Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Christian Friendships

The necessity of Christian friendships

In this age where secularism is on the rise, and materialism has become a major distraction from spiritual pursuits, Christian friendship has never been more important. The pursuit of personal fulfillment, entertainment, worldly pleasure, and the acquisition of material goods, has become the dominant theme of our age. Families that once placed the life of the Church as the center of their week, have drifted away from God. Having made idols of worldly pleasures and pursuits, their family life has become focused on transitory goals, leaving them in a state of spiritual bankruptcy. Parents who once brought their children to the temple, having lost their own way, watch those children stray far from faith.

Centered on worldly pursuits, we've allowed our spiritual life to be displaced by things that are transitory in nature, no longer thinking on the things of God. Our spiritual illness has infected our youth like a virus, leaving them with little to sustain them, when times get tough. The economic, political, and social instability of our age demands that we be spiritually fit, yet we give our youth virtually nothing that will help them through the hardships ahead. The terrible storms that have destroyed whole towns in the Midwest, appear to be just the beginning of what many scientists see as our future, yet we continue on a path that remains focused on material gain, and personal fulfillment. Hardly the elements that can sustain the human heart during disasters, or terrible personal loss.

The life of a Christian has never been easy, but in an age that is proving to be hostile towards the things of God, Christian friendship is all the more important. We need each other. We need the encouragement that Christian friendship can give us, as we face a world that has rejected Christ. The unity we have when we receive the Body and Blood of the Saviour, during each and every celebration of the Divine Liturgy, gives us strength to withstand whatever may be coming. When all else has failed, and our culture, economy, and material world has fallen into ruin, only faith will have the power to sustain us.

It is only our faith, supported and strengthened by our fellowship in Christ, that will have the lasting power to keep us from falling into despair, as our world enters into a darkness that will seem unconquerable. Hiding from the reality of a world that has lost it's way, will in no wise make the future brighter. Lifting each other up, as we share our faith in the Christ Who came to make all things new, is the only hope we have. Let us not waste this life God has given us, but let us move forward in faith, together, knowing that ultimately, the gates of hell will not prevail against those who love God.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: On Tuesday morning, I concelebrated Liturgy with Archimandrite Cherubim, abbot of the Holy Skete of Saint Anne on the Holy Mountain of Athos, and
Archimandrite Maximos Nnachette of Nigeria.

Wednesday July 16, 2014 / July 3, 2014
6th Week after Pentecost. Tone four.
Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Martyr Hyacinth of Caesarea in Cappadocia.
Translation of the relics (1652) of Hieromartyr Philip, metropolitan of Moscow (1569).
New Hieromartyr Anthony, archbishop of Archangelsk (1931).
Venerable Anatolius, of the Near Caves in Kiev (12th c.).
St. Anatolius (another) recluse of the Far Caves in Kiev (13th c.).
Holy Princes Basil (1249) and Constantine (1257) of Yaroslavl.
Repose of St. Basil, bishop of Ryazan (1295).
Venerables John and Longinus, wonderworkers of Yarenga (Solovki) (1544-45).
Blessed John of Moscow, fool-for-Christ (1589).
Venerable Nicodemus, abbot of Kozha Lake (1640).
Martyrs Diomedes, Eulampius, Asclepiodotus, and Golinduc of Caesarea in Cappadocia (108).
Martyrs Mocius (Mucian) and Mark (4th c.).
Venerable Alexander, founder of the Monastery of the Unsleeping Ones (430).
St. Anatolius, patriarch of Constantinople (458).
Venerable Isaiah the Solitary of Seeds and Palestine (370).
Blessed Michael, Herodion, Basil, and Thomas, fools-for-Christ of Solvychegodsk (17th c.).
St. Germanus, bishop of the Isle of Man and enlightener of Peel, nephew of St. Patrick of Ireland (5th c.) (Celtic & British).
Martyrs Theodotus and Theodota, martyred with St. Hyacinth (Greek).
Venerable Gerasimus the New of Carpenision (1812) (Greek).
St. Claudianus, patriarch of Alexandria (167).
St. Anatolius, bishop of Laodicea, and his successor, St. Eusebius (3rd c.).
St. Symeon, the third stylite of Cilicia (6th c.).
St. George the God-bearer of the Black Mountain, teacher of St. George of Mt. Athos (10th c.)
St. Basil, archbishop of Novgorod (1352).
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

1 Corinthians 2:9-3:8

But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Sectarianism Is Carnal

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?

Watering, Working, Warning

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

Matthew 13:31-36

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

31 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”

The Parable of the Leaven

33 Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”

Prophecy and the Parables

34 All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, 35 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:
“I will open My mouth in parables;
I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”

The Parable of the Tares Explained

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”

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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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