MAKE AN EFFORT TO RESIST TEMPTATION (October 10, 2021)

 

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Mt. (6:13) Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ in the Lord’s Prayer we read, “and lead us not into temptation” we ask God to protect us against all temptations which come to us from evil persons, from the infirmities of our body and especially from the evil spirit (devil). Our Lord God does not tempt anyone. When God allows temptation-trial to come upon us, then it is to test our Faith and pious living. Therefore, we ask Him to help us overcome the temptation and avoid sin. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mt.26.41)

“Some people are more prone to temptation than others, but it is possible for everyone to practice and succeed in using willpower to resist temptations”

Recognize temptation.

Did anyone ever ask you to do something that was wrong? Or did he say that it would be fun and that it would be not really wrong to do it. When someone does this to us, he is trying to temp us. What will you do if you are tempted? Should we give in and do what is wrong?

Be honest. If you’re refusing something or someone that’s tempting you, don’t feel guilty or like you need to lie. Be honest about why you’re refusing something. No matter what others say, we should never do things that God says are wrong. In that way, we will always make God happy, and we will never please the Devil.

Keep away from temptation. Make it easier to deal with temptation by getting away from what tempts you. For instance, if you’re trying to quit smoking, avoid places that you frequently smoked. You may even want to avoid people that you usually smoked with.

More information about how to resist temptation to do wrong can be found at Psalm 1:1, 2; Proverbs 1:10, 11; and Timothy 2:22.

 

Meditation on God’s Word: “In the image and likeness of God.” (Spiritual Message. October 3, 2021)

Dear Parishioners and Friends, whether we like it or not (most of us not), a mirror does not lie. It always shows us exactly as we are, flaws and all. A mirror merely reflects our real and true self. The Book of Genesis tell us that we have been made “in the image and likeness of God.” In like manner, those who profess to be Orthodox Christians are said to be “mirror images” of our Lord. In other words, those around us should be able to look at us and see the reflection of Christ. All of our thoughts, words, deeds and feelings should be consistent with His actions. To put it simply, Christ must be constantly visible in us.

It is important to note that this does not happen without effort on our part. To reach the point where we can confidently say that we are “Christ’s reflection “requires a great deal of attention. Only through prayer, fasting, reading the Scriptures and Living the Gospel can this be accomplished, we cannot be Christ -like if He does not dwell in our heart!

We should allow God to mold and shape us into what He wants us to be. We are the masterpiece of His creation – “diamonds in the rough” – waiting to be refined and polished by our Creator.

As the beginning of the new Ecclesiastical Church Year started recently on Tuesday, September 14th we should all strive to become Orthodox Christians who will truly reflect, with glory, the image of God that lies deep within all of us.

 

God Bless You All and I hope to

see you in church on Sunday.

Fr. Roman

 

STEWARDSHIP IS A WAY OF LIFE! (Spiritual Message. September 5, 2021)

We have all been confronted with the complaints of friends or family members, bemoaning the fact that they seem to have no free time in their hectic schedule. Empathize with them, and then proceed to tell them that they are right!

As Orthodox Christians, our time is never totally free, nor is it really ours! God has granted all of us a certain amount of years on earth. What we do with this time is called STEWARDSHIP. There are many things in our life which give us the opportunity to serve as stewards: our family, our neighbors, our work and our Church, just to name a few. One day, we will all come before the Father and He will ask us what we did with our time on earth. This is stewardship.

Stewardship is more than a financial commitment, when is the usual image this term conjures up in the mind. It transcends money, calling for a total dedication to serving the Lord to the best of our abilities in all aspects of our life. Orthodox Christians are stewards of God’s love, and of God’s image that is presented to us through Christ Jesus. We are stewards of the kingdom of God, and our bodies, of the earth and the environment. Yes, stewardship encompasses a vast variety of areas of interest!

In a perfect world, stewardship would fulfill that time which we call “free” and the word “stewardship” would, perhaps, have a fuller and richer connotation than it does in today’s world. That “perfect world”, however, is the kingdom of God, which has been disclosed fully only through Jesus Christ. As Orthodox Christians, we have the chance to learn of the kingdom of God through practicing our faith and living as stewards of all that God has entrusted to us.

 

MYSTERY OF THE

HOLY TRINITY

One of the most remarkable of icons in the Christian Church is that of the monk Andrew Rublev who lived from 1370 to 1430. At first sight, one would not think of this icon as the traditional and authentic representation of the Holy Trinity. What one initially sees is a group of three figures sitting at a table. But, remember, the Trinity itself is mystery, and any attempt to set this mystery into iconographic terms is fraught with difficulties.

What we have, then is a historical scene from the Old Testament whish tells of the visit of three men to Abraham and Sarah under the oak tree at Mambre. The story is told in the 18th chapter of Genesis. The Church has interpreted and designated this as a representation of the Holy Trinity. Indeed, it is the icon of the Trinity whish the Church feels best conforms to its theology.

