Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

What is the relationship between the sacraments of the Church, and our call to an ascetic life?  At times, we tend to divorce the one from the other, assuming that the sacrament is a magic bullet, of sorts, that makes ascetical practice unnecessary, or at least minimizes the need to order our lives in that fashion.  But, St. Gregory Palamas and St. Nicholas Cabasilas - and a host of others - beg to differ.  We will talk about this extremely important aspect of our spirituality on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. 
 
1.  This coming week:  On Saturday, we will continue our class on Orthodox spirituality at 4:00 p.m., followed by Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m.    On Sunday, we will serve Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m., which will include our observance of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple.  That actually occurs tomorrow, February 2, but our observance will be transferred to Sunday.
 
On Wednesday, we will serve a molieben for the sick and the suffering at 6:00 p.m.  In connection with that, please continue to hold John (Dale) Ries and Johannah in prayer.
 
Finally -- not to freak anyone out or anything -- the Sunday after this is Zacchaeus Sunday.  Just saying...
 
2.  Commemoration of the Reposed:  On March 2 we will serve the first of the series of Soul Saturday liturgies that we associate with the Lenten period.  If you have not given me a list of names to be commemorated please do so, dividing them into Orthodox and non-Orthodox.  If you have given me your list previously, but have additional names to add let me know about that as well.
 
3.  Lenten reading:  We will revisit "The Way of A Pilgrim" during Lent this year.  We did this previously, maybe 5 years ago or so, so some of you may still have your copy from that time.  If you do still have your copy, please let me know if I do NOT need to order a book for you.  I need to place our order soon.
 
4.  House blessings:  House blessings, which includes the meaning of being a blessing to me, continue apace.  Let me know if you want to schedule one for your home.
 
5.  Change of time for Great Vespers?:  I am considering changing the time for Great Vespers to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday evenings.  Any thoughts, either pro or con?
 
I hope to see you all this weekend!
 
In Christ,
 
Fr. James