Monday, June 23, 2014

Being a Christian
The Christian life requires work and effort

Every priest can tell you that he's had his share of people who don't think he understands the difficulties they face with their jobs, families, and spouses. Many people think their priest expects too much of them, and they ignore the homilies that challenge them to go deeper into their faith. They drop a check into the collection plate, and head out the door of the church for another round of spiritual nothingness.

Yet the scriptures tell us that we must seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. Being successful in business or raising the perfect child are wonderful things, but they should not be on the top of our list. Making more money than your brother-in-law, or having a better house than your neighbors should not be on your list. Working for a good retirement can be a good thing, but not at the expense of your eternal life.

The challenges given to us by the Church's priests are meant to aid us in our quest for the Kingdom of God. And if we are taking our faith seriously we will be grateful for those hard to hear homilies that hit too close to home. We seek out a golf pro in order to improve our swing, and expect him to help us be a better golfer. The trainer in the gym is expected to help us be healthier, and fitter, and our financial adviser is expected to help us make good choices in our investments, yet we ignore the advice of our parish priest, as he attempts to help us gain ground in the spiritual arena.

Our pride can keep us from deepening our spiritual life, if we refuse to seek the guidance of one more experienced in the inner life. If we don't want anyone telling us what do to or pointing out areas of our lives that need change, we can become off kilter, spiritually. The spiritual father gives direction and sets standards that, like the golf pro and weight lifting instructor, are based on experience.

Have your priest recommend some spiritual books that can inspire you to work for perfection in your spiritual life. Ask the proprietor of your parish bookstore to suggest books that would work for you. If you don't have a prayerbook, get one and use it. Create an icon corner or wall for your own personal and family devotions.

Start going to confession on a regular basis. And, whatever you do, don't allow yourself to be late for the services. Arrive from fifteen minutes to a half hour early, so as to properly prepare yourself for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. Get in the habit of attending Orthros if this service precedes the Sunday Liturgy, or attend the Vesper service, or the All Night Vigil, on Saturday night. Make an effort to immerse yourself in the life of the Church.

Remember, if we let our own ego be our spiritual guide, we will be following the direction of a fool. Living the Christian life takes effort on our part, and with the guidance of someone who really knows us, and is willing to point out where we need to change, we will begin to grow in our faith. The Christian life begins when we decide to think like a Christian, and spiritual maturation comes with work and effort, just as does emotional maturation. Spiritual maturation will fill your life with tranquility, joy and meaningfulness, but you must work for this end.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Monday June 23, 2014 / June 10, 2014
3rd Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Apostles' (Peter & Paul) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil

Hieromartyr Timothy, bishop of Prusa (362).
Finding of the relics (1609) of St. Basil, bishop of Ryazan (1295).
Synaxis of All Saints of Riazan.
St. John Maximovitch, Metropolitan of Tobolsk (1715).
Synaxis of All Saints of Siberia: St. Innocent, bishop of Irkutsk (1731); St. Macarius (Glukharev) of Altai (1847); St. Macarius (Nevsky), metropolitan of Moscow, apostle to Altai (1926); and others.
New Hieromartyr Nicholas, Basil priests and Martyr Paul (1918).
New Hieromartyr Timothy priest (1940).
Venerable Silvanus of the Far Caves in Kiev (14th c.).
Martyr Alexander and Virgin-martyr Antonina at Constantinople (313).
Venerable Theophanes, monk, of Antioch (363), and St. Pansemne, the former harlot of Antioch.
St. Bassian, bishop of Lodi in Lombardy (409).
St. Paul, metropolitan of Tobolsk (1770).
Hieromartyr Metrophanes, the first Chinese priest, and the Chinese New Martyrs of the Boxer Uprising, at Peking and other places in 1900.
Martyr Neaniscus the Wise of Alexandria (Greek).
St. Canides, monk, of Cappadocia (460) (Greek).
St. Apollo, bishop (Greek).
St. Alexius of Bithynia, bishop (Greek).
St. Asterius, bishop of Petra (4th c.).

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

Romans 7:1-13

Freed from the Law

7 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

Sin’s Advantage in the Law

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Law Cannot Save from Sin

13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.

Matthew 9:36-10:8

36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

The Twelve Apostles

10 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

Sending Out the Twelve

These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

I invite my readers to listen to my Ancient Faith Radio podcasts:

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

Abbot Tryphon's email address:

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