Suggested Activity: “Practicing Gratitude”

Suggested Activity: “Practicing Gratitude”

We are called to be grateful in two ways: towards God and towards our fellow human beings. If practice makes perfect, however, then we need to practice gratitude in order to achieve this calling from God.

Here are two ways to practice gratitude this month:

  1. Read “This Was From Me” a letter from the perspective of God written St. Seraphim of Vyritsa to one of his spiritual children. Pretending as if God wrote a similar letter to you, write a letter of gratitude in response to God thanking him for the things that are from Him in your life.

Have you ever thought that all what concerns you, concerns Me too?
For what concerns you, concerns the apple of My eye.
You are precious in My sight, of great value, and I have loved you,
and so it is a great joy for Me to educate you.
When temptations rise up against you,
when the enemy surges against you like the rough sea, I want you to know that –

This was from Me.

I want you to know that in your weakness,
you need My strength, and that your safety lies in allowing Me to defend you.
Have you ever found yourself in difficult straits,
among people who did not understand you, who did not care about what you liked, who alienated you? –

This was for Me.

I am your God, your entire life is in My hands.
It was no accident that you found yourself in that specific place;
it was the very place I had appointed for you.
Did you not ask that I teach you humility?
Thus, I set you into that very place,
in the school where that lesson could be learned.
Those around you, those living with you,
are merely acting according to My will.
Do you struggle with money, is it difficult for you to make ends meet,
then know that –

This was from Me.

For I put money at your disposal, and I want you to run to Me,
and to know that you depend upon Me.
Bear in mind that My reserves are inexhaustible
and rest assure that I faithfully keep My promises.
May you never be told these words in your time of need:
«Do not believe in your Lord God».
Have you ever spent one night in sorrow?
Are you parted from those who are close and dear to your heart?
I allowed it so that you may turn to Me to find eternal comfort.
Have you been betrayed by your friend, or by someone you opened your heart to –

This was from Me.

I allowed that you be touched by that disappointment,
so that you may recognize that the Lord is your truest friend.
I want you to bring all your cares to Me and talk to Me about everything.
Have you ever been slandered, then leave it to Me and allow your soul to cling closer to Me,
your refuge, your shelter from disputing tongues.
I will bring out your truth like a bright light and your fate like noonday.
Have your plans come to naught, is your heart weary and grown tired –

This was from Me.

You had made your own plans, you had your own intentions,
and you brought them before Me seeking for My blessing.
However, I want you to allow Me to decide and order the circumstances of your life,
for you are merely an instrument and not an active participant.
Unexpected failures in life have come to you and despondency has taken hold of your heart, know –

This was from Me.

For it is through this weariness of your spirit
that I am testing the strength of your faith to My promises
and the fervency of your prayer for those close to you.
Was it not you who entrusted your cares for them to My providential love?
Was it not you who still entrusts them to the Protection of My Most-pure Mother?
Has a serious illness befallen you, either passing or incurable, and have you been bedridden –

This was from Me.

For I want you to know Me even more deeply through your bodily infirmities
and not to grouch because of this trial sent down to you,
and not to strive to comprehend My plans for the salvation of human souls in diverse ways,
but to bow your head without complaining and submit to My goodness for you.
If you have ever dreamed of doing some special work for Me,
and instead of that you found yourself lied down on the bed of illness and weakness –

This was from Me.

For then you would have been preoccupied with your affairs,
and I would not have been able to draw your thoughts to Me,
but I want to teach you My deepest thoughts and lessons, so that you may be in My service.
I want you to comprehend that you are nothing without Me.
Some of My best children are those who are cut off from active work,
so that they may learn to use the weapon of ceaseless prayer. –

This was from Me.

If, unexpectedly, you are called to take on a difficult and responsible position,
put your trust in Me.
I entrust you with these difficulties, and for them,
your Lord God will bless you in everything you do,
wherever you go; in everything, your Lord will be your Director and Instructor.
On this day, My child, I placed the container of The Holy Oil. Make free use of it.
Always remember that every difficulty that arises, every word that offends you,
every vanity and condemnation,
every obstacle in doing your job that could evoke disappointment, disillusion, disenchantment,
every manifestation of weakness and impotence will be anointed with this oil. –

This was from Me.

Remember that every obstacle is a Divine instruction, and therefore,
instill in your heart the words I have told you today –

This was from Me.

Keep these words in your mind and always remember them,
wherever you may go.
The pain of every sting you endure will be blunted if you will learn to see Me in everything.
Everything has been sent to you by Me for the perfection of your soul –

All these were from Me.

This Was From Me – St. Seraphim of Vyritsa
  1. Every Saturday evening, before receiving the Eucharist on Sunday morning, think of a person in your life who you do not often thank for their impact in your life, OR think of a person who you feel the opposite of gratitude to. Send them a text or give them a quick call to thank them for something from them that you often take for granted or do not notice.
Suggested Activity: Food Pantry

Suggested Activity: Food Pantry

…for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;  I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?

Matthew 25:35-37

The Christian life requires us to care for all of those around us and serve their needs. With the drastic costs of college tuition, many students are dealing with food insecurity on college campuses. Many of our own classmates might not know where their next meal is coming from. Because of this, there is a wonderful opportunity for your OCF chapter to be the Church on your campus and to serve the needs of your fellow students! Because of our love for the Lord and his caring for the needs of all, we can take on the needs of those around us and dedicate ourselves to serving them. 

Here are three ways to serve those in need on your campus:

  1. Volunteer at an already established center for feeding the students on your campus or in your city. A quick Google search will bring up loads of initiatives connected with your university.
  2. Start a collection drive and donate the food items needed by your local food pantry. Your chapter can collect things from its own students, from the city around your campus, or from your parishes in order to sustainably donate to your local organization. 
  3. Consider partnering with other groups on campus to begin a food pantry for students at your school! In this PDF made up by the College & University Food Bank Alliance, you’ll find a plethora of resources and guides to help your chapter begin this initiative on your campus.

Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Matthew 25:41
Small Acts of Service: Building Christ-Centered Habits

Small Acts of Service: Building Christ-Centered Habits

This month, start building a habit of serving others by trying to do small acts of service throughout your week. Choose one small thing you could commit to doing at least once a week every week. Some suggestions we have:

  • Check in with a friend you haven’t heard from in a while.
  • Equip your car or backpack with care packages you could offer to those who are homeless in your community (Consider including: snacks, hygiene products, $5, and a small paper icon).
  • Pick up trash on campus instead of walking past it.
  • Make a point of connecting with someone who seems disconnected in a class, group project, social setting, or org meeting.
  • Do an extra chore or the chore everyone hates at your house or apartment.