Lent 2009 Message

Blessing to all of you, and to those of you who are my spiritual children in the vineyard… {Yes... this is a repeat message from last year, but one that is so important for true spiritual understanding}

 

With Lenten season upon us we prepare ourselves for the Great Feast of Feasts, Resurrection Day, often understood as being what is termed “Easter” or “Pascha”. 

 

The question which a lot of people who are not “Orthodox” Catholic Christians often ask, is: “What preparations are you talking about?”… Others say, “We fast!” and such other responses.

 

Actually, fasting is not sufficient!  It is not sufficient to make us competent to partake of the Body of Christ, the Communion.  Holiness is the first thing required.  Even, I, an unworthy repentant sinner in the vineyard being an Apostle of Jesus Christ’s in a long line of successive apostles, have difficulty in coming to holiness for it requires such a spiritual, and often material, struggle that we often find ourselves at a loss for both material and even spiritual strength in these times we live in.

 

One of the reasons this special struggle is so difficult for many is because of the resentments we sometimes hold within ourselves toward others knowingly and unknowingly.  Yes… many of us do entertain resentments toward other people and clergy alike, often without realizing it until after the fact!  Thus, during Lent we are called to make a more in-depth self-examination of ourselves.

 

If we are not able to enjoy the sacred Table of our Lord because of known and unknown resentments, anger, and other within us, how can we even expect God to forgive us but to hold His law against us as recompense? 

 

It is because of this that fasting, in addition to many days of solemn assemblies, prayers and hearing the teachings are appointed so that being cleansed by this earnestness during the whole year, we may with spiritual boldness, religiously partake of that unbloody sacrifice.

 

Yet, when Lenten season comes, we find that we may not have been as attendant to our duty as we should.  Thus, this special time of year provides, during Lent, for closer examination of our unworthy self.

 

As said, fasting is not sufficient.  For if it were that fasting, by itself, would be sufficient, our sacrifice in fasting would actually be an insult to God, and, all our labor would be in vain.

 

As men, we often become lazy and therefore negligent during the year, thus the Lenten season give us ample time to reflect and more diligently care for that which is lacking by our fasting, by prayers, meditation, seeking repentance through certain acts and actions as well as dutiful confession. 

 

No one should rest merely on the fast; for while continuing in unreformed evil practices which always involve one’s thoughts, words and actions; they avail themselves nothing good.  It is possible, though, that the one who foregoes fasting may obtain pardon, having an infirmity of the body is a cause. 

 

Bodily infirmity cannot be used as an excuse when the inner man holds envy, resentments and anger of any kind.  Such must be reconciled.  The fornicator, the adulterer, even the blasphemer cannot partake of the sacred Table, the Body of Christ.  So it is impossible that he who has an enemy, bears resentment, malice or anger deep within themselves, can not enjoy the spiritual benefits of Holy Communion either.  Yet, these very ones, through the act and action of manifesting sincere and true repentance and penance can obtain some relief.  But he who is resentful, works the same iniquity every day and never brings it to an end.  In the instance of the fornicator, the adulterer and blasphemer, theirs is ended!  But for the one who holds resentments, does resentful works daily by their very thoughts and words, even  sometimes by their actions… it is perpetrated day after day, after day.  How can one ask our Lord to be mild and merciful when one has been so hard and unforgiving in the past and present to those whom they hold anger, resentment and malice toward?  It is impossible!

 

If your fellow brother or sister in the vineyard, in day-to-day life, has treated you with contempt, perhaps you have treated God with contempt.  What comparison is there between a fellow traveler in this life whom you have met and walked with a distance and that of the Lord?  If God chose to rigorously search out what is done against Him, we should not live as long as a day!  What if he were to scrutinize our listlessness and negligence in our failure to take time for meditation, for prayer, for participating in Divine Liturgy, in honoring the Saints, and more?  While standing before Him with supplications, not exhibiting even so much as fear, as servants and workers do toward their bosses or masters, or even soldiers toward their superior officers… then we have not the understanding in ourselves toward Him that we should, for indeed we can say that He loves all His children and that He is compassionate and understanding, but even children have fear of the terrible punishment they could incur if they do not obey their earthly father; so we should also have that same kind of fear toward Him who is our creator and object of our worship. 

 

How often we PRESUME and ASSUME on the patience and loving-kindness of our Lord.  The ‘presumption’ itself may be a most grievous sin too!  Thinking that you will obtain the forgiveness, you become listless, your very mind suffers as it wanders wily-nilly to other things of the earth, of material concern, not to the Lord and His Commandments. 

 

What of oaths, of lying, of perjury, unjust anger, of envy, of the malice within our hearts which we often regard men when honored? What of the fact that we account the misfortunes of others a consolation for our own distress? Especially when we see others suffer the horrors of a flood or earthquake, do we not often times, in the hidden recesses of our mind say something like, “Thank you God that it wasn’t me who was struck with such misfortune?” That is a sin within that must be rooted out by offering sacrifice to the Lord our God with prayers, meditation, repentance and confession; prayers for those who suffered, for the souls of those who lost their lives in the destruction.  Even during times of war, for our soldiers, for the civilians encompassed by their proximity of residence in a war-torn area, even those of other religions… we must pray for them!

