Avoiding hypocrisy in our journey to God
It is very easy to live our lives in hypocrisy if we are not mindful of the pitfalls of the spiritual life. We can become Pharisees without even noticing, if we let our Christianity be artificially lived. Living our lives as though we have been rehearsed by a stage director, we will have accomplished nothing, and will remain no more than an actor. Putting on the mask of Christianity, is not living in Christ. An honest, daily examination of our conscience, together with regular guidance by our confessor, is the only way we can live a Christian life that will lead to transformation of the heart.
If we simply put on a show of being a Christian, without any true repentance, we will remain mired in false religiosity, and our heart will grow dark. Christ must be invited into the heart on a daily basis, through prayer, and honest examination of our conscience, without which there can be no spiritual growth. We can not play at being a Christian, for to do so will lead to spiritual death.
We must “put on Christ’, daily, and make sure our public expression of our faith is not being acted out for others, but is ever entering into a deeper relationship with this very Christ. Playing at spirituality only leads to spiritual death. If our life does not give witness to Christ in us, and if our attention is given over to self promotion, or a desire to please others, but avoids honest examination of our sins, we will be like fruit that dies on the vine.
With love in Christ,
Photo: Vashon Island as seen from the ferry.
Tuesday March 10, 2020 / February 26, 2020
Second Week of the Great Lent. Tone five.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil
St. Porphyrius, bishop of Gaza (420).
New Hieromartyr Michael priest (1918).
New Hieromartyr Peter priest (1930).
New Hieromartyr Sergius priest (1933).
Virgin-martyr Anna (1938).
New Hieromartyrs John bishop of Rylsk and John priest (1938).
Venerable Sebastian, monk of Poshekhonye (1542).
Martyrs Sebastian and Christodoulos (66).
New Martyr John Calphas (“the Apprentice”) at Constantinople (1575) (Greek).
St. Photina, the Samaritan woman, and her sisters Anatola, Phota, Photis, Parasceva, and Cyriaca; her sons Photinus and Joses; and Sebastian the Duke, Victor, and Christodulus — all martyred under Nero (66) (Greek).
Martyr Theoclitas, martyred with St. Photina (Greek).
The Mezhetsk Icon of the Mother of God.
The Scripture Readings
7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel,
And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant.
He looked for justice, but behold, oppression;
For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.
Impending Judgment on Excesses
8 Woe to those who join house to house;
They add field to field,
Till there is no place
Where they may dwell alone in the midst of the land!
9 In my hearing the Lord of hosts said,
“Truly, many houses shall be desolate,
Great and beautiful ones, without inhabitant.
10 For ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath,
And a homer of seed shall yield one ephah.”
11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning,
That they may [e]follow intoxicating drink;
Who continue until night, till wine inflames them!
12 The harp and the strings,
The tambourine and flute,
And wine are in their feasts;
But they do not regard the work of the Lord,
Nor consider the operation of His hands.
13 Therefore my people have gone into captivity,
Because they have no knowledge;
Their honorable men are famished,
And their multitude dried up with thirst.
14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged itself
And opened its mouth beyond measure;
Their glory and their multitude and their pomp,
And he who is jubilant, shall descend into it.
15 People shall be brought down,
Each man shall be humbled,
And the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled.
16 But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment,
And God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness.
8 Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”
He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. 11 So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.”
13 And Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! 14 Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.”
15 And the Lord said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.
The Peril of Adultery
5 My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
Lend your ear to my understanding,
2 That you may preserve discretion,
And your lips may keep knowledge.
3 For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey,
And her mouth is smoother than oil;
4 But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
Sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death,
Her steps lay hold of hell.
6 Lest you ponder her path of life—
Her ways are unstable;
You do not know them.
7 Therefore hear me now, my children,
And do not depart from the words of my mouth.
8 Remove your way far from her,
And do not go near the door of her house,
9 Lest you give your honor to others,
And your years to the cruel one;
10 Lest aliens be filled with your wealth,
And your labors go to the house of a foreigner;
11 And you mourn at last,
When your flesh and your body are consumed,
12 And say:
“How I have hated instruction,
And my heart despised correction!
13 I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers,
Nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me!
14 I was on the verge of total ruin,
In the midst of the assembly and congregation.”
15 Drink water from your own cistern,
And running water from your own well.