When we live as problem centered people we miss the mark
There are a lot of fear based communities in our world. Some are religious and some are political. All are guilty of missing the mark when it comes to the message of the Church.
We Christians were not programmed to be victims, living in fear. For the Christian the True Self is the one that is created in the image and likeness of God. As children of the Most High we are meant to live, not in fear, but in a joyful state, knowing and experiencing the love of God.
Our God is not a god of anger and vengeance, but one Who invites us into a relationship based in loving communion. God is not waiting to send down fire upon our heads as an angry parent, but rather a loving Father Who desires that we connect with our true selves and put off the false self.
When we live as problem centered people we miss the mark. If we focus on those things in our lives that are negative, such as struggles with a particular sin, or negative thinking, we fail to live up to the true self.
Many therapists keep their patients in a codependent state by giving them labels that speak of mental illness. Political parties often keep themselves in power by playing to the negative labels they’ve created for the opposition. Religions often do the same thing, even with their own adherents, keeping them hooked in a negative pattern that disallows a spiritual growth that leads to healing and spiritual well being.
Fear based communities use abuse to keep their people in line, leaving them in a state of perpetual infancy, unable to reach their full potential and preventing them from realizing their true self. Such institutions, political or religious, prevent people from flourishing.
God invites us to integrate our lives as His children and utilize all the gifts He has given us which lead to fulfilled lives. Fear is vanquished for the Christian precisely because we ARE His children. In Orthodoxy the priests and bishops are called upon to encourage the faithful to live lives in faithfulness to God’s commandments, not because there will be grave consequences if we don’t, but because of the great joy that is ours when we have communion with Him.
With love in Christ,
Photo: Father Isaiah and Matuska Beth Gillette visited the monastery from the State of Kentucky. Father is a retired army chaplain, and presently serves under Bishop Basil of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese.
Friday October 16, 2020 / October 3, 2020
19th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Fast. Food with Oil
Hieromartyr Dionysius (Dennys) the Areopagite, and with him Martyrs Rusticus and Eleutherius (96).
New Hiero-confessor Agathangelus (Preobrazhensky), metropolitan of Yaroslavl (1928).
Finding of the relics (1988) of Venerable Ambrose of Optina (1911).
St. Jerome of Aegina (1966).
Venerable Dionysius, recluse of the Kiev Caves (15th c.).
Venerable John the Chozebite, bishop of Caesarea in Palestine (532).
Blessed Hesychius the Silent of Mt. Horeb (6thc.).
Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Trubchevsk” (1765).
Hieromartyr Dionysius, archbishop of Alexandria and eight martyrs with him (257-8).
St. Leger of Autun (679) (Gaul).
Hieromartyrs Hewald the White and Hewald the Black, at Cologne.
Martyr Theoctistus (Greek).
Martyr Theagenes (Greek).
The Scripture Readings
The Philosophers at Athens
16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. 17 Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. 18 Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, “What does this babbler want to say?”
Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,” because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.
19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? 20 For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean.” 21 For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.
Addressing the Areopagus
22 Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; 23 for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:
TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.
Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” 33 So Paul departed from among them. 34 However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
The Parable of the Hidden Treasure
44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
The Parable of the Dragnet
47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, 48 which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50 and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
51 [a]Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?”
They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”
52 Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed [d]concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
53 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. 54 When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and the mighty works?