An Integral Whole

Avoiding a compartmentalized and splintered life

Our life must be lived as a whole, for we dare not live out this life as merely fractured moments in time. If we wish to be transformed by our encounter with God, every aspect of our life must flow as one river, ever moving closer to Christ. If we live a compartmentalized and splintered life, we will prevent a unified transformation of our whole person, and will remain in a quagmire of our own making. Our work, our recreation, our family time, and every other aspect of our life, must flow together as a whole. Only then will it be possible for us to become complete persons, transformed into the likeness of God.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Monday January 28, 2019 / January 15, 2019
36th Week after Pentecost. Tone two.
St. Paul of Thebes, Egypt (341), and St. John Calabytes (“Hut-dweller”) of Constantinople, monks (450).
New Hieromartyr Michael, priest (1942).
New Hieromartyr Benjamin, bishop of Romanov (1930).
Monk-martyr Pansophius of Alexandria (249-251).
St. Prochorus, abbot in Vranski Desert on the river Pchinja in Bulgaria (10th c.) (Serbia).
St. Gabriel, founder of Lesnovo Monastery, Serbia-Bulgaria (980) (Serbia).
St. Gerasimus, patriarch of Alexandria (1714).
St. Maximus, bishop of Nola (250).
Venerable Ita of Killeedy, hermitess and foster-mother of St. Brendan (570) (Celtic & British).
Venerable Maurus, disciple of St. Benedict (584) (Celtic & British).
St. Salome of Udjarma, and St. Perozhavra of Sivnia, Georgia (4th c.).
Venerable Barlaam of Keret Lake near the White Sea (16th c.).

The Scripture Readings

Hebrews 11:17-23

The Faith of the Patriarchs

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.

The Faith of Moses

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command.

Hebrews 11:27-31

27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.

By Faith They Overcame

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

Mark 9:42-10:1

Jesus Warns of Offenses

42 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— 44 where

‘Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.’

45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— 46 where

‘Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.’

47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire— 48 where

‘Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.’

Tasteless Salt Is Worthless

49 “For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”

Marriage and Divorce

10 Then He arose from there and came to the region of Judea by the other side of the Jordan. And multitudes gathered to Him again, and as He was accustomed, He taught them again.

Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very. Rev. Abbot Tryphon All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. The Monastery is under the omophore of The Most Rev. Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Situated in the heart of a beautiful forest, surrounded by the Salish Sea, the monastery is reached by ferry from either Seattle, or Tacoma, Washington.


  1. How can we live this way? How can we live a life constantly devoted to God and live in the world at the same time? I know this is our calling but I don’t know the way to do it.

    1. I can tell you a little of my own story. Maybe it will help, maybe not.
      When I was young, going to high school from college, I was a Seeker, as were many who have found the Orthodox Church. I was drawn to investigate various disciplines–Zen, Carlos Castenada, and others, though not Christianity directly. Christianity interested me, and I recognized the supremacy of it, but it seemed everyone had made a perfect hash of it, and that I needed to seek elsewhere for a teacher.
      At the same time, two fundamental questions dogged me. I could not understand why one had to go away from Life–that is, ordinary life–to have to seek strange circumstances in order to seek God. Nor did I see the point in a job in the sense of something distinct from the rest of one’s life. To me that seemed like slavery rather than service, nor have I ever liked the notion of some occupation being chiseled on my gravestone.
      As to the seeking of truth, I was not denied the chance to understand that not every man is meant to be a monk, that some of us cannot leave life behind, at least not at first, and that if our aims are worthy, they might receive higher help. It should be noted, however, that the knowledge and understanding I was granted along this path was not an end in itself. In and of itself, it only isolated me from the rest of life.
      As to a career, after many regrettable and almost tragic years of foundering in life, I returned to my rural hometown, thinking my talents and desires would best be used in farming. As all that slowly proved itself vanity, I was being transitioned, against my will and against my desires–against virtually every image I had of myself–into a form of paid service to some families who needed help.
      I did not like any of these people, at first. I couldn’t see myself being friends with them, or even a casual acquaintance. I even looked down on them. I tried to avoid these jobs, but could not. Today these same people are within the small circle of my closest friends. It is painful, and even unthinkable, to say “no” to anything they might ask of me, even though they never take for granted that I would say “yes”. The relationship I have built with them has completely erased the distinction between life and work. In fact, some days I do not even go home from “work”. And yes, it all feels like a river.
      Again, the knowledge I sought early in life could never be an end in itself, nor was it meant to be. I was led to realize I needed a Church, that to be honest with oneself meant standing in prayer with others.
      And again, when the time finally came for that, there was the Orthodox Church, the only church I could join, waiting for me in my own home town, having newly appeared there the same time I came home from the city. Only after my baptism did I learn that my appointed, late-life career was in perfect accord with my chosen saint.
      As far as I can tell, all this came about, in its own time, simply because I asked for it.
      And now here you are, asking the same questions.

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