However, the Church can use the media to demonstrate our spiritual strength and our
commitment to the authentic teaching of Christ. These avenues can help us to educate,
to influence, and to communicate with our own flock, as well as with secular society,
rather than having the secular society transform the Church into its own image.
“Reflections of Conscience.”
The Path of Orthodoxy
November-December 1979, p. 2.
Remember the Students at St. Sava School of Theology, Libertyville, Illinois
--Great Lent is moving forward with certainty
--The services of Great Lent are well-specified.
--The services of Great Lent initiate change.
Recent Activities of Parish Priest
March 16-19 - Went to St. Milutin Serbian Orthodox Church in Jacksonville,
Florida for St. Petersburg Deanery Clergy Confession and Christian Education Meeting.
March 21 - Went to Holy Trinity Cathedral in Pittsburgh for Clergy Confession.
March 22 - Went to Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Fairmont, W.Va.
House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
The Fourth Sunday of Great Lent
Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a
mute spirit. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth,
gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should
cast it out, but they could not.” He answered and said to him, “ O faithless generation,
how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.”
Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him,
and he fell to the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. So He asked his father,
“How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, ‘From childhood. And often
he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You
can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you can
believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the
child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!” When Jesus
saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it:
“Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more. Then the
spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead,
so that many said, “He is dead..” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up,
and he arose. And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately,
“Why could we not cast it out?” So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing
but prayer and fasting.” Then they departed from there and passed through Galilee,
and He did not want anyone to know it. For He taught His disciples and said to them,
“The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him.
And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.”
Great multitudes followed Him---from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea,
and beyond the Jordan. And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when
He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them,
saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for
righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall
obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are
the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are
persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed
are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you
falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in
heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Becoming “new” in Christ is a continuing interest of serious believers. The
Holy Gospel offers essential nourishment for the soul. The current Gospel of
St. Mark emphasizes the importance of belief, prayer and fasting.
The Lord Jesus Christ was very clear. Jesus told the boy’s father that with
firm belief, all things were possible. Jesus instructed the disciples that healing
ailments such as experienced by the suffering child required prayer and fasting.
Being a Christian requires effort and concentration. Firm belief in Christ
requires a serious interest in Christ and a willingness to pray with certainty.
Fasting is a well-established Christian practice dating to the time of Christ.
Believers determine the degree they will heed the words of the Holy Apostle
Paul when he said: “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh
and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
(II Cor. 7:1)
Drawing near to Christ with prayer and fasting is central to the Lenten effort.
Growth in Christ is emphasized this particular Sunday of Great Lent.
This Sunday is devoted to St. John Climacus author of The Ladder of Divine Ascent.
St. John Climacus detailed the steps of Christian growth in his book:
The Ladder of Divine Ascent. St. John Climacus focused on the linking together
of faith, hope and love as the Thirtieth Step, the last step of growing in Christ.
In elaborating on the Thirtieth Step, St. John said: “He who loves the Lord
has first loved his brother, because the second is proof of the first.” 2
Jesus took time to heal the afflicted child. Jesus took time to teach the
child’s father and the disciples. Jesus has time to teach and listen to everyone
coming to Him in faith. Jesus continues to show His love for each person.
Great Lent is advancing towards Holy Week. Serious believers will intensify
their efforts to invest in the remaining days of Great Lent. The Church expects
every believer to honor Great Lent.
Growth comes when Christ is the center of life. Growth comes when Christ is
the foundation and goal of life. The current Gospel of St. Mark witnesses to the
healing power of Christ. Every person is in need of Christ’s healing power.
Every person has blemishes of the soul that need healed. Every person has
blemished thoughts that need eradicated. Every person utters words that should
never have been spoken.
The amount and kind of food eaten affects a person’s energy and demeanor.
Prayer and fasting are intended to keep the focus on Christ. St. John Climacus
cautions: “Master your stomach before it masters you; and then you are sure to
control yourself with the aid of shame.” 3
Great Lent involves control of the body and the mind with the specific purpose
of growth in Christ. Prayer and fasting are efforts necessary for avoiding pitfalls
in order to more fully experience Christ.
Experiencing the joy of Christ makes every effort worthwhile. The healed child
in the current Gospel and the child’s father had every reason to be grateful.
Believers are healed by Christ with great regularity. Christ deserves appreciation.
Forgiveness is a common form of healing by Christ. Holy Confession and Holy
Communion are experiences manifesting healing by Christ. On this Fourth Sunday,
let us seek the healing of Christ through increased prayer and fasting.
St. John Climacus. The Ladder of Divine Ascent.
Holy Transfiguration Monastery. Boston, Massachusetts, 2001, p. 225.
Ibid. ,p. 228.
Ibid., p. 100.
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
March 12 / March 25, 2012
Fourth Sunday of Great Lent.
Fr. Rodney Torbic
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