place which belongs to us,” and the old man said, “No place belongs to you.” Then they began to scatter his palm leaves about, one by one, and the old man went on gathering them together with perseverance. A little later the devil took his hand and pulled him to the door. When the old man reached the door, he seized the lintel with the other hand crying out, “Jesus, save me.” Immediately the devil fled away. Then the old man began to weep. Then the Lord said to him, “Why are you weeping?” and the old man said, “Because, the devils have dared to seize a man and treat him like this.’ The Lord said to him, “You had been careless. As soon as you turned to me again, you see I was beside you.” I say this, because it is necessary to take great pains, and anyone who does not do so, cannot come to his God. For He himself was crucified for our sake.
Abba Epiphanius said, ‘The acquisition of Christian books is necessary for those who can use them. For the mere sight of these books renders us less inclined to sin, and incites us to believe more firmly in righteousness.’
He also said, ‘Reading the Scriptures is a great safeguard against sin.’
Abba Hyperechius said, ‘It was through whispering that the serpent drove Eve out of Paradise, so he who speaks against his neighbor will be the serpent, for he corrupts the soul of him who listens to him and he does not save his own soul.’
Abba Or said to his disciple Paul, ‘Be careful never to let an irrelevant word come into this cell.’
One of the Fathers used to tell of a certain Abba Paul, from Lower Egypt, who lived in the Thebaid. He used to take various kinds of snakes in his hands and cut them through the middle. The brethren made prostration before him saying, ‘Tell us what you have done to receive this grace.’ He said, ‘Forgive me, Fathers, but if someone has obtained purity, everything is in submission to him, as it was to Adam, when he was in paradise before he transgressed the commandment.’
from, The Sayings of the Desert Fathers