Struggling with the demon of dejection
Depression is one of the plagues of the modern age, overtaking many with it’s insidious poison, and ravaging many a life. The pain and suffering that comes with deep depression can infect those who surround the sufferer, for the depression of one person can spread like mold on stale bread. Psychiatrists are kept busy writing prescriptions, and drug companies rake in the money manufacturing the “cure”. Families are destroyed, marriages come apart, and young people drop out of school, all because of depression.
Although there are certainly cases where depression can be caused by imbalances in the chemical makeup of the body, it far more common for depression to be the result of the sickness of the soul. The cure, in this case, is to be found in the life of the Church. Giving oneself over to the pursuit of God, and increasing the time we spend in prayer and worship, can gradually transform depression and turn it into joy.
Saint John Cassian wrote: “But first we must struggle with the demon of dejection who casts the soul into despair. We must drive him from our heart. It was this demon that did not allow Cain to repent after he had killed his brother, or Judas after he had betrayed his Master”.
The periods of the Nativity Fast, the Great and Holy Lenten fast, and the numerous other fast periods of the Church, are perfect times to confront the spirit of depression, for the increased attendance in the Church’s divine services, and the time spent in private prayer, contribute to the healing of the soul, taking our minds off our problems, and turning our hearts towards the things of God. Spiritual reading, frequent confession, and the reception of the Holy Mysteries, all come together, bringing the healing the soul longs for.
Psalm 39/40: “I waited patiently for the Lord, and He heeded me; And He heard my supplication. And brought me up out of a miserable pit, And from north clay; And He established my feet on a rock, And kept straight my steps. He put a new song in my mouth, A hymn to our God; Many will see and be afraid, And shall hope in the Lord. Blessed is the man whose hope is in the name of the Lord, And did not look into vanities and false frenzies. Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you performed, And in your thoughts there is no one who shall be likened to you…”
With love in Christ,
Tuesday July 11, 2017 / June 28, 2017
6th Week after Pentecost. Tone four.
Apostles’ (Peter & Paul) Fast. Fish Allowed
Translation of the relics (412) of the Holy and Wonderworking Unmercenaries Cyrus and John (311).
Venerables Sergius and Herman (14th c.), abbots of Valaam.
New Hieromartyr Basil, deacon (1918).
Virgin-martyr Sebastiana (1938).
New Hieromartyr Gregory, deacon (1940).
Venerable Xenophon, abbot of Robeika (Novgorod) (1262).
Venerable Paul the Physician of Corinth (7th c.).
Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Of the Three Hands” (8th c.).
Venarable Sergius of Crete.
Venerable Moses the Anchorite.
St. Sennuphius the Standard-bearer of Egypt (4th c.).
St. Austol of Cornwall (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
Hieromartyr Donatus of Libya (Greek).
Three Martyrs of Galatia (Greek).
70 Martyrs of Scythopolis (Greek).
Martyr Pappias (Greek).
Martyr Macedonius (Greek).
Venerable Magnus, monk who reposed while praying to the Lord (Greek).
St. Sergius the Magistrate of Paphlagonia, founder of the monastery of the Mother of God called Nikitiatus in Nicomedia (9th c.) (Greek).
Martyrs Serenus, Plutarchus, Heraclides, Heron, Raiso, and others in Alexandria (202).
The Scripture Readings
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Spiritual Gifts at Corinth
4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares
24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”