Doing combat against the critical spirit within yourself
Fearing the loss of control, we construct a wall of defense around us, keeping authenticity at bay. Fearing rejection, we see ourselves as unlovable, and blame others. Knowing we are inauthentic, we flee from the truth by becoming critical of others. We lie to ourselves, and to others, hiding our insecurity and unworthiness, and walling ourselves off from love. We feel we are unworthy of love, so we reject the love of others, and, ultimately, the love of God.
When confronted with our own critical spirit, we must ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the source of it. Why do we choose to be critical of others, when in truth we are wounded souls, suffering within a cloak of deception? Fault is found in others, only because we dare not face our own inauthentic self.
The fullness of life is knowing ourselves, and giving back to others. When we don’t forgive ourselves for falling short, we blame others. Insecure and unworthy, we reject the love and friendship of others, thinking ourselves unworthy, if they knew the truth. We are fraudulent. We lie to ourselves, and to others. We tell lies big and small, and ultimately, we lie to God. We live in fear that we will be found out, and mask the truth by being critical of others. We seek authority over others, because we are not authentic, and we have no integrity.
“But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way (Romans 14:10-13).”
With love in Christ,
Friday March 13, 2020 / February 29, 2020
Second Week of the Great Lent. Tone five.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Venerable John Cassian the Roman, abbot (435).
Venerable John, called Barsanuphius, of Nitria in Egypt (5th c.).
Martyr Theoctyrist [Theostyrictus] (8th C).
“Devpeteruv” (1392) Icon of the Mother of God.
The Monk Leo, Cappadocian Monastic.
Venerable Cassian, recluse and faster of the Kiev Caves (12th c.).
St. Oswald, archbishop of York (992) (Celtic & British).
St. Germanus of Dacia Pontica (Dobrogea, Romania) (5th c.) (Romania).
St. Theosterictus the Confessor, abbot of Pelecete Monastery near Prusa (826).
St. Cassian of Mu Lake Hermitage, disciple of St. Alexander of Svir (16th c.).
St. Meletius, archbishop of Kharkov (1840).
The Scripture Readings
Isaiah Sent to King Ahaz
7 Now it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to make war against it, but could not prevail against it. 2 And it was told to the house of David, saying, “Syria’s forces are deployed in Ephraim.” So his heart and the heart of his people were moved as the trees of the woods are moved with the wind.
3 Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-Jashub your son, at the end of the aqueduct from the upper pool, on the highway to the Fuller’s Field, 4 and say to him: ‘Take heed, and be quiet; do not fear or be fainthearted for these two stubs of smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and the son of Remaliah. 5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah have plotted evil against you, saying, 6 “Let us go up against Judah and trouble it, and let us make a gap in its wall for ourselves, and set a king over them, the son of Tabel”— 7 thus says the Lord God:
“It shall not stand,
Nor shall it come to pass.
8 For the head of Syria is Damascus,
And the head of Damascus is Rezin.
Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be [g]broken,
So that it will not be a people.
9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria,
And the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son.
If you will not believe,
Surely you shall not be established.” ’ ”
The Immanuel Prophecy
10 Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11 “Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; [h]ask it either in the depth or in the height above.”
12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!”
13 Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.[i] 15 Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.
32 And Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
The Wickedness and Judgment of Man
6 Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.
3 And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” 4 There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
Beware of Adultery
20 My son, keep your father’s command,
And do not forsake the law of your mother.
21 Bind them continually upon your heart;
Tie them around your neck.
22 When you roam, they will lead you;
When you sleep, they will keep you;
And when you awake, they will speak with you.
23 For the commandment is a lamp,
And the law a light;
Reproofs of instruction are the way of life,
24 To keep you from the evil woman,
From the flattering tongue of a seductress.
25 Do not lust after her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her allure you with her eyelids.
26 For by means of a harlot
A man is reduced to a crust of bread;
And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.
27 Can a man take fire to his bosom,
And his clothes not be burned?
28 Can one walk on hot coals,
And his feet not be seared?
29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
Whoever touches her shall not be innocent.
30 People do not despise a thief
If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving.
31 Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold;
He may have to give up all the substance of his house.
32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding;
He who does so destroys his own soul.
33 Wounds and dishonor he will get,
And his reproach will not be wiped away.
34 For jealousy is a husband’s fury;
Therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
35 He will accept no recompense,
Nor will he be appeased though you give many gifts.
The Wiles of a Harlot
7 My son, keep my words,
And treasure my commands within you.