If we are to win the battle, we must focus only on our own sins
When we take our eyes off our own sins we focus only on the sins of the other. As their sins get our attention, we fail to struggle with the passions that keep us from the wholeness that God intended, and we move ever closer to the abyss of our own fall. Ignoring our own sickness, we break down the doors of the fortress that guards our own heart.
If we are to take ourselves out of the mire of sin and be made whole, our eyes must never look to the sins of others, “For a person cannot be disquieted or concerned about other people’s affairs if he is satisfied with concentrating on the work of his own hands (Saint John Cassian).”
As we continue in our Lenten journey, let us focus on the continued struggle with self, ever moving forward in our quest to acquired a humble and contrite heart. Let us breathe in the coming joy of Pascha, and the Resurrected One will lift us up, and our life will never be the same.
With love in Christ,
Photos: We concluded the Pastoral Conference, held at Old Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco, on Wednesday afternoon. I’m now journeying back to the monastery, spiritually refreshed.
Monk-martyr Nicon and 199 disciples, in Sicily (251).
New Hieromartyr Macarius priest (1931).
New Hieromartyr Stephen priest (1937).
New Martyr James, New Hieromartyr Basil priest, Virgin-martyr Anastasia and Barbara, Martyr Alexis (1938).
New Hieromartyr venerable confessor archbishop Sergius (Serebriansky) (1948).
Venerable Nicon, abbot of the Kiev Caves (1088).
Martyrs Philetas the Senator, his wife Lydia, their sons Macedon and Theoprepius, the notary Cronides, and Amphilochius the Captain, in Illyria (125).
St. Basil of Mangazea in Siberia (1600).
Martyr Dometius the Persian, under Julian the Apostate (ca. 360-361).
Venerable Luke the New of Mytilene, Mt. Athos (1802).
Venerable Pachomius, abbot of Nerekhta (1384).
St. Bassian, archbishop of Rostov (1481).
St. Gwinear of Cornwall.
The Scripture Readings
13 Therefore the Lord said:
“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
14 Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work
Among this people,
A marvelous work and a wonder;
For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.”
15 Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the Lord,
And their works are in the dark;
They say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?”
16 Surely you have things turned around!
Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay;
For shall the thing made say of him who made it,
“He did not make me”?
Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it,
“He has no understanding”?
Future Recovery of Wisdom
17 Is it not yet a very little while
Till Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field,
And the fruitful field be esteemed as a forest?
18 In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book,
And the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.
19 The humble also shall increase their joy in the Lord,
And the poor among men shall rejoice
In the Holy One of Israel.
20 For the terrible one is brought to nothing,
The scornful one is consumed,
And all who watch for iniquity are cut off—
21 Who make a man an offender by a word,
And lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate,
And turn aside the just by empty words.
22 Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:
“Jacob shall not now be ashamed,
Nor shall his face now grow pale;
23 But when he sees his children,
The work of My hands, in his midst,
They will hallow My name,
And hallow the Holy One of Jacob,
And fear the God of Israel.
Promises to Abram
12 Now the Lord had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites werethen in the land.
7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
15 The simple believes every word,
But the prudent considers well his steps.
16 A wise man fears and departs from evil,
But a fool rages and is self-confident.
17 A quick-tempered man acts foolishly,
And a man of wicked intentions is hated.
18 The simple inherit folly,
But the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
19 The evil will bow before the good,
And the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
20 The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor,
But the rich has many friends.
21 He who despises his neighbor sins;
But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.
22 Do they not go astray who devise evil?
But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good.
23 In all labor there is profit,
But idle chatter leads only to poverty.
24 The crown of the wise is their riches,
But the foolishness of fools is folly.
25 A true witness delivers souls,
But a deceitful witness speaks lies.
26 In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
And His children will have a place of refuge.