Friday, December 2, 2011

Repeat Offenders
Lecturing for World Religion Class
Repeat offenders: Habitual sins, repetitive sins.

In the Mystery of Confession we avail ourselves before the analoy stand, upon which the holy cross and the Gospel Book rest. The priest stands in as the witness, whereas in the early Church confession was done before the whole congregation of the faithful. After we have confessed before the Lord, the priest, acting in Christ's stead, and by His authority, pronounces the absolution. Thus begins the process of transformation, which leads to holiness. Regular confession is necessary if we are to triumph in our battle over sin, for only in confession do we face the reality of our fallen nature and confront the ego, seeking out God's help in conquering the passions.

Confession and Communion are bound together, for the Church asks that we confess our sins before approaching the Holy Gifts, as the Scriptures make it clear that it is dangerous to partake of Christ's Body and Blood unworthily. The priest, as witness, also helps guide the penitent, helping develop a "war plan" by which we can learn to do battle with our fallen nature and find victory over our sins. The importance of confessing before the priest is evident in that secret sins are rarely triumphed over, for we can happily travel through life dismissing our shortcomings, when no one knows.

Since all sin (even those committed in secret) is against the whole Body of Christ (the Church), confession before the representative of the Church (the priest) is all important. When we confess our sins regularly to our confessor, we are acknowledging our failings and shortcomings to someone who knows us so well that he can help guide us to true repentance, where we find victory over habitual sins that bring us down.

When we find ourselves constantly repeating the same sins, over and over, having a regular confessor is especially valuable, for he can help us focus on ways to avoid the same sins over and over. Keeping a journal of our struggles can be especially helpful, for we can begin to see patterns in our behavior that lead to habitual sins, thereby helping us to minimize the frequency of our falls.

It can be helpful if we remember that sin is that which inhibits us from becoming holy. Holiness being better understood as wholeness. When we are whole, we are as God meant us to be. We are healthy in a spiritual way, and communion with God is opened up. As people made whole, we become the very image and likeness that God intended, gaining our inheritance.

When we find ourselves struggling with the same sins over and over, it is good to remember that we have but to give ourselves over to Christ, Who promises us victory over our sins. The struggle for holiness is not about what we can do, but what Christ can do in us.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Bellevue High School, Bellevue, WA.

click on photos to enlarge

Friday December 2, 2011 / November 19, 2011

25th Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Nativity Fast. Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Prophet Obadiah (Abdias) (9th c. B.C.).
Martyr Barlaam of Caesarea in Cappadocia (304).
Venerables Barlaam and loasaph, prince of India, and St. Abenner the King, father of St. loasaph (4th c.).
St. Philaret, metropolitan of Moscow (1867).
New Hieromartyrs Porphirius (Gulevich) bishop of Simpheropol an Crimeria, Ioasaph (Udalov) bishop of Chistopol, deacon Antonius (Korzh), monk Barpholomeus (Ratnykh), priest Vladimir Pischulin, archpriest Demetrius Kiranov, priest John Bliumovich, archpriest Nicholas Mezentsev, priest Thimoty Izotov.
New Hieromartyrs Sergius, Michael, Alexandra, John, Constantine, Alexander, Ignatius, Simeon, John, John, Demetrius, Jacob, Jacob priests, New Hieromartyrs Ioasaph, Peter, Gregory, Benjamin, Gerasim, Michael, Martyr Valentine, Peter, Leonid, Thimoty (1937).
Venerable Barlaam, abbot of the Kiev Caves (1065).
Uncovering of the relics (1626) of Monk-martyr Adrian, abbot of Poshekhonye (1550).
Martyr Azes of Isauria, and with him 150 soldiers (284).
Martyr Heliodorus in Pamphylia (273).
Venerable Hilarion of Georgia, wonderworker of Thessalonica (875) (Georgia).
 "The Joy of All who Sorrow" (1863) Icon of the Mother of God.
St. Patroclus of Bourges (577) (Gaul).
St. Egbert, archbishop of York (766) (Celtic & British).
Martyr Agapius of Gaza (306).
St. Simon, wonderworker of Calabria (10th c.).
Martyrs Anthimus, Thalalaeus, Christopher, Euphemia and her children (Greek).
Martyr Pancharius (Greek).
Martyr Barlaam of Antioch (Greek).

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PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

2 Thessalonians 3:6-18

Warning Against Idleness   

6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, 9 not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.
10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. 14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.
17 The salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is a sign in every epistle; so I write.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Luke 16:15-18


15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
16 “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. 17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.
18 “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.

Luke 17:1-4

Jesus Warns of Offenses
 1 Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. 3 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

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