Is the Hospital Closed?

How do we find healing when we think the hospital of the soul is closed?

Orthodoxy offers a very precise way in which to enter into communion with God. It is a way that must be learned, for simply “becoming Orthodox” will not lead the seeker into an inner life that will transform, and enlighten. Membership in the Church is simply not enough, for the Church is not about beautiful services, icons, or mystical theology. As a hospital for the soul, the Church is the place where we can receive healing for that which ails us. It is the place where we are cured, and made whole.

Like the emergency room of a local hospital, a patient can’t simply walk in, and expect to be healed. We have to submit themselves to examination by the ER staff (our confessor), who will ask us to describe what is going on, where we are hurting, run tests, and, finally, prescribe the necessary medication that will bring about healing.

Within the hospital of the soul, that is the Church, her priests act in the same capacity as the ER personnel. They interview the patient (parishioner), and examine the heart to find the sickness, and recommend the cure. The priest becomes the therapeutic guide, recommending what the patient (seeker) can do in order to be made whole.

A prayer rule, the daily reading of the Holy Scriptures, frequent confession and reception of the Holy Mysteries, are all part of the Church’s medicine that will bring about the cure. Just as the doctor will prescribe the proper dosage, after getting to know his patient, so too, does the priest prescribe that which will help his spiritual son or daughter.

The spiritual life is something that needs to be learned, perhaps more so now, than at any time in the history of our world. As godlessness increases, so do the obstacles to spiritual progress. The degradation of the whole of our society, and the depths of depravity that have become a normal part of our age, have made this a dangerous time. Going it alone can leave one vulnerable to spiritual delusion. We all need a trusted and experienced guide who can help us avoid the pitfalls of the pride and self-will that would lead us down to perdition.

That most of us are now unable to attend services in our churches, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is all the more important that we nurture our souls with the medicine that is, by its very nature, meant to bring about healing. Keeping a prayer rule, reading the Holy Scriptures, studying the Church Fathers, saying the Jesus Prayer, and reading the lives of the saints, are all comparable to taking the prescription medicine prescribed by one’s doctor. Just because the doors of the hospital (the Church) are closed off to us, should in no way be an excuse for setting aside the benefits that come from membership in the hospital of the soul.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: This beautiful blessing cross was gifted to the monastery by Alex Miller, owner of Holy Archangel Liturgical Supply of Anchorage, Alaska. I first met Alex when I was giving the Diocesan Clergy Retreat at the invitation of Archbishop David of Sitka and Alaska. We purchased the beautiful large candle stands from Alex, that stand in our monastery’s temple.

Friday April 3, 2020 / March 21, 2020
Fifth Week of the Great Lent. Tone eight.
Great Lent. Food with Oil
Venerable James the Confessor, bishop, of the Studium (late 8th c.).
New Hieromartyr Vladimir priest (1931).
New Martyr Archbishop Theodore Pozdeyev (1938).
Venerable Seraphim Vyritsa (1949).
St. Cyril, bishop of Catania (2nd c.).
St. Thomas, patriarch of Constantinople (610).
Venerable Serapion, bishop of Thmuis in Lower Egypt, friend of St. Anthony the Great (358).
Venerable Lupicinus, desert-dweller of the Jura Mountains (480) (Gaul).
St. Enda of Aran, monk, earliest leader of Irish monas-ticism (530) (Celtic & British).
Martyrs Philemon and Domnina of Rome (Greek).
St. Beryllus, bishop of Catania (2nd c.).
St. Sophronius, abbot of the monastery of St. Theodosius (542).
New Martyr Michael of Agrapha (1544).
St. Serapion the Sindonite, monk of Egypt (542).

The Scripture Readings

Isaiah 45:11-17

11 Thus says the Lord,
The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:
“Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons;
And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.
12 I have made the earth,
And created man on it.
I—My hands—stretched out the heavens,
And all their host I have commanded.
13 I have raised him up in righteousness,
And I will direct all his ways;
He shall build My city
And let My exiles go free,
Not for price nor reward,”
Says the Lord of hosts.

The Lord, the Only Savior

14 Thus says the Lord:

“The labor of Egypt and merchandise of Cush
And of the Sabeans, men of stature,
Shall come over to you, and they shall be yours;
They shall walk behind you,
They shall come over in chains;
And they shall bow down to you.
They will make supplication to you, saying, ‘Surely God is in you,
And there is no other;
There is no other God.’ ”

15 Truly You are God, who hide Yourself,
O God of Israel, the Savior!
16 They shall be ashamed
And also disgraced, all of them;
They shall go in confusion together,
Who are makers of idols.
17 But Israel shall be saved by the Lord
With an everlasting salvation;
You shall not be ashamed or disgraced
Forever and ever.

Genesis 22:1-18 New King James Version (NKJV)

Abraham’s Faith Confirmed

22 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the [a]lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”

And he said, “Here I am, my son.”

Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the [b]lamb for a burnt offering?”

8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.

9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”

So he said, “Here I am.”

12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, [c]The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

15 Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

Genesis 22:1-18

Abraham’s Faith Confirmed

22 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”

And he said, “Here I am, my son.”

Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.

9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”

So he said, “Here I am.”

12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

15 Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

Proverbs 17:17-18:5

17 A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity.

18 A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge,
And becomes surety for his friend.

19 He who loves transgression loves strife,
And he who exalts his gate seeks destruction.

20 He who has a deceitful heart finds no good,
And he who has a perverse tongue falls into evil.

21 He who begets a scoffer does so to his sorrow,
And the father of a fool has no joy.

22 A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones.

23 A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back
To pervert the ways of justice.

24 Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding,
But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.

25 A foolish son is a grief to his father,
And bitterness to her who bore him.

26 Also, to punish the righteous is not good,
Nor to strike princes for their uprightness.

27 He who has knowledge spares his words,
And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.
28 Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace;
When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.

The Name of the Lord Is a Strong Tower

18 A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;
He rages against all wise judgment.

2 A fool has no delight in understanding,
But in expressing his own heart.

3 When the wicked comes, contempt comes also;
And with dishonor comes reproach.

4 The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;
The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.

5 It is not good to show partiality to the wicked,
Or to overthrow the righteous in judgment.

Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very. Rev. Abbot Tryphon is Igumen of All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. 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. When the hospital is closed it is best to stay in touch with the things of God – Bible, prayer, spiritual reading, listening, viewing……and when it’s all over, remember to continue these things.

    God bless; take care and keep safe!

  2. I’m wondering if the special icon of the Theotokos and infant Christ that was “visiting” is still there? I’d hoped to see it before it moves on to another Orthodox monastery or church. I’m sorry I don’t recall the name of this icon.

    Praying that you all stay well.

  3. In this time of pandemic, the regular doctor’s office is now doing teleconferenceing with their patients to stem the tide of the virus.

    Yet, we can see this trend working differently for the Church., as several have gone to the internet to continue to reach out to their parishioners by streaming their services via the different platforms available (Facebook, YouTube, and so on). Some parishes had started streaming well before the pandemic to reach out to those who could not come into Church for whatever reason (illness, distance, etc). Now with so many orders to shelter at home and the strict restrictions for gatherings priests and their parishes are finding ways to reach out to their flocks to continue to care for their spiritual well being.

    Glory to God and thank you to all that are providing a way to continue to bring His Word and comfort into our homes.

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