The Lenten Struggle

Lent is the perfect time to struggle with the ego

Modern psychology has told us we must feel good about ourselves and instructed us to reject the idea of guilt and sin. Sin is seen as religion’s instrument for keeping people in line, making them dependent on an institution that should be relegated to the Dark Ages. In an age where man is elevated to being his own god, religion is seen as a sort of enslavement. Up with self! Down with guilt!

Self as the new god is worshiped and enthroned in the position of  utmost importance at the expense of community. This worship of self has contributed to the downfall of families and societal stability, where careers, social and financial gain, and self fulfillment, reigns supreme.

Divine love does not tolerate this elevated status of self, for the ego is the enemy of our communion with God. Worship of self dooms us to a life of total loss.

We were created for communion with God, and the worship of the ego has led us into a state of spiritual bankruptcy. The total meltdown of moral and spiritual well-being is the direct result of the turning away from spiritual values, and has resulted in the spiritual death of our nation. We need to return to the worship of God, and reject the worship of self.

The denial of guilt and sin is the ultimate example of our having accepted the lie perpetrated by the devil, who is the great deceiver. True happiness and true wealth come only through the fulfillment of our destiny, and that for which we were created, communion with God.  The destruction of the ego begins with repentance and the acquisition of a humble and a contrite heart. The period of Great Lent is the perfect time to do battle with the ego.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Tuesday March 26, 2019 / March 13, 2019
Third Week of the Great Lent. Tone two.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil
Translation of the relics (846) of St. Nicephorus the Confessor, patriarch of Constantinople (829).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1919).
New Hieromartyr Gregory priest (1921).
New Hieromartyr Michael priest (1938).
Martyr Sabinus (Abibus) of Egypt (303).
Martyrs Africanus, Publius, and Terence of Carthage (3rd c.).
Martyr Alexander of Macedonia (305).
Martyr Christina of Persia (4th c.).
Venerable Aninas the Presbyter of the Euphrates.
Hieromartyr Publius, bishop of Athens and disciple of St. Dionysius the Areopagite (2nd c.).
St. Leander, bishop of Seville (596).
New Hieromartyr Stephen (Bekh), bishop of Izhevsk (1933).

The Scripture Readings

Isaiah 9:9-10:4

9 All the people will know—
Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria—
Who say in pride and arrogance of heart:
10 “The bricks have fallen down,
But we will rebuild with hewn stones;
The sycamores are cut down,
But we will replace them with cedars.”
11 Therefore the Lord shall set up
The adversaries of Rezin against him,
And spur his enemies on,
12 The Syrians before and the Philistines behind;
And they shall devour Israel with an open mouth.

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

13 For the people do not turn to Him who strikes them,
Nor do they seek the Lord of hosts.
14 Therefore the Lord will cut off head and tail from Israel,
Palm branch and bulrush in one day.
15 The elder and honorable, he is the head;
The prophet who teaches lies, he is the tail.
16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err,
And those who are led by them are destroyed.
17 Therefore the Lord will have no joy in their young men,
Nor have mercy on their fatherless and widows;
For everyone is a hypocrite and an evildoer,
And every mouth speaks folly.

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

18 For wickedness burns as the fire;
It shall devour the briers and thorns,
And kindle in the thickets of the forest;
They shall mount up like rising smoke.
19 Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts
The land is burned up,
And the people shall be as fuel for the fire;
No man shall spare his brother.
20 And he shall snatch on the right hand
And be hungry;
He shall devour on the left hand
And not be satisfied;
Every man shall eat the flesh of his own arm.
21 Manasseh shall devour Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh;
Together they shall be against Judah.

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

Assyria Shall Be Broken

10 “Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees,
Who write misfortune,
Which they have prescribed
2 To rob the needy of justice,
And to take what is right from the poor of My people,
That widows may be their prey,
And that they may rob the fatherless.
3 What will you do in the day of punishment,
And in the desolation which will come from afar?
To whom will you flee for help?
And where will you leave your glory?
4 Without Me they shall bow down among the prisoners,
And they shall fall among the slain.”

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

Genesis 7:1-5

The Great Flood

7 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. 2 You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that areunclean, a male and his female; 3 also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. 4 For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.” 5 And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.

Proverbs 8:32-9:11

32 “Now therefore, listen to me, my children,
For blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise,
And do not disdain it.
34 Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the posts of my doors.
35 For whoever finds me finds life,
And obtains favor from the Lord;
36 But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul;
All those who hate me love death.”

The Way of Wisdom

9 Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn out her seven pillars;
2 She has slaughtered her meat,
She has mixed her wine,
She has also furnished her table.
3 She has sent out her maidens,
She cries out from the highest places of the city,
4 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
5 “Come, eat of my bread
And drink of the wine I have mixed.
6 Forsake foolishness and live,
And go in the way of understanding.

7 “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
And years of life will be added to you.

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.

4 comments:

  1. Father, please pray for me. I have lost all hope and am oppressed night and day by the wickedness of our culture, the impotence and division of believers, and the silence of God. I cannot find rest or peace, I rarely sleep well, and all who depend upon me suffer. It takes all my effort to survive each day without complete disintegration. I have lived this way for many years but the death of reason and truth I see everywhere now, especially in my field, renders all my intellectual weapons (which I’d believed to be God-given) useless, kills any inclination toward “personal goals”, chased away any possibility of joy, and drives me to despair.
    Forgive my complaints. I am weary beyond enduring. Lord Jesus, have mercy upon me, a poor sinner.

    1. We must remember that this age is transitory, and our journey to the homeland, which is paradise, is but a walk through a wasteland. This is only momentary, for in the greater view, we are in the hands of a loving God, and joy and happiness awaits us.

    2. To KM . I am a very great sinner having sinned very much in my life, coming out of a family with much evil and a curse hanging over us. I have asked the Lord to liberate my family and those coming after and put a stop to it, being oppressed very much and not wanting it to continue for more generations . I started to pray: That the love of the Lord lifts me up in the Father’s hands and then – May the Will of the Father happen in me. Then I am pressed much harder than any evil oppression can do, but somehow I know it is right and that it will help. Someday.
      I just tell you – maybe it would help you too.

  2. Master Bless,

    This post can be hard-hitting if read with despondency in my heart. By the world’s standard I am a failure and have been for over 20 years, so when I dwell on that, and I’m sure I have spent years doing so, there is no light, truth or beauty that I see in the secular world. I can understand KM’s post well, for I have lived it. As a protestant, I was told that Jesus is “MY” personal savior and he came to save “MY” sins. So when I would see the hate and evil and pain in my life and in the world and in my life I naturally concluded that it “I” was doing something wrong or maybe the evil in the people surrounding me was too great for “me” to handle because “my” faith was weak. But I’ve since been allowed to see that those ways I was thinking were the chains that made me a slave to the world. Christ has Saved “the World”, the entire World and everything in it. It is then The Holy Spirit also grants life to the cosmos even down to every breath of air we breathe. I am comforted now by pain and suffering given to me by my illness because this world must pass from me, my body must die that I would be allowed to sleep until Jesus, The Christ himself comes “back with Glory to Judge the living and the dead” This is the way of life, all life and my personal salvation has nothing to with all that.
    So now, I have been blessed to see that the Light, Truth, and Beuty that I couldn’t see in the world is not of this world and is a Who. That knowledge, I believe, is what has come to make me feel free of this world and sleep at night. I used to think that the very religious were slaves to all the rules and commandments oh God,, but that is what free us. This to me Orthodoxy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *