Saturday, September 10, 2011

How to be Whole

Embrace your material self, together with your soul

Unlike angels, who are entirely spiritual beings, God has made each of you as creatures dwelling in a material world. To be whole, you must worship God both in body and soul. This teaching is central to our Christian faith and is an affirmation of the sacramental nature of this material world.

Because of this truth icons have played a central role in Christian history, for they proclaim Jesus Christ's physical reality as God Incarnate.

Our Lord told his disciples that "he who has seen me, has seen the Father". Icons depicting the Holy Virgin show the Christ Child with bare feet, reminding us that he walked the earth among us. He (the Logos) through Whom all that is was brought into existence, condescended to take on our flesh and walk among us. He joined His divinity to our humanity, that we might become gods.

The Lord Jesus Christ was born, lived, died and rose from the dead in this material world. He broke bread with disciples, ate fish with his friends, and invited His Disciple Thomas to feel the wound in his side, after His holy resurrection. Most of the miracles He performed where in the nature of physical healings.

At the Last Judgment the Lord's words, “I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you gave me shelter, I was sick and you cared for me, I was in prison and you came to visit me”, will echo in our minds. It is through you care for others that you will be judged. It is in your demonstrated love for others that you show forth your own personal love for God. The Lord asked the question, "How can you love God Whom you've not seen, when you do not love your neighbor?"

Because of the Incarnation, your prayers must not be allowed to be centered in the head. Your use of icons while praying, keeping your eyes open that you may behold the beauty of God's creation, bring your whole nature, both body and soul, into the material world wherein you were born. This physical nature of prayer is what connects you to your true self, composed of both body and soul. This is where God reaches down to embrace you. Cutting off the physical world (eyes closed) does not bring you closer to God.

Icons are wonderful aides in our communion with God because they serve as bridges to Christ and links with the Holy Virgin and the saints. They are by no means necessary, for sitting on the top of a mountain, or walking on the seashore, eyes open, allows you to behold the beauty of God's creation, and His love for you, His child. The beauty of an icon and the glory of God's created can be windows for us into eternity.

With love in Christ,

Abbot Tryphon

The Morning Offering - Ancient Faith Radio
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Saturday September 10, 2011 / August 28, 2011

13th Week after Pentecost.
Venerable Moses the Black of Scete (400).
Uncovering of the relics of Venerable Job of Pochaev (1651).
New Martyrs Archimandrite Sergius (Zaytsev) and monks of Zilantov Monastery of Kazan (1918) hieromonks Laurecnce (Nikitin), Seraphim (Kuz'min), hierodeacon Theodosius (Alexandrov), monks Leontius (Kariagin), Stephen, brothers Gregory (Timofeev), Hylarion (Pravdin), John (Sretensky), Sergius (Galin) (1918).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1931).
New Hieromartyr Basil priest (1937).
Synaxis of the Saints of the Kiev Caves whose relics repose in the Far Cave of Venerable Theodosius. 

1 Corinthians 2:6-9

Spiritual Wisdom
 6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written:

      “ Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
      Nor have entered into the heart of man
      The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Matthew 22:15-22

The Pharisees: Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes to Caesar?

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. 17 Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”
18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? 19 Show Me the tax money.”
So they brought Him a denarius.
20 And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”
21 They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”
And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.


  1. Father Bless
    I know that you don't need this from your readers but so many times I wish I could push a like or a +1 button to give you a little encouragement for your inspiring or enlightening posts. But I suppose a simple "Thank you very much" will have to do. Thank you very much Abbot. Thank you very much.

  2. Father bless. From the isolated island of Tasmania, where a priest visits every 6 to 8 weeks, your writings nourish the soul. Thank you.