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Homily for 1/27/13 - P34 - St Nino

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  • Fr David Moser
    Luke 18:18-27 Col 3:12-16 In the life of the Equal to the Apostles, St Nino the Enlightener of Georgia, we see the words of our Lord lived out. St Nino was the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 27, 2013
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      Luke 18:18-27
      Col 3:12-16

      In the life of the Equal to the Apostles, St Nino the Enlightener of
      Georgia, we see the words of our Lord lived out. St Nino was the
      daughter of an influential and wealthy family, her father being a
      military commander and her mother the sister of the Patriarch of
      Jerusalem. She had every expectation of living her life in the ease of
      wealth, prominence and social influence. However her parents were, above
      all, God-fearing and pious. When Nino reached the age of twelve (the end
      of childhood), her parents sold all that they had in order to follow
      Christ. Her father entered monastic life in the Judean desert and there
      lived out his life serving God through prayer and ascetic labor. Her
      mother was ordained a deaconess by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and
      dedicated her life to caring for the poor, the widows and orphans
      through the ministry of the Church. St Nino, on the threshold of
      adulthood, was given into the care of a pious elder woman who instructed
      her in the life of Christ. St Nino learned of the miracles of our Lord
      and of His sufferings and of His saving passion and glorious
      Resurrection. In the course of her learning, she heard how the robe of
      our Lord which He had worn and which had been taken by the soldiers at
      His crucifixion, had ended up in the land of Georgia. A desire was born
      in her to travel to Georgia and to venerate this holy relic and so she
      began to pray to the Mother of God that she might be granted the
      opportunity to do so.

      Hearing her prayers, the Virgin Mary appeared to St Nino in a dream
      giving her not only a blessing to go to Georgia and there venerate the
      robe of the Lord, but also a commandment to go and preach the Gospel in
      that land. As a sign of her calling the Virgin gave to St Nino a cross
      made of grape vines which the saint found in her hand when she awoke.
      Preserving this token of grace from the Virgin, the saint tied the cross
      securely with her own hair. The saint then approached her uncle the
      Patriarch with her desire to preach the Gospel in this foreign and pagan
      land. Recognizing the grace of God working in her, the Patriarch gave
      her a blessing to undertake this task.

      Once again St Nino left behind everything to follow Christ and traveled
      to the land of Georgia. There she lived not in the home of wealthy
      parents, nor in the care of a powerful uncle the Patriarch, but in a hut
      under a bramble bush. Her company was not the wealthy and powerful of
      the land, but the family of a gardener who lived as poorly as she. But
      all this she did out of love for God and she fulfilled the calling of
      the Mother of God and began to proclaim the Gospel of Christ through her
      life and her words. God gave to her a great love for the Georgian people
      and seeing their blind worship of idols, she felt a great compassion for
      them and prayed fervently for them that God would save them. God heard
      her prayer and blessed her labors and through her preaching the Georgian
      people embraced the Christian faith.

      In the Gospel today, the rich young ruler came to Christ asking how he
      might acquire eternal life. Jesus, seeing that which held him back –
      that is his love for his riches – instructed him to cut off that which
      he loved more than God, that is to sell all that he had and give it to
      the poor, and then to follow Christ. St Nino, as a child, was taught
      this lesson through her parents who sold all that they had and gave
      their very lives to serve Christ. When she grew to adulthood, St Nino,
      having learned that lesson from her parents did the same thing and gave
      up every worldly thing in order to follow Christ into a far country that
      was held under the captivity of pagan idol worship and there to serve
      Him by proclaiming the Gospel.

      When we approach Christ and ask of Him, “What must I do to inherit
      eternal life” He looks at us with the same discerning spiritual eye and
      asks us to lay aside our selfish hopes and dreams and attachments to the
      things of this world. Having cut off from ourselves those things which
      bind us to the world – whether it be wealth, power, control, influence,
      love of pleasure, or the love of any worldly pursuit that becomes more
      important for us than to follow Christ – then we put on, as the Apostle
      says, the love of God as the most important element of our lives and let
      this love of God rule our lives.

      There are many things which try to claim our love in this world – the
      pursuit of pleasures, survival and preservation of a way of life,
      careers, worthy causes, social standing, fame, the love and attentions
      of another person, and a host of other things. However, there is only
      one pursuit, only one love, which will bring to us eternal life and that
      is the love of God. In order to inherit eternal life, we are called to
      forsake all other loves and to love God alone.

      The Apostle reminds us today that we are the chosen of God – He has
      chosen us – and now it is up to us to choose Him. Above all, in this
      pursuit, he tells us to “put on love which is the bond of perfection”.
      This is how we “choose God” – we choose to love Him above all else. It
      is this love of God which binds us to Him and which also binds us to one
      another in His Body, that is in the Church. Being filled with love for
      God we then can learn to be content with nothing but Him. That
      contentment fills us with the peace of God which rules in our hearts.
      This is the key to eternal life – to cut off all that binds us to this
      world and to follow Christ placing all of our trust, all of our hope and
      most importantly all of our love on Him. For us this might seem to be a
      monumental task, but we are not alone for God is with us and as our Lord
      has said, “with men this is impossible, but with God all things are
      possible.

      --
      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
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