• On the Joy of God's Service [IV]

    From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Thu Feb 4 23:10:18 2021
    On the Joy of God's Service [IV]

    What return can I make for all these countless favors? If only I could
    serve You faithfully all the days of my life! If only I could render
    You worthy service, even for a single day! For You alone are worthy of
    all service, honor, and eternal praise. (Rev. 4:11) You are truly my
    God, and I Your poor servant, who am bound to serve with all my
    powers, nor should I ever weary in Your praise. This is my wish and
    desire; whatever is lacking in me, I pray you to supply.
    --Thomas à Kempis --Imitation of Christ, Bk 3 Ch 10

    February 5th – St. Theodula of Anazarbus in Cilicia

    St. Theodula lived in the city of Anazarbus (Asia Minor) during the
    reign of the Roman emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian
    (305-311). The prefect of the city, Pelagius, was very cruel. His
    servants sought out Christians throughout the entire region and
    brought them to trial, where the imperial edict was read to them, and
    they were ordered to worship idols.

    Theodula was brought before him, and Pelagius ordered that she worship
    the pagan gods, threatening her with torture if she refused. St.
    Theodula replied, “I am a Christian. My very name means ‘servant of
    God,’ and so people call me Theodula. I worship the One True God and
    will not worship a mere stone.”

    Pelagius became angry and gave orders to begin the torture. The Lord
    granted Theodula His help, and she did not feel any pain. Pelagius,
    however, said this was done by the gods, who had spared Theodula in
    the hope that she would turn to them.

    St. Theodula said to the prefect, “Where are your gods who spare me?
    Show them to me, that I might show honor to them.” They brought her
    into the temple of the “deified” Roman emperor Hadrian, whom the
    pagans regarded as a mighty god. Theodula, in praying to the One True
    God, merely blew a breath at the idol, and it crumbled into dust.
    Seeing this, Pelagius was terrified. If the idol’s destruction was
    reported to the emperor, he himself would be thrown to the wild
    beasts. He fell down at St. Theodula’s feet, begging her to restore
    the idol, and promising to accept Christianity.

    Theodula prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the idol again stood in
    its place, whole and intact. Pelagius, however, not only did not keep
    his promise to become a Christian, but instead began to torture
    Theodula with an even greater fury.

    During these torments, a man by the name of Helladius appeared before
    Pelagius, and looking at the captive, asked to be given Theodula,
    promising to make her worship the pagan gods, because he wanted to
    ingratiate himself with Pelagius and receive honors.

    Helladius subjected Theodula to harsh torments, exceeding Pelagius in
    cruelty. The saint prayed that God would grant her the ability to
    persevere. She immediately received help from God and was healed.
    Helladius was awestruck, and St. Theodula admonished him. “Become a Christian,” she said, “and attain eternal honors in the Kingdom of our
    Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall judge both the living and the dead and
    render to each man according to his deeds.”

    By her prayers and her words, St. Theodula led Helladius to the
    knowledge of the Truth. He believed in Christ and confessed the True
    God before Pelagius. He received the crown of martyrdom when they cut
    off his head with a sword and threw his body into the sea.

    St. Theodula was thrown into a blazing oven, but remained unharmed.
    After this, she was stretched out on a metal plate where boiling tar,
    wax and oil were poured on her, but the red-hot plate shattered into
    pieces, and the fire scorched many people, including Pelagius, who
    died of fright. However, St. Theodula remained unharmed.

    Seeing this miracle, many people came to believe in Christ, among whom
    were Macarius and Evagrius. The pagans continued to torture the
    Christian through the heating of an oven. They threw Sts. Theodula,
    Macarius, Evagrius and many others who believed in Christ into it.
    They all suffered martyrdom, and were translated into life immortal.

    Troparion (Tone 4) –

    Your holy martyr Theodula, O Lord,
    Through her sufferings has received an
    incorruptible crown from You, our God.
    For having Your strength, she laid low her adversaries,
    And shattered the powerless boldness of demons.
    Through her intercessions, save our souls!

    Saint Quote:
    Disengage thyself a while from earthly care, and give thyself for a
    time to think of God, and to repose a little in Him. Then, having
    closed the door of thy senses, say with the affection of thy soul: O
    Lord, behold I am in quest of Thy lovely Countenance; teach Thy poor
    servant how to find it.
    --St. Augustine

    Bible Quote:
    "Jesus answered: Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again
    of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God"
    (John 3:5)


    Eternal Father,
    we offer Thee the precious Blood of Jesus,
    shed for us through exceeding love,
    and with exceeding pain
    from the wound of His right hand;
    through the merits and virtues of which,
    we beseech Thy divine Majesty
    to bestow on us Thy sacred benediction,
    that by its efficacy
    we may be protected from our enemies,
    and delivered from every evil.
    For this purpose we say:
    May the blessing of Almighty God,
    Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
    descend upon us,
    and remain always with us. Amen.

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