As we continue our Lenten journey, this is a time when the Church puts much emphasis on the role of repentance. We strive to go to confession more frequently during Great Lent, just as we've increased our level of fasting, and frequency of attending the services. Holy Week is almost upon us, and as we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel announced to the Holy Virgin that she was to bear the Son of God, let us examine how we are living our lives.
There are certain sins that have become habitual, and behavior that we would like to change, but seem to repeat, even against our will. Saint Isaac the Syrian suggested that we confront these struggles head on. "If you bear your weakness constantly in mind, you will not overstep the bounds of caution." Part of the problem is that we allow our guard to be down, and we find ourselves repeating the same sins over and over. If we take Saint Isaac's suggestion, we will keep vigil, watching out for those situations that bring us into moments of temptation, where we find ourselves falling into the same sins, over and over again.
When we keep ourselves vigilant, we are able to avoid those very situations that cause us to stumble, and, with Christ's help, triumph over our sins. God's grace is sufficient to bring about the transformation of our heart, but we must cooperate. Just as a soldier enters into combat prepared, so too must we be vigilant, keeping watch for the enemy. Then, just as the Holy Virgin received the Son of God into her womb, becoming a living tabernacle of the Most High, so too will we receive Christ into our hearts.
On this Feast of the Annunciation of the Birth-giving of God today, let us remember that this Feast reflects the fullness of Christian teaching, and touches on the mystery of God within us. The Feast is a reminder that we must also give birth to God within ourselves, by cleansing and restoring our ailing human condition through the Medicine of Immortality, wherein we take Christ into our imperfect bodies. In doing so, we allow Christ to purify us from within, as He purified His Mother, when She gave birth with the whole of Her body and being. For this pure and virgin vessel, the Prototype of our salvation, brought forth in mystery God Himself as the Archetype of Perfected Man, Who guides us by Scripture, Holy Tradition, and the example of His Pure Mother, to the fullness of life. Most Holy Theotokos, save us.
With love in Christ,
Notice: In previous postings on this blog, I wrote that the monastery is not supported by the Western American Diocese, of which we are a part. This statement was incorrect, and in fact our diocese holds a special collection each year for its two main monasteries, of which All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is one, and parishes all throughout the diocese, which are often themselves extremely poor, offer what they are able on our behalf. Additionally, the diocese has in the past offered us additional financial support in cases of extreme need, and has even this year made adjustments to its collections to help bring funds to us earlier in the year. As a monastery of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, we are grateful to the diocese, and to its parishes and many faithful who contribute to our life in this way--whose small but heartfelt contributions join with those of our many other benefactors to make our life here possible.
Monday April 7, 2014 / March 25, 2014
Sixth Week of the Great Lent. Tone eight.
Great Lent. Fish Allowed
The Annunciation of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.
New Hieromartyr Tikhon, patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (1925).
Venerable Sabbas the New (1948).
Venerable Justin (Popovich) of Chelije in Serbia (1979) (Serbia).
"Annunciation" (16th c.) Icon of the Mother of God.
Martyrs Pelagia, Theodosia, and Dula of Nicomedia, who suffered under Valentinian.
Venerable Parthenius of the Kiev Caves (1855).
St. Senuphius the Wonderworker of Latomos (9th c.).
St. Nicander of Pskov (1581).
You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.
The Scripture Readings for the Day
“I will declare Your name to My brethren;13 And again:
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
“I will put My trust in Him.”And again:
“Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
Christ’s Birth Announced to Mary26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”
38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
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All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is a non-profit, 501 C3 organization, under IRS regulations. All donations are therefore tax deductible. We support ourselves through the sales of Monastery Blend Coffee, our fine line of teas, and make Monastery Jams, all sold on line, and in our gift shop. We grow as many of our fruits and vegetables as we can, tend bee hives, and raise free range chickens for our eggs. With all we do to support ourselves, receiving also offerings from our diocese and parishes, we still depend on the generosity of our friends and benefactors. You can donate to the monastery through PayPal, or by sending donations directly to the monastery's mailing address.
All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA
Abbot Tryphon's email address:firstname.lastname@example.org