 

There are so very many transgressions we have indeed committed which no other person knows; and when we think about them, we often fail to recall that on the Day of Judgment these our sins will be exposed to the eyes of all upon the public theater of the universe itself for which our pain will go beyond any punishment we have yet known for we will be choked and strangled by our conscience. There is a possibility of purging away this shame through meditation, repentance, penance and forgiveness when physically exercised toward our neighbor (yes… our neighbor is also those whom we oft times call our enemy), our brother or sister in this walk of life whom we have disfigured in our mind’s eye with the resentments, anger, malice and other hostilities we have held or acted on… Oh such bitter contempt towards others we have held within us that has compiled day by day on our very soul. 

 

How will you plea your cause before the Lord?  Will you say, “I fasted” in repentance?  Or that my bodily infirmity kept me from fasting?  Will you say, “I prayed, but I was interrupted by others?” or that “I meant to give to the poor but found my own self in poverty?”

 

Suppose I were to say, “Get rid of your frigidness of heart and get rid of your anger, your malice, your hostilities if you wish to be a true participant at the altar?”  How would you plead to the Lord now?  Neither infirmity of body, nor your poverty, nor lack of culture, nor want of leisure, nor any other thing will help you to advance in spirit until you rid yourself of the sin(s) we have thus far discussed.  Do not pretend with yourself, for there is no human being who does not have or held, at one time or another, a resentment, malice, envy, greed in thought (word and deed?) towards someone else.  How will you be able to stretch forth your hands to the Altar of sacrifice, toward God, and ask for pardon while the touch of those sins within you remain; while you still retrain some shred of those hostilities toward someone?

 

God desires to pardon you of your sins, but you – yourself do not suffer to obey Him and that of your fellow man through such that shows a true turning within. 

 

Suppose the one who you hold hostilities toward is cruel, fierce, even savage and greedy by seeking revenge and retaliation against you?  How will you act or have acted? 

 

What about the ones who have gossiped about you which is a form of slander?  Have you been wronged much by those gossipers, those slanderers, those who have injured you in matters of first importance to yourself?  Don’t you often times wish to take revenge against them? Haven't you also participated in gossiping about others without knowing the full and complete truth of what you are claiming to know about the one whom your are gossiping about?  You slander him if you have entertained such an action.  Whether over the phone or in a small group of other people, or even by e-mail or other communications, you have participated in the gossip.  How often you, on hearing gossip from someone who claims to know something, personally, about a person you have been gossiping about... did you do the Christ-like thing and go to the person being discussed and had a face-to-face or first hand encounter with that person to obtain truth?  Did you take a situation or circumstance and played one-upmanship on that person with foreknowledge that what you are doing and saying is not Christian, is not WHOLLY true, right, or correct?

 

How often have you prayed for and may be even participated in their destruction or their being equally hurt?  That is a form of vengeance, of retaliation.  If, sometimes, they are clergy who have done something against you, instead of praying that God heap abuses on them, why not pray for the repentance and change of heart? 

 

Inasmuch as some of us know other clergy whose attitude and actions are so very ethnic, even arrogant, elitistic in approach, are sometimes rather deceitful; we pray for their being given a change of heart and good health, along with material and spiritual prosperity.  For this in the doing, will bring upon them God’s justice because the prayer from your heart along this line of approach, if it is truly sincere, will cause for your own self to be blessed by God as well as those who have been doing you the harm because God will aide in changing their heart and mind toward you. 

 

If you do not act in this more appropriate way out of sincerity of heart, I can truly testify before you that God will not prosecute your desire to heap wrath upon the wrongdoer, but bring to bound upon yourself those things you have prayed for, which will also carry a heavier penalty for you as a despiser of Him whom you worship, our Lord, God!

 

Do you show all humanity toward your brother and your enemy alike? 

 

Has your neighbor, your brother grieved you in such a way that you have been involved in a thousand times the anguish, pain and suffering un-necessarily that your response was to pray for a thousand vengeances in return? 

 

Do not pray for such but yield the matter to God Himself and He will dispose of it much better than you can desire.  To you, God has given charge simply to pray for the injurer; but how to deal with him, He has ordered you to leave the matter to Himself.  Never can you so avenge yourself as He is prepared to avenge you, if you give place to Him alone and do not utter imprecations on him who has aggrieved you; but suffer God to be sole arbiter of the sentence.  For although we may pardon those who have aggrieved us, although we may be reconciled, although we may pray for them, yet God does not pardon, unless they themselves are converted within their heart and mind, and become better.  And, He withholds pardon, with a view to their own advantage.  For He praises you, and approves you for your spiritual wisdom; but visits him, in order that he may not grow worse by your wisdom.  The eye that slumbers not has seen your good intention; wherefore, it behooves you to make no account of the opinion of your fellow-servants, workers, brothers and sisters, for you have gained the opinion of Judge Himself, God, Who is about to try your cause.

