The Web of Economic Slough and Imagined Security
Our world is going through a period of economic slough, with many families having suffered great loss. Mortgage foreclosures have displaced many from their homes, with increased numbers of children attending school, counted among the homeless, and hiding their plight from their friends. They are living in motels, or in family vans, feeling shame and despair. Husbands and fathers are feeling like total losers, unable, as they are, to find jobs to support their families. For many, this period of history, has become a repeat of the Great Depression, and they see no end in sight.
At the same time, many others are doing quite well, and upper end restaurants in many cities have no shortage of customers. Two young engineers from Russia, who work part of the year in Seattle, for the Boeing Company, told me that the restaurants in Moscow, Russia, are frequented only by the very rich, with the average person unable to ever go into a restaurant. Many Seattelites, due to very high rent prices, are forced to live with roommates, something that was not necessary when I was a young man.
As this modern tragedy unfolds, many others are doing quite well, holding down jobs in the high tech industry that pay very well. A drive through downtown Seattle (or even on Vashon Island) on any given evening, find expensive restaurants and bars packed with people. We are fast becoming a society of the haves, and the have-nots. Many people who have abundance, tend to ignore the plight of those unfortunate enough to have lost everything, perhaps fearing they may be next. They've give themselves over to the pursuit of pleasure and enjoyment, like the grasshopper of storybook fame, fiddling away, and not preparing for winter.
Having job security, and money, often leads to a sense of false security, and the person is distracted from the the real meaning of life. We were not placed on this earth to pursue pleasure, but rather, to pursue the Kingdom of God. We dare not allow ourselves to ignore the spiritual, especially if we are feeling comfortable with job security, and abundance. All this could be taken away in an instant, and we would have squandered valuable time, and finding ourselves in a state of spiritual poverty, as earthy poverty has taken a grip on us.
We must live our lives in balance, making sure that pleasure and ascetic struggle are at least lived in equal proportions, lest we lose the treasure that will be eternal, and be caught in a web from which there can no escape.
"The eyes of pigs have a natural conformation which makes them turn towards the ground and they can never look up to Heaven, so is the soul of one who lets himself be carried away by pleasure. Once the soul is allowed to slip into the slough of enjoyment, she can no longer get out again (The Wisdom of the Desert Fathers)."
Love in Christ,
Sunday April 29, 2012 / April 16, 2012
Third Sunday of Pascha: The Myrrh-bearing Women. Tone two.
Right-believing Tamara, Queen of Georgia (movable holiday on the Sunday of Myrrh-Bearing Women).
Sts. Mary and Martha, sisters of St. Lazarus (1st c.) (movable holiday on the Sunday of Myrrh-Bearing Women).
All Saints of Thessalonica (celebration on the 3rd Sunday of Pascha) (Greek).
New Hieromartyr Seraphim, archbishop of Phanarion and Neochorion (celebration on the 3rd Sunday of Pascha) (Greek).
New Monk-martyr Elias (Ardunis) of Mt. Athos and Kalamata (1688) (celebration on the 3rd Sunday of Pascha) (Greek).
New Martyr Demetrius of Peloponnesus (1803) (celebration on the 3rd Sunday of Pascha) (Greek).
Virgin-martyrs Agape, Irene, and Chionia in Illyria (304).
Martyrs Leonidas, Chariessa, Nice, Galina, Callista (Calisa), Nunechia, Basilissa, Theodora, and Irene of Corinth (250).
The Weeping Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos "Ilyin Chernigov" (1658) and "Tambov" Icon (1692).
Venerable Theodora-Bassa, princess of Novgorod (1378).
Martyr Irene of Greece.
New Martyr Michael of Smyrna (1772).
Martyrs Felix the bishop, Januarius the priest, Fortunatus and Septimus of Lycaonia (304).
St. John, blessed fool-for-Christ's sake of Verkhoturye (1701).
St. Fructuosis of Braga in Iberia.
Monk-martyr Christopher of Dionysiou, Mt. Athos, who suffered at Adrianople (1818).
You can read the life of the saint in green, by click on the name.
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
Seven Chosen to Serve
6 Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. 2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, 6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.
7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.
43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time. 45 So when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 Then he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where He was laid.
He Is Risen
16 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”
8 So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.