Wednesday, February 15, 2012

  The Three Disciplines:  
Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving

Jesus Christ called for a thorough conversion of our heart and mind, and a complete turning away from the old man (our fallen nature). The main act that begins this conversion is metanoia, which means thorough change of mind.  This happens when we become aware that we have sinned, and that we are in need of God's forgiveness, and resolve, with His help, to submit to Him.

Sometimes we see a synonymous use of two words, penance and confession. When going to confession, a priest sometimes gives a penance, which is a spiritual discipline that can aid in our journey to God. We are given guidelines that can lead to spiritual growth, and change of heart.

These penances are often in the form disciplines that are meant to help increase the time spent in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. These three disciplines help us deepen our relationship with Christ, and aid in the Acquisition of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we are asked to do akathist hymns, where we seek the aid of saints, or the Holy Virgin, as we struggle to go deeper in our spiritual quest. We might be given extra periods of fasting, that in depriving ourselves of food, we are able to see deeper into our hearts, and, with God's help, be ridden of the dirt and grime that resides within us. Other times we might be asked to perform acts of charity, or increase our almsgiving, as a way of moving beyond ourselves, and focusing on the needs of others.

Disciplines that focus on increased prayer, fasting and almsgiving, along with immersing ourselves in the Holy Scriptures, help us in our continued quest  to live a life in total submission to Christ. These three categories of discipline aid us in the Acquisition of the Holy Spirit, and help us to live our life for Christ.

Prayer, fasting and almsgiving, are not ends in themselves, but are exercises which help in spiritual warfare against the demons who would bring us down. These disciplines are aids that help us in our attempt to repent, and to have a thorough change of mind (metanoia). And this repentance does not mean that we must feel sad, but that we strive to put off all pride and selfishness, and replace the ego with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, kindness, meekness and self control.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Vashon's north end ferry (click on photo to enlarge)

Wednesday February 15, 2012 / February 2, 2012

Week of the Prodigal Son. Tone two.
Fast. Fish Allowed
The Meeting of Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
New Hieromartyr Basil priest, Martyr Michael (1938).
St. Anthimus of Chios (1960).
New Martyr Jordan of Trebizond (1650) (Greek).
New Martyr Gabriel at Constantinople (1676) (Greek).
Martyr Agathodorus of Cappadocia (Greek).

I wish to thank those of you who have been contributing towards the principle of our mortgage ($250,000.00). For those of you who can't donate due to the depressed economy, please remember to pray for the monastery. It would be such a great blessing if we were able to retire the mortgage debt altogether.

Donations can be made directly to the monastery through PayPal, or you may send donations to:

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

Hebrews 7:7-17

Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

Need for a New Priesthood

11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. 13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar.

14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. 17 For He testifies:
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”

Luke 2:22-40

Jesus Presented in the Temple

22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

Simeon Sees God’s Salvation

25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Anna Bears Witness to the Redeemer

36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

The Family Returns to Nazareth

39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. 40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

The PodCast is always different than the blog article.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for today's blog. I think I now understand the difference between submitting to God's will and permissiveness.