Tuesday, January 15, 2013

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Entering into the Silence

All Orthodox Christians are aware of the importance of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, in our journey to God. These three practices are at the heart of the Great Lenten Fast. Prayer is our way of communicating with God on a daily basis, and fasting days (Wednesday and Friday) are called for throughout the Church Year. As Christians, we are also obligated to give alms to the poor, as demonstrated throughout the New Testament. Yet we often overlook the great spiritual practice of entering into the Silence as a way to discover ourselves, and deepen our experience with God's presence.

Today's technological advancements have introduced noise into our lives in ways unthinkable to the ancients. Not more than a hundred years ago, most families found silence as an everyday experience, for when the sun went down, families nestled into warm corners of their parlors, and their kitchens, often reading books, or simply watching a crackling fire. Along with this quieting down of the day, silence was part of every evening. Orthodox families were especially cognisant of the need to spend quiet time on the eve of the Sunday Liturgy, as well as great feasts of the Church, knowing that this silence served as a preparation time for receiving Christ's Body and Blood, during the celebration of the upcoming Liturgy.

Keeping silence by turning off radios and television sets, muting iPods, and turning off computers, is a splendid way of allowing everyone in the family to experience the silence that allows us to listen for the voice of God, speaking in our hearts. Refraining from conversation, music, and all forms of entertainment for just an hour or two, helps open us to an experience of God that has become foreign to most modern Americans.

Silence is the means by which we may access and deepen our relationship with God, and develop self-knowledge. Silence allows us to live more harmoniously in our world, and actually listen for the voice of God speaking to our hearts. Saint Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, placed the virtue of silence on par with the faith itself in a synodal letter from AD 400. "Monks—if they wish to be what they are called—will love silence and the catholic faith, for nothing at all is more important than these two things." This invitation into the silence is not for monks only.
With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Tuesday January 15, 2013 / January 2, 2013
33rd Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Sviatki. Fast-free

Forefeast of the Theophany.
St. Sylvester, pope of Rome (335).
Righteous Juliana of Lazarevo (1604).
Repose (1833), the second finding of relics (1991) of Venerable Seraphim, wonderworker of Sarov.
New Martyr Basil (1942).
Venerable Sylvester of the Kiev Caves (12th c.).
Hieromartyr Theogenes, bishop of Parium on the Hellespont (320).
St. Gerasimus, patriarch of Alexandria.
Venerable Theopemptos.
St. Theodota, mother of the first Sts. Cosmas and Damian (3rd c.).
Venerable Mark the Deaf.
Martyr Sergius of Caesarea in Cappadocia (301).
Martyrs Theopistos.
St. Cosmas, archbishop of Constantinople (1081).
Venerable Ammon of Tabennisi, monk (5th c.).
New Martyr George (Zorzes) the Georgian (1770) (Greek).

You can read the life of the saint in green, by click on the name.

THANK YOU, to all of you who have been able to contribute towards the support of the monastery. These difficult times of economic hardship have impacted the monastery, and those of you who have been able to donate, have been our lifeline. May God bless you for your generosity, and kindness.
With love in Christ,  
Abbot Tryphon

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

1 Peter 3:10-22

10 For
“He who would love life
And see good days,

Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips from speaking deceit.
11 Let him turn away from evil and do good;

Let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,

And His ears are open to their prayers;

But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Suffering for Right and Wrong

13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

Christ’s Suffering and Ours

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

Mark 12:18-27

The Sadducees: What About the Resurrection?

18 Then some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him; and they asked Him, saying: 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, and leaves his wife behind, and leaves no children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife; and dying, he left no offspring. 21 And the second took her, and he died; nor did he leave any offspring. And the third likewise. 22 So the seven had her and left no offspring. Last of all the woman died also. 23 Therefore, in the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be? For all seven had her as wife.”
24 Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.”
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1 comment:

  1. Hello! :-)

    Once again, you have touched on something foreign to me...in the future, could you explain/explore this concept some more, please?

    To me, where I am at the moment, it sounds like you're describing something akin to Eastern thought/religion that tells you to clear your mind and become one with the universe or clear your mind and become nothing etc. and I truly do not think that is what you mean.

    Just letting thoughts randomly flit through your mind and then giving them your attention sounds somewhat dangerous at best, too.

    Sorry to be dense, but I really am trying to understand.

    Thank you for your time reading my comment.

    - LK in Vancouver