The visitors to Abrahan are depicted as Angels to show that they belong to the heavenly realm. Notice how the wings are inter-twined to indicate unity. There is a flowing, circular movement in the depiction of the three. There is also an austerity – the table is all but bare, containing only the dish with a sacrificial animal, considered a symbol of the Eucharist. Even Abraham and Sarah are absent. The home of Abrahan forms the background, and the oak is shown. There is a silence, a solemnity about the figures. One senses the peace, the inner communication. The faces and figures are all but identical, although the coloring is not.

This is surely an icon to be reflected on.

  SPIRITUAL  MESSAGE

Trinity Sunday ( June 20, 2021)

A “BIRTHDAY” CELEBRATION 

Perhaps the most significant day in our life is our birthday. We are never “too young” to celebrate it, nor are we ever “too old” not to remember it! Yes, a birthday is always a day of festive commemoration.

Pentecost has long been referred to as the “Birthday of the Church.” On this day, we observe the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, who had gone to Jerusalem on the command of our Lord to await this divine guidance from above. With the rushing of the wind and the descent of tongues of fire, the Holy Spirit came to these twelve loyal, but timid, followers of Christ, filling them with the zeal necessary for them to undertake and complete the commission given to them: GO AND TEACH ALL NATIONS! This “birthday celebration” had over 3,000 “guests”, for the Book of Acts tells us that this was the number of converts won over to Christianity that day when the Apostles took the message of the Gospel into the streets of Jerusalem.

The Feast Day of Pentecost is steeped in rich tradition. Some churches will be lavishly adorned with flowers and greens as a reminder that just as nature is rendered in this manner at the coming of Spring, so, too, the Church and her faithful have been renewed by the coming of the Holy Spirit. On this fiftieth day after Pascha, lengthy, elaborate kneeling prayers are prescribed, as we repeatedly invoke the Holy Spirit to COME AND DWELL WITHIN US.

Pentecost is also a time for every Orthodox Christian to remember that each of us have received the same exhortation from Christ that the Apostles were given. Our task, too, is to carry the Good News to the ends of the earth! The Holy Spirit comes to US today, strengthening and encouraging us as we strive to spread God’s Word to the unchurched.

“Through the Holy Spirit”, writes St. Basil the Great, “our return to paradise is achieved, we are elevated to the heavenly kingdom and become once more the children of God.” Yes, it is truly through the workings of the Holy Spirit that our appointed work can be accomplished.

OUR JOURNEY TO PASCHA GREAT LENT

The first Sunday of the great Fast is called the Sunday of Orthodoxy in our Church. It is a day when we take a long and deep look at our Christian Faith, the ancient Faith of our fathers.

As for fasting, it is important to know why we fast and how to fast. St. John Chrysostom in one of his sermons, he said this about fasting: “The value of fasting consists not in abstinence from food, but in relinquishing of sinful practices… Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works. If you see a poor man, take pity on him. If you see a friend being honoured, do not envy him. Do not let only your mouth fast, but also the eye, the ear, the feet, and the hands… Let the hands fast by being pure from avarice. Let the feet fast by ceasing from running to forbidden spectacles. Let the eyes fast by not fixing themselves rudely on handsome countenances. Let the ear also fast. This consists in not listening to evil talk and calumnies. It has been said: Thou shalt not receive an idle report. Let the mouth also fast from words and railing. For what good is it if we abstain from meat, but bite and devour our brothers?”

 

THOUGHTS ABOUT THE LENTEN SEASON

WHAT IS THE GREAT FAST? It is a tithe of the year, some 40 days set aside for spiritual discipline to prepare us for the greatest of Christian feasts, the Resurrection of Our Lord.

Did Christ fast? Yes, indeed. Following His baptism in the Jordan, Jesus went into seclusion in the desert and spent forty days and nights in prayer and fasting. This was His preparation for beginning His public ministry.

What is involved in fasting? To fast means to eat sparingly, that is, to cut down on the amount of food consumed. Abstaining is different. It means the elimination of certain foods from the diet. This usually involves meat and its by-products.

Is that all there is to Lent? No, that is but one aspect, involving the discipline of the flesh. But we are spirit, too, so the Church Fathers speak of the fasting of the soul. St. John Chrysostom says. “The value of fasting consists not so much in abstinence from food, as in relinquishment of sinful practices.”

What about prayer and worship? Now we come to the heart of the Great Fast. Prayer is the key to the renewal of life, to repentance. We stop looking outward and look inward. There is an element of silence. And then there is worship. The wise men came and “worshipped Him,” falling to their knees in adoration.

