Not all men can face a serious operation, not all those who confess their sins are capable
of facing a real confession. Just as an operation-even if it is indispensable-can kill a
patient, so the spectacle of his sinfulness, if suddenly called up from the depths of his
soul, can deal a deadly blow to a man. One has to be indulgent and to feed the patient with
fortifying medicine, until the right moment comes.
(Diary of a Russian Priest.
St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, Crestwood, New York, 1982, p. 123
Remember the Students at St. Sava School of Theology, Libertyville
· Forgiving everyone offending us.
· Seeking forgiveness for offending others.
· Being forgiven by God
Recent Activities of Parish Priest
February 12 - Went to Diocesan Center.
February 12 and 14 - Went to Morgantown for printing.
February 17 - Visited one parishioner in Uniontown, blessed two rooms of parishioners
at Beverly Healthcare, Uniontown
From the Desert Fathers
A certain brother asked the Abbot Pimenion saying, "What is faith?" And the old man said,
"To live ever in loving kindness and in humbleness, and to do good to one's neighbor"
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.
The time to invest in the Kingdom of God is at hand. The time to lay up treasures in
heaven is at hand. The time of the Great Fast has arrived. The time to take the life in
Christ seriously is at hand.
The Church asks us to begin the fast on good terms with each other. If we expect God to
forgive us our many sins, we need to be forgiving of others.
Every time we say the Lord's Prayer, we say the words: "forgive us our trespasses as we
forgive those who trespass against us." God's forgiveness of our sins is directly related
to our forgiveness of others.
Great Lent is to be greeted with joyful anticipation. Great Lent is a form of basic
training. Great Lent is a time to live in ways pleasing to God.
The services of Great Lent keep the focus on repentance. The services of Great Lent make
us more sensitive to our sins and exhort us to turn to Jesus Christ for mercy and forgiveness.
Prayer, fasting and almsgiving heighten our awareness of God. Great Lent summons our
attention to God. God is the source of life. God is the source of joy. In God we find our
purpose and direction and meaning.
Great Lent can appear to be a long journey. To fast and pray and increase attendance
in Divine services between now and Holy Week and then during Holy Week to Pascha can seem
an arduous task.
Anything of value requires effort and commitment. What is of more value than the soul?
The Lord Jesus Christ said: "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world,
and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Great Lent is the time to give complete care to the soul. Great Lent is the time to
withdraw from thoughts and activities which jeopardize the soul. Great Lent is the time
to love God with all the heart, all the mind, all the soul. Great Lent is the time to
love thy neighbor as thyself. (Mt. 22:36-40).
Use each day of Great Lent wisely. Make the best effort possible to live in faithfulness
to God. Follow the calendar of the Church throughout Great Lent.
Read the daily Scripture readings shown on the calendar. Honor the fast one day at a time.
Just as alcoholics are taught one day at a time to stay away from the bottle, Orthodox
believers can stay away from practices that encourage sin one day at a time.
The Lord Jesus Christ said: "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about
its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Mt. 6:34)
Concentrate on the present day, each day to battle and avoid sin and remain close to God.
The desert father Abba Paul kept it simple and memorable when he said: "Keep close
to Jesus."1 Keeping close to Jesus is what believers are supposed to do.
We are never to distance ourselves from Jesus.
The Holy Apostle Paul spoke about the Lord in Athens in this way: "In Him we live and
move and have our being." (Acts. 17:16-28). We do not have to look far
for Jesus. We do not have to go far for Jesus.
We need to open our hearts to Jesus. We need to open our eyes to see Jesus.
We need to open our minds and welcome Jesus into our lives.
Many activities we undertake keep Jesus at a distance. Many activities and thoughts we
undertake have nothing to do with Jesus. Many thoughts and activities we enjoy are contrary
to ways pleasing to Jesus.
The Divine services of Great Lent give strength and instruction to believers.
Holy Confession and Holy Communion enable believers to be reconciled with Christ.
Great Lent is a joyful return to Christ. Great Lent is a journey of return to Christ
much like the return of the prodigal son to the father (Lk. 15:11-32).
Return to Christ involves forgiveness. Holy Confession involves forgiveness.
Today let us be serious about forgiveness. Let us forgive from the depths of our hearts.
Let us forgive freely and completely.
Let us begin anew with the Lord as our Guide, our Nourishment, our Foundation and our Goal.
Remember the words of the Psalmist throughout Great Lent: "Unless the Lord builds the house,
they labor in vain who build it." (Ps. 126/127:1)
1The Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Translated by Benedicta Ward.
Cistercian Publications, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1984, p. 205.
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
February 5 / February 18, 2007
Sunday of the Last Judgement.
Fr. Rodney Torbic
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