Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Petty Clergy

Pettiness is the Enemy of Clergy

Pettiness is that sickness of the heart that can lead some clergy to constantly be on the lookout for anyone who might offend them. Ready at a moments notice, they are poised to confront the offender. Such clergy build up their low self esteem by finding someone they can look down upon, needing, as they do, to find others who are lower in status then them. Such a priest inevitably suffers from low self esteem, and his need to berate others makes him lash out at anyone he considers beneath him. Whether they be a waitress, gardener, store clerk, or a parishioner, they are fare game for these petty clergy, for they are unwilling to see anyone as their equal.

We priests need to be on guard, lest we become petty, and give fodder to those who would dismiss the Church as a medieval institution not worthy of the twenty-first century. The secular world will always ignore the good and exaggerate the bad in Christianity. When pettiness enters the life of the Church, and unimportant, non-essential things become the focus of we clergy, the damage done can be enormous. As Orthodox clergy, we must put aside all pettiness, and concentrate on the love of God, and the things of faith that are truly important. We must be open and accessible to all with whom we come in contact, that we may be vehicles for God's grace.

Within the life of the Church there is no room for pomposity or snobbery. Orthodox clergy must be open, warm, and engaging, so the love of Christ is not concealed. If we are to be true ambassadors of Christ, we must not be like the pharisees, and think of ourselves as above others, and worthy of special treatment. Rather, we must imitate our Lord Jesus Christ, Who came as a humble servant, and be willing to modestly serve others.

The priesthood is not a job, but a vocation, and one that the demons despise. Whatever insecurity a priest has is known by the demons, and they will do everything they can to exploit a vulnerable clergyman, attacking him at his weakest point. An attack upon a deacon, priest or bishop, is a direct attack on the Body of Christ, the Church. It is therefore essential that we clergy be on guard for the enemy's assault, that in knowing our weak points, we not be found vulnerable. The mission of the Church is far too important, and we must not be found standing in the way, blocking the narrow path that leads to Christ.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

P.S.: I will be giving spiritual talks in Placerville, CA., through the "Men in Black Series", starting on Thursday. I'm flying out today, so I ask that you please keep me in your holy prayers.

Wednesday February 12, 2014 / January 30, 2014
Week of the Publican and the Pharisee. Tone eight.
Fast-free Week. Fast-free

Synaxis of the Three Hierarchs: St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, and St. John Chrysostom.
Hieromartyr Hippolytus, pope of Rome, and with him Martyrs Censorinus, Sabinus, Ares, the Virgin Chryse, Martyrs Felix, Maximus, Herculianus, Venerius, Styracius, Mennas, Commodus, Hermes, Maurus, Eusebius, Rusticus, Monagrius, Amandinus, Olympius, Cyprus, Theodore the Tribune, Maximus the Presbyter, Archelaus the Deacon, and Cyriacus the Bishop, at Ostia (269).
Righteous Pelagia of Diveyevo (1884).
New Hieromartyr Vladimir priest (1933).
Martyr Stephen (1945).
Venerable Zeno the Faster of the Kiev Caves (14th c.).
Venerable Zeno, hermit of Antioch and disciple of St. Basil the Great (414).
Martyr Theophilus the New in Cyprus (784).
St. Peter, king of Bulgaria (969).
New Martyr Theodore of Mitylene (Mt. Athos) (1784) (Greek).
New Hieromartyrs Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich and Grand Duke Dmitry Konstantinovich, Eugene Poselianin (Pogozhev).
St. Adelgonda, foundress of Maubeuge (Neth.) (680).
St. Bathild, queen of France (680).
New Martyr Demetrius of Sliven (1841).

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

Hebrews 13:7-16

Concluding Religious Directions

Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.
10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Matthew 5:14-19

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Christ Fulfills the Law

17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

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