Friday, August 22, 2014

The Dark Side
When we experience the "dark side" of the Church

For those who have experienced what has been called the "dark side" of the Church, the struggle to remain faithful to the Orthodox Faith can seem daunting. The dark side is the result of the sinful, fallen nature of all of us who make up the Body of Christ. It is that part of each of us that is yet to have been transformed, and made whole. This is especially difficult for pious believers when that dark side rears it's ugly head through those who serve the Church as her clergy. But if we see this dark side for what it is, and know that it is not actually coming from the Life of the Church, but from the great Enemy of our souls, we realize that our common fallen nature is vulnerable to the attacks of Satan, who as the enemy of God, attacks those who serve the Church with an especially hardened hatred. When priests and bishops are seen as operating in a shameful way, and we see no love in them, we can find ourselves wondering if there is anything to the Church. When the Church fails us, be it her clergy, or fellow members of a parish, we can feel especially betrayed, and wonder why we remain at all.

Like all human institutions, the Church can fall short of her calling, and her special vocation as hospital of the soul, can appear no different than any other human institution. Rather than receiving the needed love, and the resulting healing of the soul, the parishioner may feel as thought they've been abused. Parish intrigue can turn the hospital into an insane asylum, and we come away feeling hurt and disrespected. We look at political organizations, businesses, institutions of higher education, and other human based institutions, and see this dark side of the human condition, and we can see that this dark side is really not about the divinely instituted Church, nor her clergy, but about the Evil One.

When we look at our common enemy, we see that this dark side is really not about the Church, but about ourselves, and our own common failure to submit our whole selves, and all our life, into the hands of Our Saviour. It is in this submission to Christ, that healing will take place, and we will be made whole. That is the point in which we can stop blaming our clergy, or our bishops, and take the blame upon ourselves. The dark side is coming from within our own fallen nature, and it is we who are in need of acting according to the gospel message. We are the enemy of Christ, and it is our sin that is responsible for the dark side that resides within the life of Christ's Church.

When we confront our own fallen nature, and blame only ourselves for the debilitating dark side, we usher in the Light of Christ, and all is made whole. When we've done that, we are no longer able to see the sin of others, and we look upon everyone that seems to have failed us, in a new light. We look at them as Christ. Be it Christ crucified, or Christ glorified, we see only Christ. It is then that we emerge out of the long, dark tunnel, having been purified by the action of the Holy Spirit. We are made whole (holy), and the failures of others are no longer noticed by us, and we see only the love of Christ in the faces of our brothers and sisters. The dark side is transformed, and we are made stronger for having suffered as we did, and we will have experienced the truth in the saying that God allows difficulties, humiliations, and hardships, as the way to draw us closer to Him, and make us stronger.
When this happens, we will know that God is Our Father, and He desires His children to grow in wisdom and strength. Because of His great love for us, He allows us to experience pain and rejection, knowing it will make us stronger. Just as an earthly father knows an overprotected child does not grow in wisdom and strength, God, as the good father, changes us into loving, compassionate, and giving persons, and the darkness shall be no more.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Friday August 22, 2014 / August 9, 2014
11th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Afterfeast of the Transfiguration.
Apostle Matthias (63).
Synaxis of All Saints of Solovki.
New Martyr Margaret (1918).
Martyr Anthony of Alexandria.
Venerable Psoes of Egypt (4th c.).
Martyrs Julian, Marcian, John, James, Alexius, Demetrius, Photius (Phocas), Peter, Leontius, and Mary, of Constantinople (726).
Venerable Macarius, abbot of Oredezh (1532).
St. Alexis Medvedkov, archpriest of Uzine (1934).
The Restoration of the Temple of the 40 Martyrs.

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

2 Corinthians 4:13-18

13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

Seeing the Invisible

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Matthew 24:27-33

27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.

The Coming of the Son of Man

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

The Parable of the Fig Tree

32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!

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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.

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