Do we think ourselves wiser than the Church?
In an age of unbelief it can be a struggle to submit to the laws of the Church. When the society around us regards the Church’s laws and traditions unfavorably, we can easily give in to thinking the same thing, and disregard the canons and statutes of the Church of Christ. If our work associates and friends, or even family members, think our adherence to the periods of fasting is extreme, we can find ourselves giving in to peer pressure, just as children are known to do. If our taking time out from work to attend special feast day services is criticized by co-workers as being excessive, do we decline to ask for the day off for the next feast day?
If we allow ourselves to choose the traditions and societal structures of those around us, in preference to the Church’s traditions, canons and laws, we will soon find ourselves betraying our Christian faith. Christianity was not meant to be easy, but is by nature compared to doing battle. If we desire the easy comforts and pleasures of this world, we will eventually lose the battle, and we will perish. If we prefer the laws of this world over the laws of the Church, in the end we will have lost that which is most essential and eternal in value.
In times of turmoil and earthly hardship will will find we have not built up the spiritual strength and fortitude to stand strong against the winds of destruction that lay hold our lives, and we will have lost the battle. Submitting to mere human traditions and authority, we will find that a thief will have taken the very treasure that is the Kingdom of God, and we will be left by the wayside, the Gates of Heaven having been closed to us.
If we revile the laws of the Church we will have reviled Christ Himself, Who is the Head of the Church. This is true because the laws of the Church were given by the Holy Spirit through the Apostles, and are therefore not simply the traditions of man. Let us not think we are great teachers of our own souls, but let us humbly call out together with the wise thief, Remember me, O Lord, in Thy kingdom!
With love in Christ,
Photo: The monastery’s trapeza (refectory).
Tuesday October 2, 2018 / September 19, 2018
19th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Martyrs Trophimus, Sabbatius, and Dorymedon of Synnada (276).
St. Theodore, prince of Smolensk and Yaroslav (1299), and his children Sts. David and Constantine.
New Martyr Priest Constantine (Golubev) of Bogorodsk, and two others with him (1918).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1919).
Venerable Alexis, Hieroschemamonk of Zosima Hermitage (1928).
New Martyr Constantine priest (1937).
New Martyr Nilus priest, Virgin-martyr Mary (1938).
Martyr Zosimas, hermit of Cilicia (4th c.).
Blessed George (Igor), Prince of Chernigov (1147).
Hieromartyr Januarius, bishop of Benevento, and his companions: Sosius, Proclus and Festus, deacons, Gantiol, Eutychius, Acutius, and Desiderius, at Puzzuoli (305).
St. Seguanos of Gaul (Gaul).
St. Theodore of Tarsus, archbishop of Canterbury (690) (Celtic & British).
The Scripture Readings
8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Christ Is Preached
12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Janna, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathiah, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathiah, the son of Semei, the son of Joseph, the son of Judah, 27 the son of Joannas, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Jose, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the sonof Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the sonof Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
Satan Tempts Jesus
4 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,