Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Role of Obedience in the Acquisition of Humility

In the Christian life there are two paths to salvation and whichever road you chose must be embraced with your whole being. The married state and monasticism both have as their primary means of aiding in your salvation the acquisition of a humble and a contrite heart. Without having attained this, there is no salvation. 

The salvific role of the institution of marriage and the monastic vocation are both based on the destruction of self-will. In marriage the husband and wife are charged with being obedient to one another. The symbolism of the crowns used in the Orthodox marriage ceremony represent the crowns of martyrdom. Death to self. The obedience a monk gives to his abbot, and the obedience to the typicon of the community the abbot gives himself over to, are also paths to the destruction of self will. The ego is the enemy, for like the tempting of Adam and Eve in the Garden, Satan uses the ego to keep us from communion with God.

When we are disobedient to our spouse or the rule of the monastery, God's grace departs from us. If you argue with your spouse or your abbot it is pride and self will that rule and you become the loser.

When you give yourself over to humble obedience, grace abounds! Each day you should begin with the prayer, " Lord Jesus Christ, help me to pass through this day without sin." The use of the Jesus Prayer throughout the day is a good way to keep yourself centered in that plea to Christ to help you through your day. "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

The crushing down of self will takes effort and struggle, for our fallen nature is all about ME and is in rebellion against God. Ascetic struggle, keeping the fasts, being strict in your observance of your prayer rule, making the services at the parish a center of your week, all contribute to your eventual triumph in your struggle for the prize, humbleness of heart.

God's grace abounds and is our ready helper. Like Saint Paul we can say that anything good we have done is Christ in us. God did not create us as robots, but gave us the freedom of choice. Choice wisely and eternal life with God is yours for eternity.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Sunday September 15, 2013 / September 2, 2013
12th Sunday after Pentecost. Tone three.
Synaxis of all saints of Nizhny Novgorod (movable holiday on the Sunday after August 26th).
Martyr Mamas of Caesarea in Cappadocia (275), and his parents, Martyrs Theodotus and Rufina (3rd c.).
Venerable John the Faster, patriarch of Constantinople (595).
Venerables Anthony (1073) and Theodosius (1074) of the Kiev Caves.
New Martyrs Barsunuphius, bishop of Kyrilov, priest John, Abbess Seraphima of Therapontov Convent, and Anatole, Nicholas, Michael and Philip (1918).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1920).
New Hieromartyrs Damascene, bishop of Starodub, priests Ephimius, John, John, Vladimir, Victor, Basil, Theodore, Peter, Stephen and Virgin-martyr Ksenia(1937).
Herman, bishop of Vyaznikov, priest Stephen and martyr Paul (1937).
Translation of the relicts (1796) of Venerable Theodosius, abbot, of Totma.
3,618 Martyrs who suffered at Nicomedia (3rd-4th c.).
"Kaluga" Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (1771).
Righteous Eleazar, son of Aaron, and Righteous Phineas.
Martyrs Aeithalas and Ammon of Thrace (Greek).
Hieu, abbess of Tadcaster (7th c.) (Celtic & British).
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

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

The Risen Christ, Faith’s Reality

15 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

Matthew 19:16-26

Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler

16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

With God All Things Are Possible

23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”
26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

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