St. Paul of Thebes, Egypt (341). St. John Calabytes (“Hut-dweller”) of Constantinople, monks (5th c.).
Monk-martyr Pansophius of Alexandria (249-251). St. Prochorus, abbot, in the Vranski Desert on the river Pchinja in Bulgaria (10th c.). St. Gabriel, founder of Lesnovo Monastery, Serbia-Bulgaria (11th c.). St. Nectarius, archbishop of Tobolsk (1667).
St. Maximus, bishop of Nola (ca. 250). St. Salome of Udjarma, and St. Perozhavra of Sivnia, Georgia (4th c.). St. Ita of Killeedy, hermitess (570). St. Maurus, disciple of St. Benedict of Nursia (584).
Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee (33rd). [II Tim.
3:10–15; Luke 18:10–14]
Yesterday the Gospel reading taught us persistence in
prayer, and now it teaches humility, or a feeling of
having no right to be heard. Do not assume that you have
the right to be heard, but approach prayer as one unworthy
of any attention, allowing yourself only the boldness
needed to open your mouth and raise up your prayer to God,
knowing the Lord’s boundless condescension toward us
poor ones. Do not even allow the thought to come to your
mind, “I did such and such—so give me such and
such.” Consider whatever you might have done as your
obligation. If you had not done it you would have been
subject to punishment, and what you did is actually
nothing deserving reward; you did not do anything special.
That Pharisee enumerated his rights to be heard, and left
the church with nothing. The harm is not that he had
actually done as he said, for indeed he should have done
it. The harm is that he presented it as something special;
whereas, having done it he should have thought no more of
it. Deliver us, O Lord, from this sin of the Pharisee! One
rarely speaks as the Pharisee in words, but in the
feelings of the heart, one is rarely unlike him. For why
is it that people pray badly? It is because they feel as
though they are just fine in the sight of God, even