|A cargo ship sails north of Vashon Island|
The Danger of Prideful Self-assuranceThere is a minefield many do not notice, one that masquerades as the spiritual life. Academic theology, although it can be used in service to the Church, has also been the spiritual destruction of many. True theology comes from the mastery of prayer, and is not associated with academic pursuits. When theology becomes our philosophy we are no different than the pagans, and we give birth to pride, and self-assurance can become the minefield that brings about the destruction of our soul.
The true theologian is one who, through mastery of prayer, and the cultivation of humility, finds God noeticly, in the heart. “The devil does not hunt after those who are lost; he hunts after those who are aware, those who are close to God. He takes from them trust in God and begins to afflict them with self-assurance, logic, thinking, criticism. Therefore we should not trust our logical minds. Never believe your thoughts (Elder Paisios of Mount Athos)."
Like the academic theologian, a monk who thinks himself an authority on the monastic life, but who has not lived in obedience to an elder, knows nothing of monasticism. For it can not be studied from afar, but must be lived out in community, under obedience.
The acquisition of a humble and contrite heart are both at the heart of Orthodox monasticism and theology, without which one can know nothing. Saint John Chrysostom said in warning to those who would seek out the things of God without humility, "The path to hell is paved with the skulls of priests." No one, perhaps especially the clergy, are immune to the temptation to think they know the things of God, when in fact they know only the pride that has taken root in the academic pursuit of God. We must all guard our hearts, ripping away all traces of pride, for only then will we become true theologians. Theology without God, is but philosophy. Monasticism without ascetic struggle and obedience, is nothing but an alternative lifestyle.
With love in Christ,
|Dusk is almost upon us.|
Friday May 11, 2012 / April 28, 2012
Fourth Week of Pascha. Tone three.
Fast. Fish Allowed
Fast. Fish Allowed
Martyrs Dada, Maximus, and Quintilian at Dorostolum (286).
Virgin-martyr Anna (1938).
St. Cyril, bishop of Turov (1183).
Martyrs Zeno, Eusebius, Neon, and Vitalis, who were converted by Apostles Jason and Sosipater.
Venerable Auxibius, bishop of Soli in Cyprus (102).
Venerable Cyriacus, abbot of Kargopol (Vologda) (1462).
Venerable Cronan, abbot of Roscrea, Ireland (7th c.) (Celtic & British).
Martyr John of Romania (Greek).
Nine Martyrs of Cyzicus. (Greek).
Miracle at Carthage (Greek).
Martyr Tibald of Pannonia (304).
You can read the life of the saint in green, by click on the name.
With love and blessings,
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
The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
Peter Defends God’s Grace
11 Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, 3 saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”
4 But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me. 6 When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.’ 9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’ 10 Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven.
Jesus Predicts His Departure
21 Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”
22 So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”
23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
25 Then they said to Him, “Who are You?”
And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. 26 I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.”
27 They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.
28 Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” 30 As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.
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