2 THE SHEPHERD • OCTOBER 2023 • SAINT SPYRIDON GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH OF SAN DIEGO Last Sunday, Father Andrew spoke to us about taking up our cross. The Gospel tells us “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” But how do we truly go about denying our- selves and taking up our cross. After sixty years, I’m realizing that denying myself is a process, it’s a daily struggle of de- nial and relapse. To deny ourselves, we have to make choices and take actions in a Christ- like manner. We have to be humble when our ego wants to be grand; we have to for- give those we don’t want to forgive; we have to show mercy to those who don’t deserve it; and we have to love the unlovable. We have to change our perspective from me to Thee. Our worldview is slanted by our biases and perceptions. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could truly see the World through the clear eyes of God! Father Richard Rohr has said that “when we put on the eyes and mind of Christ, we have a new pair of glasses. We can look around and know that the world is filled with infinite images of God.” Imagine putting on those glasses and truly looking at and hearing those around us. Imagine overcoming the images of our mind and truly seeing God’s cre- ation. Imagine looking at your enemy and see- ing the goodness of God in them. Imagine look- ing in the mirror and seeing your True Self, the one God created, and imagine finding the strength to share that person with the World. It requires us to deny ourselves and accept the cross we have been given. We each have our own cross. Each of us has to walk our own path at our own pace based upon our own abilities. Not everyone is at the same place on the path, but we can take solace in the fact that we are walking togeth- er. It is said that salvation is a process, not an achievement. I pray we will all find the strength to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. Many Blessings, Jim Gilpin Parish Council President ...we have to forgive those we don’t want to forgive; we have to show mercy to those who don’t deserve it; and we have to love the unlovable. FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL PRESIDENT Due to individual circumstances for various members in our group, we have decided for right now that we will be meeting every oth- er week only via Zoom. Even as we survived the pandemic and aftermath and still stayed together, we felt it was really important to continue to meet, grow in the Word and faith, and support one another. Since the guideline “motto” for our WOW ministry is to become “better doers of the word and not hearers only,” our focus is al- ways on not just learning about the Bible but using it to change how we live. Since we are all at the very least somewhat experienced in our exposure to the various parts of the Holy Scriptures, though certainly in no way experts, we are at the point where as faithful Orthodox Christians, we are trying to get in the habit of following the daily Epistles and Gospels assigned by our Church. So, our focus each session will be on some piece of Scripture that we have read or heard during the week and how we are applying it to our- selves and working on realizing it in our lives. At each meeting participants will come with ideas or questions from the Sunday homily or the weekly Scripture readings to discuss. We will use the Orthodox Study Bible as our main text with its wealth of footnotes and helpful articles at the back. One of these is by the Right Rev. Joseph who writes, “the Bible is a mirror in which each person can see his own weakness without God and his need for Him. It is a spiritual tool…designed to change us. These words are doors through which to walk, so we may come to know God.” (OSB pg. 1753-4) Our hope is that as we mature in Christ, we try to become less like the overly busy and distracted Martha and more like the sister Mary, “who sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word” (Luke 10:39) that is, to practice being at Christ’s feet – listening with attentiveness and in a spirit of humility working on, as it says in the litanies of the liturgy, “to commit ourselves and one another and our whole to God.” For more information and the most recent updates on our group, you can contact (call or text) Susan Miserlis at 619-243-9864 or email susanmiserlis@gmail.com With Love in Christ, +The Women of the Word Bible Study Group WOMEN WORD OF THE What is prayer? Prayer is doxology, praise, thanksgiving, confession, supplication, and intercessions to God. Prayer is the way to re- newal and spiritual life. Prayer is aliveness to God. Prayer is strength, refreshment, and joy, a personal dialogue with God. Saint Nilus of Sinai has an important reminder for us while we pray. He is quoted for saying “During prayer, guard your memory well so that it does not present you with its own cares... your memory will bring you either thoughts of past things or recent cares, or the face of the one who has grieved you. The devil great- ly envies the person who prays, and he uses every possible trick with the intent to disturb the person’s intention to pray.” To assist with our prayer life and developing a habit of prayer, our Orthodox Christian faith has comprised selections of morning and evening prayers, prayers during the day, at mealtimes, for family and friends, con- fessional prayers and prayers to our most HolyTheotokos, the Saints, and our guardian angels. These prayers can be found in a vari- ety of prayer books stocked in the bookstore. Please take a look for: My Orthodox Prayer book, A Pocket Prayer Book, My Daily Or- thodox Prayer Book, The Psalter, The Art of Prayer, and When You Pray. There is also a selection for children to use: I Pray Today, We Pray, Goodnight Jesus, and A Child’s Guide to Prayer. May these traditional prayers help all of us Orthodox Christians continue to grow in the life of prayer; hence growing closer to our Lord. Many blessings, Stephanie Mourafetis, Mary Mastorakos, Pat Tsopanoglou, Collette Pepelis, and Fran- cesca Captain BOOKSTORE