Monday, July 11, 2011

July 11, 2011 / June 28, 2011
5th Week after Pentecost. Tone three.
Apostles' Fast.  

By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil
Translation of the relics (412) of the Holy and Wonderworking Unmercenaries Cyrus and John (311).
Venerables Sergius and Herman (14th c.), abbots of Valaam.
New Hieromartyr Basil, deacon (1918).
Virgin-martyr Sebastiana (1938).
New Hieromartyr Gregory, deacon (1940).
Venerable Xenophon, abbot of Robeika (Novgorod) (1262).
Venerable Paul the Physician of Corinth (7th c.).
Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos "Of the Three Hands" (8th c.).
Venarable Sergius of Crete.
Venerable Moses the Anchorite.
St. Sennuphius the Standard-bearer of Egypt (4th c.).
St. Austol of Cornwall (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
Hieromartyr Donatus of Libya (Greek).
Three Martyrs of Galatia (Greek).
70 Martyrs of Scythopolis (Greek).
Martyr Pappias (Greek).
Martyr Macedonius (Greek).
Venerable Magnus, monk who reposed while praying to the Lord (Greek).
St. Sergius the Magistrate of Paphlagonia, founder of the monastery of the Mother of God called Nikitiatus in Nicomedia (9th c.) (Greek).
Martyrs Serenus, Plutarchus, Heraclides, Heron, Raiso, and others in Alexandria (202).

Words from the Abbot:


We recently had a visiting couple attend the Sunday morning Liturgy here at the monastery. From out of state and on vacation, they entered the temple shortly after the Gospel reading. Not only did they miss the beginning of the Liturgy, they were not properly dressed for entering an Orthodox temple. I assumed they were not Orthodox and was quite surprised when they approached the chalice, expecting to receive the Holy Mysteries.

The Russian Orthodox Church requires anyone who desires to receive Holy Communion to have prepared themselves with confession, the precommunion prayers and having abstained from food or drink from midnight on. Most of the world's Local Orthodox Churches hold to this standard, recognizing that the clergy, as guardians of the Mysteries, must make sure anyone who approaches the chalice is Orthodox, and properly prepared. The requirement that one be a member of the Orthodox Church before approaching the chalice  relates to the fact that communion is the outward expression of having all things in common, in faith and worship. Receiving Holy Communion is the fruit of unity.

The Holy Scriptures tell us that to receive unworthily is spiritually dangerous. We are receiving the very Body and Blood of the Saviour for the healing of both body and soul. This eating and drinking is not about a simple remembrance of a past event, but an entrance into the Heavenly Realm, where there is neither time nor space. When communing we are participating mystically in the very Banquet that is on going in heaven. In the Eucharist we have a foretaste of heavenly things. Thus, proper preparation for the reception of Christ's Body and Blood is imperative for our very salvation. To eat or drink unworthily is to put our immortal soul at risk.

Orthodoxy in North America does not have a common practice in regards to preparation. Some jurisdictions allow members to approach the chalice without having confessed, thus contributing to the abuse of the Mysteries by people who may or may not be fasting and who may never confess.

On the flip side, for those who are required to confess before communing, they can fall into the habit of going through the motions of confession without giving the priest adequate time to offer spiritual direction. When this happens, confession is no different than refraining to confession at all. We can easily run through the usual litany of sins, get absolution and start the week off without having made a heartfelt confession and having a plan to avoid the sins just confession. We must have a plan of action that will allow the Holy Spirit to transform our heart. True repentance MUST include a commitment to go and sin no more! This requires the guidance of a confessor and takes more time than simply getting in a long line prior to the service.

Love and blessings,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo of the Day:

I took this photo overlooking Quartermaster Harbor a few days ago, within a short walking distance from the monastery. The eagle in the center of the photo was perched on the branch for some time.

Scripture Readings for the Day:

Romans 12:4-5


4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

Romans 12:15-21


15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

      “ If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
      If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
      For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Matthew 12:9-13


Healing on the Sabbath

 9 Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. 10 And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him.
11 Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other.

Click photo to enlarge.

1 comment:

  1. This is a pervasive problem in our little frontier American Orthodoxy, Batiushka. Frequent Communion MUST come with frequent preparation, or what does it avail? Thankfully, it seems like ROCOR follows the rest of the world's mainstream Orthodoxy by putting common sense practices in the lives of believers preparing for Communion.

    The OCA is a mixed bag in this, I think. And this is not because they are impious or worldly. As a member of a very large OCA parish for three years, there were many many faithful who were simply doing what they knew-- confession two or three times a year, and approaching the Chalice every Liturgy. As for prayer rules, I don't know if they had any. And yet, God in His mercy was not killing them.

    There's a real kind of spiritual ignorance in many American parishes, though, especially among converts who only read modern authors and don't have discerning spiritual fathers. The consequence is only grey heads in the nave and a loss of the next generations to the spirit of the world.