It was only after his repose that I learned of his former life, and of the darkness
from which he had emerged. And I was even more I awe of Christ Who had transformed him
into a new being, and of Fr.Seraphim himself, who had allowed his old self to be put to
death so completely and, along with the Apostle Paul, had been "dying daily." I saw that
not only had my first impression been true, but that it had only scratched the surface
of a profound mystery which the world can never comprehend: the re-creation of a soul
through the grace of Jesus Christ.
(Father Seraphim Rose.
St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, California, 2003, p. xv.)
· The Cross of Christ.
· The power of the Cross of Christ.
· The suffering experienced by Christ on the Cross.
Recent Activities of Parish Priest
March 19 - Attended Vespers, St. Elijah Church, Aliquippa.
March 20 - Blessed one house.
March 21 - Went to Washington Hospital due to parishioner having surgery.
Visited home of friends of parish. Went to Uniontown Hospital due to Adult Class
attendee being sick.
March 22 - Visit home of friends of parish.
March 23 - Visited parishioner in rehab center.
March 24 - Went to UPMC Montefiore and Presby Hospitals to be with a family during surgery.
March 25 - Visited parishioner in Uniontown Hospital.
Served Divine Liturgy in Fairmont, W.Va.
From the Desert Fathers
It was said of Abba Or and Abba Theodore, that they laid good foundations,
and at all times gave thanks to God.
Third Sunday of Great Lent, Veneration of the Holy Cross 2006
When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them,
"Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross,
and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses
his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. For what will it profit a man if
he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange
for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful
generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of
His Father with the holy angels. And He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that
there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of
God present with power."
The Cross is an instrument of death. The Cross is fashioned from wood with deliberate
purpose. The Cross was employed against the Son of God.
The Lord Jesus Christ was crucified. The Lord Jesus Christ went to the Cross without
resistance. When Jesus was confronted and betrayed, one of those with him drew a sword
to defend Jesus. Jesus said " Put your sword into its place, for all who take the sword
will perish by the sword. Or do you not think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and
He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?"
Given the violence permeating our society, we may find Jesus' actions confounding
We need to learn more about Christ and the way of Christ. We need to incorporate more
of Christ's teachings in our daily lives. We need to become inseparable from and defined
by Christ as we live and move and breathe.
The Cross of Christ is confounding. The Son of God ascending the Cross is beyond human
comprehension. The love of Christ demonstrated on the Cross is beyond the full grasp of the
That Christ can love each person in each century is beyond the comprehension of the
finite mind. That Christ can love sinners and call sinners to repentance is a lesson of
which we constantly need reminded.
Jesus said quite clearly He came to call sinners to repentance
(Mt. 9:13). Sinners can have unsavory pasts that can be repulsive.
The personal history of a sinner can be cause for concern when he or she might appear
in a given church.
If we take time to carefully examine the lives of Moses, the Prophet David, St. Paul,
Moses the Ethiopian and St. Mary of Egypt we might find certain aspects of their lives that
would be surpising and considered unacceptable.
Heiromonk Damascene from St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood in his book about Father
Seraphim Rose described the profound transformation that took place in Father Seraphim's life.
The transformation was attributed to the Lord Jesus Christ. 1
The present Gospel message speaks about losing one's life for Christ in order to save
one's life. It is a matter of losing our life of sin in order to live a life in Christ.
Christians need to be willing to change in certain ways throughout life. Regularly we are
to battle sin and to move forward in our lives in Christ. Prayer and fasting provide armor
in the battle against sin.
The Holy Apostle Paul spoke of Christian transformation when he told the Corinthians:
"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being
transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord."
St. John Climacus, in his book, The Ladder of Divine Ascent intimates different levels
of development in the Christian life.2 As Christians we have to be willing to
change. We have to want to change in order to be more like Christ would have us to be.
Fundamentally, we take on the Christian identity at baptism and our total being is
consecrated to God. We become Christian in a complete sense. At the same time, our Christian
identity is always in a process of completion.
Holy Confession and Holy Communion enable the transformation to occur. Repentance of sins
is the necessary prerequisite. With repentance of sins comes the responsibility to repair any
damage done by our sinfulness and restore wholeness to anyone who may have been a victim of
Zacchaeus is a good example for Orthodox Christians to follow. Zacchaeus said to Jesus:
"Lord, Lord I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone
by false accusation, I restore fourfold." (Lk. 19:8).
Setting our lives aright requires the mercy and goodness and assistance of God.
We need to acknowledge our dependency on God. We need to be trusting of God.
We need to be listening carefully to the messages God gives each of us.
The Cross of Christ is dominant in history. The Cross of Christ gives shape to history.
The Cross of Christ is inextricably linked with the Resurrection of Christ.
Great Lent is a serious time for believers. Great Lent is a joyous time for believers.
The love of Christ is all encompassing. The forgiveness of Christ lifts weights which can
be stifling aand unbearable.
Forgiveness by Christ can restore relationships among family members and friends.
God gave us minds. God gave us time in life. If we use our minds to the glory of God, we
express appreciaton to God. If we live in ways pleasing to God, we express appreciation to God. God gave us minds. God gave us time in life. If we use our minds to the glory of God, we express appreciaton to God. If we live in ways pleasing to God, we express appreciation to God.
If we love with an effort to love as Christ loved, we show appreciation to Christ.
May the Cross of Christ lead to our transformation. May the Cross of Christ define our
willingness to follow Christ.
1Heiromonk Damascene. Father Seraphim Rose.
St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, California, 2003, p. xv.)
2Saint John Climacus. The Ladder of Divine Ascent.
Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, Massachusetts, 2001.
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
March 13 / March 26, 2006
Third Sunday of Great Lent.
Fr. Rodney Torbic
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