What about Holy Confession and Communion? These represent a high point in religious experience in the Fast. For here we cleanse our souls and receive Christ Himself into our lives as we come to the Eucharist. Jesus Himself proclaimed. “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man… and drink His blood… you have no life in you…


    It’s never too late to repent…

SUNDAY OF THE PRODIGAL SON

(February 28, 2021)

Throughout His public ministry, Christ preached the message of repentance, and stressed the forgiving nature of His Heavenly Father. On this second Pre-Lenten Sunday, The Orthodox Church places before us the most classic example of this, the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

In this well-known story, the younger son impatiently demands his share of his promised inheritance, and sets out on his own. He soon finds, however, that his new-found independence and    wealth do not bring him happiness. His fortune disappears very quickly. His “friends” desert him in an equally rapid manner. Soon, he is left with nothing.

From the depths of his despair, the Prodigal Son has one glimmer of hope, his Father. Swallowing his pride and recognizing the folly of his wasteful and sinful behavior, the Prodigal Son begins his long journey home, hoping that his Father will, at least, treat him like one of the servants.

The welcome he received, however, went far beyond his expectations. His Father and his entire household rejoiced that this “lost son” had returned home safely! No lectures or reprimands were given, only the warm embrace of a father delighted that his son had returned to his home and to his senses.

Sin brings all of us down to the level experienced by the Prodigal Son. At such times, we are confronted with two distinct choices, remain in such a hopeless state, or follow the example of the Prodigal Son and arise and return to our Father. It is never too late to repent. Our Heavenly Father awaits our return to Him with outstretched loving arms. His capacity to forgive is without limit.

As we approach Great Lent, the season of repentance, may this wonderful parable encourage us to return to the road that will lead us back to our Father… and to our salvation.

Hello children of Holy Trinity Cathedral! 

This is Saint Nicholas, emailing to let you know that I haven’t forgotten about you all this year, I am coming to visit! Though I won’t get to hear and see you all perform your poems and songs this year, I know you would have done a fantastic job! For all your hard work and kindness this year, I am bringing each one of you a special present for Saint Nicholas Day, full of treats to enjoy! Please have your parents arrange to pick up your presents from the church office after Saturday, December 19th, by calling in advance: 604-876-4747.

 HO HO HO and Happy Holidays! 

   IN TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY FIND PEACE AND HOPE 

“Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” (Holy Bible. Matthew 11:28)

There is a popular commercial for an antacid that asks the question: “How do you spell relief?” It continues on, and gives the name of a particular product which, in reality, is probably no better, or no worse, than any other on the market!

If that same question were posed to us in a much broader sense: “How do you spell relief? Relief from coronavirus, worry and anxiety…. relief from the problems and difficulties of daily life…. relief from temptation and sin… there is only one answer that any Orthodox Christian could give. For us, relief is spelled C-H-R-I-S-T.

Life is often a tremendous struggle. Who would have thought that the year 2020 will be such a challenging one? We are all tired from COVID-19. Even the strongest of individuals needs assistance in dealing with the pressures of living in what is often called the “New Normal.”

How comforting it is to know that Christ is always there for us. He will never abandon those who faithfully follow him. As the Psalmist tells us: “The Lord is our strength and our song, and has become our salvation.” We can always rely on His grace and His love, which will see us through the darkest of the pandemic.

“Come to me!” Christ never forces Himself upon us, but He invites all of us to take up His “easy calling.” Relief will truly be ours if we accept this blessed invitation.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PASTOR:

Dear Parishioners and Friends, time flies by very fast, autumn is right around the corner. This is a time when parents and grandparents will register their children for Sunday School classes. It is very important, Our Children Are Our Future. “I’m glad my children have grown up. I would hate to be raising them in today’s world.” How often do we hear this sentiment expressed in our material, immoral society? Trying to instill spiritual values in the new generation of young people is seemingly an insurmountable challenge. Where do we turn for guidance as we attempt to keep our children on a proper path, a path that will enable them to establish a foundation in their lives which is firmly planted on knowing right from wrong.
There are no new answers to that question, no new approaches to take. Indeed, to deal with the problem of the present, we must look back at the solution the Church has offered in the past. Moral truth can never change, no matter what may be going on in the world around us. The enduring teachings of Church Fathers still must be our “resource manual” for correctly raising our children. Here are a few wise thoughts that have been passed down to us. “If from the beginning we fix good rules for our children, good habits will be formed. Let us not allow them to do what may be agreeable, but hurtful to them. We may need to admonish them and warn them. Remember: we are charged to keep our children free from evil.” –St. John Chrisostom. “Rear your children in the Lord. Teach them from their infancy the Word of God. Discipline them when needed, and render them respectful to authority.” -The Apostolic Constitutions “Teach your children this lesson: the rewards of evil are temporary. The rewards from Godliness are eternal.” – St. Cyprian  

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