Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Three Disciplines
North End Ferry from Vashon Island
Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving

Jesus Christ called for a thorough conversion of our heart and mind, and a complete turning away from the old man (our fallen nature). The main act that begins this conversion is metanoia, which means thorough change of mind. This happens when we become aware that we have sinned, and that we are in need of God's forgiveness, and resolve, with His help, to submit to Him.

Sometimes we see a synonymous use of two words, penance and confession. When going to confession, a priest sometimes gives a penance, which is a spiritual discipline that can aid in our journey to God. We are given guidelines that can lead to spiritual growth, and change of heart.

These penances are often in the form disciplines that are meant to help increase the time spent in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. These three disciplines help us deepen our relationship with Christ, and aid in the Acquisition of the Holy Spirit.

We may be asked to do akathist hymns, where we seek the aid of saints, or the Holy Virgin, as we struggle to go deeper in our spiritual quest.
The priest will give certain prayers as penance because the person needs a jump start to enter into a complete prayer life. When this happens, hinged together as it is with absolution, the medicine becomes a joyful communion with the Most High God.

We might be given extra periods of fasting, that in depriving ourselves of food, we are able to see deeper into our hearts, and, with God's help, be ridden of the dirt and grime that resides within us. Other times we might be asked to perform acts of charity, or increase our almsgiving, as a way of moving beyond ourselves, and focusing on the needs of others.

Disciplines that focus on increased prayer, fasting and almsgiving, along with immersing ourselves in the Holy Scriptures, help us in our continued quest to live a life in total submission to Christ. These three categories of discipline aid us in the Acquisition of the Holy Spirit, and help us to live our life for Christ.

Prayer, fasting and almsgiving, are not ends in themselves, but are exercises which help in spiritual warfare against the demons who would bring us down. These disciplines are aids that help us in our attempt to repent, and to have a thorough change of mind (metanoia). And this repentance does not mean that we must feel sad, but that we strive to put off all pride and selfishness, and replace the ego with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, kindness, meekness and self control.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Wednesday July 17, 2013 / July 4, 2013

4th Week after Pentecost. Tone two.
Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia: Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarit-sa Alexandra, Crown Prince Alexis, and Grand-duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia, and those martyred with them (1918).
St. Andrew, archbishop of Crete (712-726).
Venerable Martha, mother of St. Symeon Stylites the Younger (551).
Venerable Andrew (Rublev), iconographer (1430).
New Hieromartyr Hieromonk Nilus of Poltava (1918).
New Hieromartyr Demetrius priest (after 1937)
New Hieromartyrs Sava (Trlajic), Bishop of Gornji Karlovac and George of Serbia (1941).
Burial of St. Andrew, prince of Bogoliubsk (1174).
Uncovering of the relics (1507) of Venerable Euthymius the Wonderworker, archimandrite of Suzdal (1404).
Martyrs Theodotus and Theodota at Caesarea in Cappadocia (108).
Hieromartyr Theodore, bishop of Cyrene in Libya, and with him Martyrs Cyprilla, Aroa, and Lucia (310).
Icon of the Mother of Godof "Galatea".
Venerables Tikhon, Basil and Nikon Monks of Solovki.
St. Andrew the Russian of Cairo (1174).
St. Donatus of Libya, bishop (Greek).
St. Asclepias the Wonderworker (Greek).
Hieromartyr Theophilus (Greek).
St. Menignus, monk (Greek).
Hieromartyr Theodotus (Greek).
Hieromartyrs Innocent and Sabbatius and 30 others with them in Sirmium of Pannonia (304).
Translation of the relicts of St. Martin the Merciful, bishop of Tours (397).
St. Urlich of Augsburg and Bavaria (973).
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 11:2-12

God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written:

“God has given them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes that they should not see
And ears that they should not hear,
To this very day.”
And David says:
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
A stumbling block and a recompense to them.
10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see,
And bow down their back always.”

Israel’s Rejection Not Final

11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!

Matthew 11:20-26

Woe to the Impenitent Cities

20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”

Jesus Gives True Rest

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.

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