Wednesday, April 2, 2014


What to do when we're broken

It is only human to become despondent when we have failed in keeping to our moral, ethical and spiritual standards, succumbing, instead, to temptation. Our Orthodox Faith teaches that we must be compassionate towards others, loving, quick to forgive, exemplar in our Christian living, and always demonstrating to the world that we belong to Christ. Yet we also know we fail, most of the time, in living up to the standards of the Gospels, appearing no different than the pagans.

We look to the example of the saints, and wonder why we seem so far removed from their Christ-like example of living the Gospels. Over and over, we sink in the muck and mire of sin, becoming broken, downtrodden, and sick. In our brokenness we betray the Gospels, our own standards of behavior, and the expectations of others. We know the truth of the words, "There is none good but One, that is, God (Matthew 19:17)," because we fail, over and over, in our own seeming inability to live as we believe.

We know we have been called to holiness by Christ, and that He gives us the strength, courage, and even the ability, to live our lives out in holiness. Yet, try as we might, we find ourselves utterly failing to live the Gospels, failing in our witness before others, and letting down our friends and family, with behavior that is anything but an example of Gospel living. We are broken, bordering on despair.

Nevertheless, even as we struggle with our sins, we must remember that we were specifically created by God for participation in His Divinity. We have been called by Him, and have become a Royal people, specifically created to participate and share fully in the life of God. The key to this life in God is to be found in repentance. Even in our brokenness, we must not give in to despondency, for our Saviour is quick to forgive. When we have found ourselves falling short of the glory of God, we must turn toward this very God in repentance, knowing that He is quick to forgive.

When we are broken, despair is the enemy, and should be seen as an emotion that has come from the Evil One. Hope and forgiveness are the gifts that come from God. During those times when we have failed in our Christian vocation, we must embrace the hope that comes with a repentant heart, and see, in our brokenness, the reminder that we are to always keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge that we have a God Who is quick to forgive. Despair is the enemy of our salvation, because in despair, the Evil One would have us believe there is no hope, and therefore no salvation. In our brokenness we must turn our gaze towards our Co-Suffering Saviour, the One Who lifts us up, out of our brokenness, making us whole, and granting us forgiveness and life.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Wednesday April 2, 2014 / March 20, 2014
Fifth Week of the Great Lent. Tone seven.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

The Holy Fathers who were slain at the Monastery of St.Sabbas: Venerables John, Sergius, Patrick, and others (796).
New Hieromartyr Basil deacon (1938).
New Hieromartyr Priest Nicholas Holz of Novosiolki (Chelm and Podlasie, Poland) (1944).
Suffering of Venerable Euphrosynus of Blue-Jay Lake (Valaam) (1612).
Martyr Photina (Fatima, Svetlana) the Samaritan Woman and her sons: Martyrs Victor named Photinos, and Josiah with Anatolia, Photo, Photida, Paraskeva, Kyriakia, Domnina and Sebastian (66).
Seven Virgin-martyrs of Amisus (Samsun): Alexandra, Claudia, Euphrasia, Matrona, Juliana, Euphemia, and Theodosia (310).
St. Nicetas the Confessor, bishop of Apollonias in Bithynia (813).
New Martyr Myron of Crete (1793).
St. Martin of Braga in Iberia (580).
St. Wulfram, missionary (703) (Neth.).
St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, bishop (687) (Celtic & British).
Righteous Abel, first martyr in history of mankind.
St. Austreigiselis, bishop of Bourges (624) (Neth.).
Martyr Michael the Sabbaite, who suffered at Jerusalem (691).
St. Archil II, king of Georgia (744).
St. Herbert, hermit of Derwentwater.
Martyrs Rodion, Aquila the Eparch, Longinus, and Emmanuel (Greek).
You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.

The Scripture Readings for the Day

Isaiah 41:4-14

Who has performed and done it,
Calling the generations from the beginning?
‘I, the Lord, am the first;
And with the last I am He.’”
The coastlands saw it and feared,
The ends of the earth were afraid;
They drew near and came.
Everyone helped his neighbor,
And said to his brother,
“Be of good courage!”
So the craftsman encouraged the goldsmith;
He who smooths with the hammer inspired him who strikes the anvil,
Saying, “It is ready for the soldering”;
Then he fastened it with pegs,
That it might not totter.
“But you, Israel, are My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
The descendants of Abraham My friend.
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,
And called from its farthest regions,
And said to you,
‘You are My servant,
I have chosen you and have not cast you away:
10 Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
11 “Behold, all those who were incensed against you
Shall be ashamed and disgraced;
They shall be as nothing,
And those who strive with you shall perish.
12 You shall seek them and not find them—
Those who contended with you.
Those who war against you
Shall be as nothing,
As a nonexistent thing.
13 For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’
14 “Fear not, you worm Jacob,
You men of Israel!
I will help you,” says the Lord
And your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

Genesis 17:1-9

The Sign of the Covenant

17 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.

Proverbs 15:20-16:9

20 A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish man despises his mother.
21 Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment,
But a man of understanding walks uprightly.
22 Without counsel, plans go awry,
But in the multitude of counselors they are established.
23 A man has joy by the answer of his mouth,
And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!
24 The way of life winds upward for the wise,
That he may turn away from hell below.
25 The Lord will destroy the house of the proud,
But He will establish the boundary of the widow.
26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord,
But the words of the pure are pleasant.
27 He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house,
But he who hates bribes will live.
28 The heart of the righteous studies how to answer,
But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.
29 The Lord is far from the wicked,
But He hears the prayer of the righteous.
30 The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
And a good report makes the bones healthy.
31 The ear that hears the rebukes of life
Will abide among the wise.
32 He who disdains instruction despises his own soul,
But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.
33 The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom,
And before honor is humility.
16 The preparations of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the spirits.
Commit your works to the Lord,
And your thoughts will be established.
The Lord has made all for Himself,
Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.
Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.
In mercy and truth
Atonement is provided for iniquity;
And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.
When a man’s ways please the Lord,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Better is a little with righteousness,
Than vast revenues without justice.
A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.

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