Through little victories progress is made
The acquisition of holiness is not simply the result of having cultivated virtues, or controlling oneself through asceticism, but rather having a completely organic relationship with Christ. This organic relationship is the result of going through stages of repentance and purity, leading to a remarkable state of union with Christ, seen by the Church as deification, or theosis.
We can feel discouraged when we struggle to change our bad behaviors, or overcome sins that seem to follow us like bad debt. We feel overwhelmed and wonder if we will ever have victory. During times like these it is good to remember the words of Saint Peter of Damaskos: “It is through victories in small things that the fathers won their great battles.”
Because this victory has as its foundation the gradual transformation of self, one must never think any sin too small to be confessed. The more we are truthful with our confessor, the greater the chance of victory over all our sins, including sins that seem incidental. These sins build up over time, helping submerge the will, so that even the big sins are excusable in our minds. The big battles are never won without the little skirmishes leading to victory.
With love in Christ,
Photo: The monastery’s common room and library.
Monday August 6, 2018 / July 24, 2018
11th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Martyr Christina of Tyre (300).
Holy Martyrs and Passion-bearers Boris and Gleb of Russia, in holy baptism Romanus and David (1015).
New Hieromartyr Alpheus deacon (1937).
Sts. Nicholas (1942) and John (1951) confessors, priests.
Uncovering of the relics of Venerable Dalmatus, abbot and founder of the Dormition Monastery in Siberia (1994).
Venerable Polycarp, archimandrite of the Kiev Caves (1182).
New Martyr Athanasius of Nicaea (1670) (Greek).
New Martyr Theophilus of Zakynthos (1635) (Greek).
Venerable Bogolep, child schemamonk of Black Ravine near Astrakhan (1667).
Venerable Pachomius, abbot, on the Lake (1479), friend of Venerable Dionysius of Glushets (Vologda).
St. Bernulphus, bishop of Utrecht (1054) (Neth.).
St. Declan, bishop of Ardmore (Ireland) (5th c.) (Celtic & British).
St. Hilarion of Tvali (11th c.) (Georgia).
Martyrs Capitio and Hymenaeus (Greek)
The Scripture Readings
12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons.You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdomwhich all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost. 19 By your patience possess your souls.
2 Corinthians 2:3-15
Forgive the Offender
3 And I wrote this very thing to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all. 4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.
5 But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent—not to be too severe. 6 This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, 7 so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. 8 Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. 9 For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. 10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Triumph in Christ
12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord, 13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia.
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ 17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ 19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it.21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.