Monday, July 15, 2013

The Sins of Others
The monastery's cutting garden for the temple's flowers 
(click to enlarge)
We Must be Quick to be Merciful

Some people abandon themselves to sin in order to cover up their lack of self esteem. In their need for intimacy and acceptance, they seek out worldly pleasures, thinking these will fill the void that has kept them from happiness. In their desperate search for love, they are unable to form lasting friendships, and they spiral down, failing, ultimately, to achieve that which will satisfy them. Replacing carnal pleasures for true intimacy, they fall further into their brokenness. Falling ever more deeply into the abyss of the self-serving ego, they are estranged from true joy, and lasting peace.

These people are in need of mercy, and what is the Church if not the place wherein they can be healed? If we who form the Body of Christ see ourselves as inspector generals, and set upon others in order to expose their sins and shortcomings, we deprive ourselves of the grace that comes from being merciful. If we, in our pride and self-serving ego, become like the eldest brother of the prodigal son, protesting our Father's embrace of our returning lost brother, we become lost ourselves.

What are we to do when we see the sins of others, and what is to be our response? If we are to expect God's mercy, we must be quick to be merciful to others. We must be blind to their sins and shortcomings, and look only to our own brokenness. It is in reconciliation, not punishment, that we find God, and love of neighbor. We must rejoice when one among us has repented, and like the father of the prodigal son, must be quick to run forth with open embrace.

When we are brought down with the acknowledge of our own rottenness, we can begin to overlook the shortcomings of others. When we focus on God, we see not the sins of our neighbors, and we learn not to react, we learn not to resent, and we learn not to lose our inner peace.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Monday July 15, 2013 / July 2, 2013

4th Week after Pentecost. Tone two.

The Placing of the Honorable Robe of the Most Holy Theotokos at Blachernae (5th c.).
St. Photius, metropolitan of Kiev (1431).
St. Juvenal, patriarch of Jerusalem (458).
"Pozai" (17th c.), "Theodotiev" (1487) and "Akhtyr" (1739) Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos.
St. Juvenal, protomartyr of America and Alaska (1796).
Right-believing King Stephen the Great of Moldavia (1504) (Romania).
St. Monegunde of Chartres (530) (Gaul).
New Martyr Lampros of Makri (1835) (Greek).
Uncovering of the relics (2003) of New Hieromartyr Priest Sergius Florinsky of Rakvere, Estonia (1918).
Feast of the Robe of the Most Holy Theotokos (Georgia).
St. Oudoceus, bishop of Llandaff.
St. Swithun, bishop of Winchester.
You can read the life of the saint in red, by clicking on the name.

THANKS 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

The Scripture Readings for the Day

Romans 9:18-33

18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
25 As He says also in Hosea:
“I will call them My people, who were not My people,
And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
26 “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”
27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel:

“Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea,
The remnant will be saved.
28 For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness,
Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.”
29 And as Isaiah said before:
“Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, We would have become like Sodom,
And we would have been made like Gomorrah.”

Present Condition of Israel

30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:
“Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Matthew 11:2-15

And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he of whom it is written:

‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’
11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

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