Obedience is a central theme throughout the history of salvation. Without obedience to God's commandments, there can be no salvation, for the nous (the eye of the soul) must be healed before we can be made whole. The role of obedience is so central, in fact, that submission to God's will must take place before the healing process can begin.
Obedience has often been misunderstood, for many associate submission as a sort of enslavement. For many, obedience is a relic of the past, when people had to bow before kings. Some parents even treat their children as though they were simply little friends, for fear obedience might stifle their child's creativity.
Children raised by permissive parents often feel unloved, for they interpret leniency as a sign their parent doesn't care. They sense a parent who really loves their child, would be willing to set boundaries as a way of protecting and nurturing the child.
Age and experience gives the parent an advantage, for it equips them with the needed tools to guide and protect their child. Experience is the factor that lets the parent know it is never a good idea to leave church attendance up to the child, for just as one would ever think of asking a child if an education would be something they'd be interesting in pursuing, so the parent is willing to make the decision that church attendance is needed as a way of forming them into an adulthood with a spiritual grounding that will serve them well. Love is the root of a good parent's expectation of obedience from their child.
Obedience also plays a role in our spiritual development, and our willingness to seek out spiritual guidance, and in turn, try to follow the direction we are given. The husband and wife who are obedient to one another, find true freedom in their mutual submission, for in surrendering their self will, they open themselves to the Grace of God, and healing of the nous can take place.
The obedience of a monk to his abbot, and to the rule of the brotherhood, also leads to a freedom that can not be enjoyed when he wallows in self will. Likewise, the obedience one gives to his bishop, is ultimately liberating, for in surrendering himself in obedience, the priest gives himself over to God's will. The lives of monastic saints are filled with stories of persecution by bishops, but the monk who humbly embraces this suffering, is made holy, for holiness does not come without suffering, and ascetic struggle.
The bishop, abbot, husband, or parent, whose position is God ordained, must rule with love. Intimidation or coercion, has no place in the life of any Christian, and the husband, priest, abbot, or bishop, who rules without paternal love, betrays the love of Christ, Whose example we are called to emulate. The preeminence of love is the core of our Christian faith, and the foundation stone of our relationship with Christ. Without love, Christianity is simply philosophy.
With love in Christ,
Saturday October 12, 2013 / September 29, 2013
16th Week after Pentecost. Tone six.
Venerable Cyriacus the Hermit of Palestine (556).
New Hieromartyr John, archbishop of Riga in Latvia (1934).
Martyrs Dada, Gabdelas, and Casdoe (Casdoa) of Persia (4th c.).
Venerable Theophanes the Merciful of Gaza.
Holy Martyr Gudelia of Persia (4th c.).
Venerable Cyprian, abbot, of Ustiug (Vologda) (1276).
The Eighty Holy Martyrs of Byzantium (4th c.).
Martyrs Tryphon, Trophimus, and Dorymedon, and 150 Martyrs m Palestine (Greek).
Translation of the relics of Venerable Neophytus the Recluse of Cyprus (1214) (Greek).
St. Auxentius the Wonderworker (Greek).
New Monk-martyr Malachias of Rhodes (1500).
St. Onuphrius the Wonderworker of Garesja, Georgia (18th c.)
You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted 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,
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 10:23-28
All to the Glory of God23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.
25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; 26 for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.”
27 If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.”
Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralytic17 Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. 18 Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. 19 And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus.
20 When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
25 Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. 26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”