Monday, June 9, 2014

Becoming Whole

Embrace your material self,
together with your soul

Unlike angels, who are entirely spiritual beings, God has made each of you as creatures dwelling in a material world. To be whole, you must worship God both in body and soul. This teaching is central to our Christian faith and is an affirmation of the sacramental nature of this material world. Because of this truth icons have played a central role in Christian history, for they proclaim Jesus Christ's physical reality as God Incarnate.

Our Lord told his disciples that "he who has seen me, has seen the Father". Icons depicting the Holy Virgin show the Christ Child with bare feet, reminding us that he walked the earth among us. He (the Logos) through Whom all that is was brought into existence, condescended to take on our flesh and walk among us. He joined His divinity to our humanity, that we might become gods.

The Lord Jesus Christ was born, lived, died and rose from the dead in this material world. He broke bread with disciples, ate fish with his friends, and invited His Disciple Thomas to feel the wound in his side, after His holy resurrection. Most of the miracles He performed were in the nature of physical healing.

At the Last Judgment the Lord's words, “I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you gave me shelter, I was sick and you cared for me, I was in prison and you came to visit me”, will echo in our minds. It is through your care for others that you will be judged. It is in your demonstrated love for others that you show forth your own personal love for God. The Lord asked the question, "How can you love God Whom you've not seen, when you do not love your neighbor?"

Because of the Incarnation, your prayers must not be allowed to be centered in the head. Our use of icons while praying, allows us to behold the beauty of God's creation, and brings our whole nature, both body and soul, into the material world wherein we were born. This physical nature of prayer is what connects us to our true self, composed of both body and soul. This is where God reaches down to embrace you. Cutting off the physical world, with our eyes closed, does not bring us closer to God.

Icons are wonderful aides in our communion with God because they serve as bridges to Christ and links with the Holy Virgin and the saints. They are by no means necessary, for sitting on the top of a mountain, or walking on the seashore, eyes open, allows you to behold the beauty of God's creation, and His love for you, His child. The beauty of an icon and the glory of God's creation can all be windows for us into eternity.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Monday June 9, 2014 / May 27, 2014
Day Of the Holy Spirit. Tone seven.
Fast-free Week. Fast-free

"Tupichevsk" and "Cyprus" Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (movable holiday on the Day Of the Holy Spirit).
Hieromartyr Therapon, bishop of Sardis (259).
Translation of the relics (1667) of Venerable Nilus of Stolben Island (1554).
Venerable Therapontes, abbot of Byelozersk (White Lake) (1426).
Translation of the relics (1472) of Sts. Cyprian (1406), Photius (1431), and Jonah (1461), metropolitans of Kiev.
Venerable Therapontes, abbot of Monza (1597).
St. John the Russian, whose relics are on the island of Euboea (1730).
Virgin-martyr Theodora and Martyr Didymus the Soldier of Alexandria (304).
Martyr Julius the Veteran at Dorostolum, Moesia (302) (Romania).
Venerable Bede the Venerable (735) (Celtic & British).
Venerable Michael of Parekhi (8th-9th c.) (Georgia).
St. Basil of Khakhuli, son of King Bagrat III (11th c.) (Georgia).
Martyr Eusebiotus (Greek).
Martyr Alypius (Greek).
You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.

"Blogs and social networks give us new opportunities for the Christian mission...Not to be present there means to display our helplessness and lack of care for the salvation of our brothers." His Holiness Patriarch Kirill

The Scripture Readings for the Day

Ephesians 5:9-19

(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”

Walk in Wisdom

15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

Matthew 18:10-20

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.
12 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Dealing with a Sinning Brother

15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
18 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

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All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is a monastery of the Western American Diocese, under the
omophor of His Eminence Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America. The Monastery is a non-profit 501 C3 organization under IRS regulations. All donations are therefore tax deductible. We 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

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