March 2017 Letter
Our blessed holy lent has started, which the fathers call “spring of spiritual life”, for it is the opportunity for spiritual struggle and growth. For our benefit let’s review an article by H.E. Metropolitan Pachomius’ on three spiritual war fares to be cautious about during lent:
“Fastings in the church are periods of spiritual recovery and growth for the children of God, but are also periods where the devil diligently seeks to hinder their spiritual struggle in every way to lose its blessings. Let us contemplate on these three war fares in the period of fasting:
- Doubting Wars: The devil seeks assiduously to make you doubt everything and anything. You are fasting: is fasting necessary for salvation? Why would God care about my fasting? You strive to live in repentance: do I really live a life of repentance? Will God actually accept my repentance? You proceed to take communion in doubt: am I worthy or not worthy? You have a father of confession: does he suit me or should I change him? You strive to live in the virtues, so he makes you doubt your meekness and purity of your goal and calmness, and their benefits as a method for life!!
Doubt makes man divided upon himself from the inside, facing tough thoughts that make him lose peace. Here I want you to note the commandment: “Be steadfast, immovable” (1Co 15: 58). Do not accept thoughts of doubt but subject every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10: 5). Measure every thought in light of the commandment because if you deliver yourself to your doubts you may lose your time and your repentance and your life. You’ll lose your years in the negatives and remain stationary in your place not progressing in the way. In time of doubt abide by these three: prayer, measuring your thoughts on the Biblical commandments, and spiritual counseling.
- Sins mashed by virtue: the devil always fights in crooked ways; making fun of others and making mockery of them and hurting them, thinking that this is a kind of friendliness!! You look at impure scenes, and think that this is love of art and desire to broaden your knowledge!! You don’t care about the dignity of your clothes, and say that this is elegance!! You try to cover mistakes, thinking that this is wisdom!! You may accept wrong teachings trying to keep pace with the evolution of the community!!
In this war man should strive to be honest with himself, be humble in his own eyes, and not to consider himself the most knowledgeable in faith, virtues and commandments, for then he will become very close to fall because he will become very close to pride. Revise your path and do not allow yourself to be righteous in your own eyes.
- Lose a virtue to acquire another: you may lose your meekness to defend the truth!! You may listen to inappropriate stumbling stories, thinking in yourself that you are guiding and directing!! You may seek to reconcile others while losing your peace!!
In this war, be sure to be a role model by living not speaking. Remember that you need wisdom and discernment so that the Lord would guide you in the way of salvation.
At the beginning of lent be careful of these three, so your fast be fruitful & pure before God.”
May the blessing of St. Mary, St. Mercurius and the holy lent be with us all. Amen.
Belleville, March 1, 2017