Thursday, February 7, 2013

Losing Religion
Awaiting the Invocation (click on photo to enlarge)
 Shrugging off Religion 
and Replacing it with Nothing

According to Professor Mark Silk of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., "The real dirty little secret of religiosity in America is that there are so many people for whom spiritual interest, thinking about ultimate questions, is minimal,"

Increasing numbers of people are concerned only with new cars, mortgages, entertainment, or their favorite rock band or football team, unconcerned about spiritual matters. Even people who were raised in the Church, and who regularly participated in the life of the Church, have shrugged off their obligations to God, preferring sleeping in on Sundays, or spending their leisure time in the pursuit of social engagements, or sporting events, to the fulfilling of their obligations to God. They even begin to question their faith, having withdrawn themselves from the abounding grace that had previously sustained them. They begin to question if the Church is relevant to them, or even if God really exists.

Having become their own gods, they've surrendered to a secular world view, where self fulfillment is everything, and where pride rules supreme. "When a fall has overtaken us, there pride has already pitched its tent; because a fall is an indication of pride (St. John Climacus)."

Having become minimalists in the area of religion, they slowly sink in the quagmire of secularism, and the ultimate atheism that follows. Surrendered to the hazardous behavior of absenting  from the grace filled Mysteries of Christ's Church, they sink into the mud of a life devoid of meaning, surrendering themselves to material pursuits. Ultimately they find that life hasn't been very fulfilling, and they wonder why.

In the ongoing pursuit of material and carnal pleasures, they spend countless hours in health clubs, toning their bodies in an attempt to stave off the aging process, while seeing no need to prioritizing the very pursuits that have eternal value. Finding themselves asking the question, "is that all there is", is it any wonder shrugging off religion has led to an empty feeling within, an inner nothingness?

When I was a young man I regularly went to the gym for weight lifting. A few years ago after having had a hip replaced, I decided I needed to strengthen my body in order to give support to the other hip, and fight off the arthritis that was starting to weaken my knee joints. Since I had access to the fire department's weight room (I'm their chaplain) I decided to resume weight lifting. I was surprised at how quickly my muscle tone returned, and remembered the truism that muscles have memory.

The soul is like that. Just as muscles rebuild themselves when we make the effort to exercise, so too the soul is quickly restored to health when we avail ourselves to the healing grace that abounds within the Church.

As we continue this new year, why not make a resolution to commit yourself to a reformation of your life? Commit yourself to regular church attendance, and recommit yourself to keeping the fast periods, spiritual reading, and prayer. Don't worry that you've not been attentive to your spiritual life during this past year, but focus on 2013 as the year of spiritual revival. Usher in a new year of enlightenment, where the Son of Righteousness reigns in your life, anew!

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: I had the great honor of giving the invocation for the opening session of the State of Washington Senate, on Wednesday morning. 


Thursday February 7, 2013 / January 25, 2013
36th Week after Pentecost. Tone two.

St. Gregory the Theologian, archbishop of Constantinople (389).
Venerable Anatole I (Zertsalov, the "Elder") of Optina (1894).
New Hieromartyr Vladimir, metropolitan of Kiev, proto-martyr of the communist yoke in Russia (1918).
New Martyr Abbess Margaret (Gunaronulo) of Menzelino (1918).
New Hieromartyr Peter archbishop of Voronezh (1929).
New Hieromartyr Basil bishop of Priluksk. 1930).
New Martyr Abbess Athanasia (Lepeshkin) of Zosima Hermitage (1931).
St. Stephen priest, martyr Boris (1938).
St. Moses, archbishop of Novgorod (1362).
Martyrs Felicitas of Rome and seven sons: Januarius, Felix, Philip, Silvanus, Alexander, Vitalis, and Martial (164).
Venerable Publius, ascetic of Syria (380).
Venerable Mares the Singer of Syria (430).
Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos "Assuage My Sorrow" and "Unexpected Joy.".
New Martyr Auxentius of Constantinople (1720) (Greek).
Martyr Medula and her companions (Greek).
St. Castinus, bishop of Byzantium (240) (Greek).
Venerable Demetrius Skevophylax ("Keeper of the Sacred Vessels") of Constantinople (8th c.) (Greek).
Venerable Apollo of the Thebaid, monk (4th c.) (Greek).
St. Bretanion (Vetranion), bishop of Tomis (380) (Romania).
St. Gregory of Golutvin (15th c.).
St. Dwyn, virin of Llandwyn.

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

Ephesians 4:14-19

14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

The New Man

17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

Mark 11:27-33

Jesus’ Authority Questioned

27 Then they came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to Him. 28 And they said to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority to do these things?”
29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one question; then answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things: 30 The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men? Answer Me.”
31 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘From men’”—they feared the people, for all counted John to have been a prophet indeed. 33 So they answered and said to Jesus, “We do not know.”
And Jesus answered and said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

I invite my readers to listen to my Ancient Faith Radio podcasts.

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