Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Monastic Calling

Priest Lake in Northern Idaho

A Sixteen Year Old's Call to Monasticism

My paternal grandfather built a lakeside home during his summer vacations and weekends while I was in high school. My brother Dwayne and I spent many summer days camping in tents on that property, a newly opened area previously owned by the Idaho State Forest Service. Priest Lake was a few hours drive from my grandfather's city home in Spokane, Washington. Every moment of my grandfather's free time, was focused on that lakeside home. When he'd completed the house our whole family celebrated with a picnic near the dock where he kept his motor boat.

My very first thought of becoming a monk came to me on that property. At sixteen years of age I remember sitting on my grandfather's dock in a lawn chair reading
the classic Lutheran theological work, The Book of Concord. That part of the lake was rather remote, the perfect place for sitting in silence with my thoughts on God. I remember thinking that I would like to spend the rest of my life right there in that house, nestled in the forest on that beautiful lake.

I was aware of a Lutheran monastery, Saint Augustine's House, located in Michigan. My pastor, when hearing of my interest, dismissed it as something we Lutherans just did not do. It was a foolish Catholic idea, and certainly something that I should put out of my mind. He told me I should find a nice wife, and live my life as a Lutheran minister.

Still, every time I went to my grandfather's lakeside home I would think about how wonderful my life could be if the house were a monastery and I could live out my life in prayer and spiritual study. 

My father was a golf pro, so my brother and I grew up playing golf and living a family life that was centered around the country club. Yet my desire to become a monk and dedicate my life to God grew stronger and stronger and I'm finally living that very life I've been drawn to for most of my life.

I still think about the game of golf once in a while and how much I use to enjoy playing with my dad and my brother. We have a country club about three miles from the monastery that we drive by whenever going to town to get our mail. As much as I enjoy seeing people playing golf, I could not imagine a life
happier and more fulfilling than the one I am living. 

My grandfather and father are both long gone, and the lakeside home is no longer owned by our family, but the joy I felt during those solitary moments with God, on that dock forty nine years ago, are still with me today.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon


I've spent the past two days undergoing tests at the Poly Clinic in Seattle. Next Wednesday I will be meeting with my cardiologist and will know more by then. Meanwhile, I appreciate your continued prayerful support.


Father Moses Tying Prayer Ropes

Wednesday August 24, 2011 / August 11, 2011
11th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Dormition Fast. Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Afterfeast of the Transfiguration.

Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Euplus of Catania (304).
Martyrs Basil and Theodore of the Kiev Caves (1098).
Venerable Theodore (in monasticism Theodosius) of the Kiev Caves, prince of Ostrog (1483).

2 Corinthians 3:4-11


The Spirit, Not the Letter

4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Glory of the New Covenant
7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.

Matthew 23:29-39


29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’
31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Jesus Laments over Jerusalem
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’

1 comment:

  1. The very first words of St. Paul struck me as so particularly apropos to your situation. Meanwhile, I am grateful for your call to monasticism, and so pleased that you were able to heed it. Monasticism is the life *I* would have liked, but God, Who hears the sincere desire of the heart to serve Him, had other ideas. Hope you find a good balance between all you would like to do, and all that our Lord would like you to do!