Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Nativity Fast

Fasting is for both Body and Soul

“But as for me, when they (the demons) troubled me, I put on sackcloth. And I humbled my soul with fasting, and my prayer shall return to my bosom” (Psalm 34:13).

In order to be pleasing to the Lord, our fasting must be accompanied by mercy and kindness, and done without hypocrisy or pride. Fasting brings the passions under control by taming the body, for the body is brought under submission by fasting, gaining freedom, sobriety, purity and strength. Fasting is a good way to reign in our compulsive eating, and if accompanied by consuming only whole, organic foods, makes us feel lighter, and clears the mind. Fasting helps us open our hearts to the will of God, for our fasting brings healing to the life of the soul.

What we put into our bodies does matter, and the periods of fasting, given to us by the Church, afford us the opportunity to rid our bodies of toxins and extra weight. Thus, an important element of fasting is the reduction of the amount of food we eat, not just the type of food. Some make the mistake of eating foods that are simply devoid of eggs, dairy, fish and meat, while replacing these food groups with soy products and other prepared foods. It is better for our overall health, and for our spiritual life, to replace non-fasting foods with beans, vegetables, soups, salads and whole whole grains.  

Finally, periods of fasting should be approached with joy. This is not about deprivation, but about renewal of body and soul. We were not created for fasting, but fasting was created for us. Since the benefits are so plentiful, we should approach all fast periods, including the Wednesday and Friday fasts, with gratitude, thanking God for the opportunity to enter more deeply into communion with Him.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Sunday December 8, 2013 / November 25, 2013
24th Sunday after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Nativity (St. Philip's Fast). Fish Allowed

Apodosis of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple.
Hieromartyr Clement, pope of Rome (101).
Hieromartyr Peter, archbishop of Alexandria (311).
New Hieromartyrs Seraphim archbishop of Smolensk, Gregory, John, Basil, Cosmas, John, Simeon, Hilarion, Iaroslav, Alexander, John, Voctor, Andrew priests and Martyr Paul (1937).
Martyr Nicholas (1938).
Venerable Peter the Silent, of Galata, Syria (429).
St Clement, Bishop of Ochrid and Enlightener of the Bulgarians.
Great-martyr Catherine of Alexandria (305) (Greek).

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,
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

Ephesians 2:14-22

Christ Our Peace

14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Christ Our Cornerstone

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Luke 13:10-17

A Spirit of Infirmity

10 Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. 12 But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” 13 And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
14 But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”
15 The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? 16 So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” 17 And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.

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