The great virtue of forgiving others
Many years ago I was dining with a monastic community, during one of my travels. I noticed a senior monk eating meat, and found myself judging him for not keeping the monastic tradition of avoiding meat. When visiting with one of the junior monks, much to my shame, I commented on how horrified I was at seeing that old monk eating meat. The young monk, not missing a beat, defended him, telling me that, due to health issues, the old monk had been instructed by his physician to eat red meat at least once a week, even during lenten periods.
There is the story of Saint Epiphanius of Cyprus who invited Hilarion the Great to dinner, and in order to show his hospitality place fried chicken on the table. Hilarion, when he saw the fried chicken, asked forgiveness, but said he had not eaten meat since his tonsure as a monk. Saint Epiphanius responded by saying that he, since his monastic tonsure, had never gone to bed without first forgiving his enemy.
Moved by his words, Hilarion said: “Your virtue is greater than mine, Oh holy master! Fasting is indeed an admirable thing, but it is more admirable to forgive those who have insulted us.” It is through our fasting that we prepare for charity, but by forgiving insults, we show our charity. Our fasting precedes forgiveness, but fasting alone does not save without forgiveness.
When we exalt our own perceived virtues, we fail to see the sin that looms large in our own life, and assume our personal righteousness sets us above others. Overlooking our own sins and failures, we prefer to see the personal failures of others.
It is so easy to judge another, for in doing so we automatically feel empowered by the thought of our own righteousness. Focusing on another’s faults, we see ourselves as superior. From this fallen state, we fail to truly love others, and are less likely to forgive another person when they have done wrong to us.
With love in Christ,
Photo: My dear friend and brother, Archpriest Seraphim Cardoza. Monk Martin’s famous New York Style Pizza. Father Seraphim and Matushka Juliana.
Friday July 31, 2020 / July 18, 2020
8th Week after Pentecost. Tone six.
Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Martyr Emilian of Silistra in Bulgaria (363).
Martyr Hyacinth of Amastris (4th c.).
New Hieromartyrs Appolinarius (1918).
Venerable John the Long-suffering of the Kiev Caves (1160).
Venerable Pambo, recluse of the Kiev Caves (1241).
Venerable Pambo, hermit of Egypt (386).
Venerable Leontius, abbot of Karikhov (Novgorod) (1492).
“Kaluga” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (1892).
St. Frederich, bishop of Utrecht (9th c.) (Neth.).
Martyr Marcel (Greek).
Martyrs Dasius and Maron (Greek).
Sts. Stephen, archbishop of Constantinople (928), and John the Confessor, metropolitan of Chalcedon (9th c.) (Greek).
Great-martyr Athanasius of Klysma, Egypt (4th c.).
Hieromartyr Kozman (1630) (Georgia).
The Scripture Readings
1 Corinthians 11:8-22
8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.
13 Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.
Conduct at the Lord’s Supper
17 Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be [b]recognized among you. 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame [c]those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.
10 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
11 Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. 12 But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.
A Boy Is Healed
14 And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
17 Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.