The spiritual strength of any Christian is in his firm and steadfast faith, trust in
the Lord and the fulfilling of God's will in his or her life. In the same way,
the spiritual strength and richness of any parish is in the pure and strong faith of
the individual members and the parish as a whole. It is in submitting our wills to
God's will; submitting our ways to the Lord Jesus Christ as our Way; in obeying the
Gospel of our Savior through the acceptance of His Teachings as preserved and taught
by the One, Holy, Apostolic and Orthodox Church.
(His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN. "A Pastoral Letter on Gambling."
The Path of Orthodoxy. April 2001, p. 15)
Remember the Students of St. Sava School of Theology in Libertyville
· The effect of the forgiveness of God through the centuries.
· The effect of the forgiveness in families and among friends.
· The effect of forgiveness in a parish.
Recent Activities of Parish Priest
February 28 - Blessed one house.
March 2 - Visited home of friends of parish.
March 4 - Served Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Mission, Fairmont, West Virginia.
From the Desert Fathers
Abba Poemen said "Do not give your heart to what does not satisfy your heart."
Forgiveness Sunday 2006
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your
trespasses. Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance.
For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly,
I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash
your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in
the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Do not lay
up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break
in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust
destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also.
Every year Forgiveness Sunday is on the Orthodox liturgical calendar.
Forgiveness Sunday marks the arrival of Great Lent.
Forgiveness Sunday is the opportunity to begin the Great Fast in peace and repentance.
The arrival of Forgiveness Sunday stimulates thoughts about the days ahead.
Ideally, believers end the Great Fast as better Orthodox Christians than they began.
Ideally, believers view the Great Fast as the time to invest in the Kingdom of God.
The Gospel emphasizes the importance of laying up treasures in heaven where moth and rust
do not consume and thieves cannot break in an steal.
Serious believers use the time of the Great Fast to assess personal practices and
exercises of faith. Serious believers assess whether or not they are true to the baptismal
commitment proclaiming Jesus Christ as King and as God.
The days on earth in our present physical bodies are finite.
The days in our present physical bodies are limited. (Ps.90:10)
We are created in the image and likeness of God and need to
give glory to God in the way we live. (Gen.1:26-27)
Believers are prudent when paying careful attention to the life given by God.
The Psalmist cautions that we should number our days to gain a heart of wisdom
Believers set goals for themselves. Believers dream about what they want to do in life.
Believers work toward a certain end in life. The dreams we have, the goals we have,
the work we perfom should be pleasing to God.
We do not live on this planet alone. We do not live alone in the Church.
We are connected to each other. We are united in Christ.
The Holy Apostle Paul told the Ephesians: "There is one body and one Spirit,
just as you were called in one hope of your calling: one Lord, one faith, one baptism."
Forgiveness is central to the present Gospel. Forgiveness is an essential part of
Christianity. Forgiveness of sins gives believers the opportunity to begin anew.
Forgiveness of sins gives men and women who have fallen away from the Church,
the opportunity to return.
Forgiveness lifts weights from the shoulders and hearts of the forgiven.
Forgiveness reduces or eliminates anxiety and is replaced by peace.
Forgiveness restores and heals broken and troubled relationships.
The love of God was manifested on the Cross. The love of God is manifested in daily life.
We experience the love of God when we partake of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ.
We experience the love of God when our sins are forgiven in Holy Confession.
Careful analysis of our thoughts and behavior will lead to an understanding of our sins.
Careful understanding of the Holy Gospel and the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ help us
to focus on our sins.
Prayer, fasting and almsgiving are weapons in the battle against sin.
Prayer fasting and almsgiving are essentials of the Great Fast.
The Great Fast is a time to train our bodies, to train our minds, to focus our hearts upon God.
Believers are required to focus on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Believers are strengthened only when following Christ. Tempations arise in life.
The Epistle of St. James states: "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into
various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience."
Patience is necessary during the Great Fast. Each day is a challenge.
Focusing on Jesus Christ is necessary throughout the period.
The Gospel of St.Matthew describes Jesus being tempted when Jesus fasted forty days.
The tempter said to Jesus: "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
If Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil, we, too, will be tempted.
The possibility of temptations is not cause to fear. When we are true to God
and the ways of God, there is reason for confidence in God..
The First Epistle of St. John states: "Perfect love casts out fear."
The present Gospel establishes heaven as the place by which we are to measure our
thoughts and our efforts. The present Gospel establishes heaven as the place to direct
our thoughts and efforts.
Accomplishments on earth take on meaning when they are pleasing to God.
Accomplishments on earth take on meaning when they are consistent with the ways of God.
Believers are expected to progress. Forgiveness Sunday each year is expected to make
a decided difference in each believer's life. Serious believers' lives will conform more
with the ways of God as time progresses.
Our Lord Jesus Christ said: "You will know them by their fruits...a good tree cannot
bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit."
(Mt. 7:16-18) Our investments reveal where our hearts are.
The way we use our time, our talents and our resources reflects the values we hold
most important. If what we do is not pleasing to God, the time to change is now.
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
February 20 / March 5, 2006
St. Leo of Catania.
Fr. Rodney Torbic
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