Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Yesterday we spoke about the importance of accepting that life can be a struggle. I invited you to come to terms with the Faith Problem and make the most of the Great Fast to appreciate that life is indeed a struggle. Today I invite you to look further inward and consider your own understanding. In today’s reading from Isaiah, we are warned about put too much credit “in your own sight.” The Prophet warns us, “Woe....” and the Great Fast is our chance to make good on his warnings.

We are midway through the second week of the Great Fast and our bodies have finally adjusted to the Lenten foods. You may even be realizing you have more energy than you did before. What does it mean to live the Orthodox life in the world? Lately it seems the world includes everything today’s reading from Isaiah warns us against, but we don’t have to be bound by the world nor do we either have to leave the world. In fact many misunderstand monasticism as a departure from the world’s temptations, but that would be far from the truth.  Monastics don’t escape the world’s temptations. Instead they have chosen to make the extraordinary commitment to fight their passions in a dedicated environment.

The world doesn’t care about how close (or not) you are from God. The world doesn’t care how difficult your spiritual journey may be during the Great Fast. So take a moment today and reflect internally on your journey and priorities for Lent, but don’t be fooled by the world. Just because the world says “good” doesn’t make it so, unless the world agrees with the Church. Look at your daily choices and evaluate how the Church would urge your decision vs. the world. It is my prayer you would side with the Church since the Church desires for you to grow closer to God.

Here are today’s Old Testament Readings:
Isaiah 5:16-25 (RSV) - But the LORD of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness.  Then shall the lambs graze as in their pasture, fatlings and kids shall feed among the ruins.  Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood, who draw sin as with cart ropes, who say: "Let him make haste, let him speed his work that we may see it; let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel draw near, and let it come, that we may know it!"  Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!  Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right!  Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.  Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people, and he stretched out his hand against them and smote them, and the mountains quaked; and their corpses were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away and his hand is stretched out still.
 Genesis 4:16-26 (RSV) -  Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden.  Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.  To Enoch was born Irad; and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael the father of Methushael, and Methushael the father of Lamech.  And Lamech took two wives; the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.  Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have cattle.  His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.  Zillah bore Tubalcain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.  Lamech said to his wives: "Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, hearken to what I say: I have slain a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me.  If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold." And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, "God has appointed for me another child instead of Abel, for Cain slew him."  To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time men began to call upon the name of the LORD.

Proverbs 5:15-6:3 (RSV) - Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well.  Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets?  Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you.  Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely hind, a graceful doe. Let her affection fill you at all times with delight, be infatuated always with her love.  Why should you be infatuated, my son, with a loose woman and embrace the bosom of an adventuress?  For a man's ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he watches all his paths.  The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is caught in the toils of his sin.  He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is lost. My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor, have given your pledge for a stranger; if you are snared in the utterance of your lips, caught in the words of your mouth; then do this, my son, and save yourself, for you have come into your neighbor's power: go, hasten, and importune your neighbor.

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