 

Do not pardon the offending person who has harmed you in the desire of a greater punishment for him, but of your tenderness and good will; yet understand this very plainly, that the more he shall slight you, while you are laboring to conciliate through prayer, so much the greater punishment will he draw down upon himself. 

 

Let no one who has an enemy draw near to the sacred Table, or receive the Lord’s Body who has any lingering taint of vengeance or harmful will in their heart and mind toward another, be s/he friend of foe.  Do not draw near to that blessed and sacred Table until you have thoroughly reconciled before you touch the Holy Things.  For some of you who are true ordained clergy, these admonitions are especially for you.  For if you are clergy, you do an injustice to God and the faithful for whom you prepare the great sacrifice in Divine Liturgy and are counted by God unworthy and heap punishment upon yourself for a grievance by the people even though they may know not your own condition or state. 

 

In Matthew 5:23, 24 we learn something that is not just for clergy, but more so for all the faithful… “So if you are offering your gift…” meaning yourself, “at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, go, first be reconciled to your brother”.  This means you cannot just ‘forgive’ them in your mind and heart, but that you must unconditionally forgive them through repentance and the act of penance is to straightaway try to reconcile with your brother directly.  If he shall not forgive you or accept your forgiveness, you have done your duty to God and him.

 

Do not think it is a dishonor in the eyes of God that you left the gift un-offered, and do not think it a mark of disgrace to go first and be reconciled. 

 

If you were to see a member of yours cut off you would most surely seek every method and use every exertion so that it might be reunited to the Body.  So to you must do this with regards to a brother, even an enemy where possible, for when you see them cut off from your friendship, make all haste to recover them.  Do not wait for them to make the first advance, but press onward so that you may be foremost to receive the spiritual prize which begins at the altar where you left the un-offered gift which is now obtainable; for actually you have, by your action, obtained it.

 

There is only one enemy!  That is the Evil One, the Devil, Satan who is the great deceiver.  Never be reconciled with him whatsoever!  Never let the sun of each day go down with anger still in your heart and mind for it will fester into the next day, and the next day, and the next and so on; compounding the shame of the sin of your soul!

 

Dearly beloved brothers and sisters who are my spiritual children… I write of these things for Lent because I have traveled the road from which the words of the Gospel has seeped inward to where my experiences, coupled with the Gospel; has strengthened me.  Although I have not yet arrived at the fullness of Orthodox Catholic Christian truth as given by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I can tell you truly that the blending of the Life and Teaching of Him who is our God, and coupled with my own day-to-day experiences; a blending, of sorts, a mixing of sorts, has taken place whereby the Life and Teachings seep slowly inwardly, but that it does seep in and take abode most assuredly.  For there are many over the years who have wronged me and I wronged in return… and the experiences I have gone through is proof to me of Gospel truth not as just mere words, phrases and sayings.  To live the Gospel truth requires action in one's thoughts, in one's words and very much more so in one's daily activities.  Who said it would be easy is either a Saint already or a someone who has failed and refused to understand. 

 

As often as many of you have seen and heard me say that I would rather have ten x-convicts who are sincerely repentant than to have those who parallel the Sadducees and Pharisees; is mostly because, when we examine the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, we learn that it was with publicans, sinners, drunkards and worse with whom he sat at the supper table; for many became disciples and were converted in their hearts and minds…

 

Far too many clergy today of all the various jurisdictions, including Protestant denominations, think of themselves as having to be blameless and appear ‘perfect’.  Only our Lord was Perfect!  When the veneer of self-importance, vanity, arrogance and elitism is striped away, there you will find a clergyman who has indeed been a sinner! 

 

Many of them claim, “Oh, yes, I am a sinner” only because Holy Scripture claims we are sinners.  But never do they say what and when or how or any kind of evidence to show themselves as being what they are.  In short, as one of our monks recently said… Priests, Ministers, Pastors, Bishops are all alike, they are afraid to get off their ‘ivory’ soap-boxes.  For myself, I have to use either an apple crate or a strong cardboard box… for both cave in to truth, the weight of our sinfulness! 

 

The ultimate desire of God is the salvation of mankind, which can be attained by those who accept the full Truth.  This is granted to all people through revelation in Scripture and Apostolic Sacred Tradition.  The Christian, the Orthodox Catholic Christian, who is a true and sincere believer is called to hold this truth by searching Holy Scripture and sacred Tradition under the guidance and interpretation of the Church.  As such, the Truth is a dynamic power which should penetrate the mind and heart of the believer.  But it is also important to note that oral sacred tradition is not to be identified with various customs and other traditions, although some have an educational  and symbolic meaning.  Sacred Tradition teaches the truths of salvation, while customary traditions assist the believer in expressing one's worship more vividly, if they are carefully applied and kept.  As an example; the belief in the Holy Trinity taught in Scripture and formulated by Sacred Tradition is a redemptive truth that should be pronounced and confessed by the believer seeking salvation.  On the other hand, lighting candles, making the sign of the cross, kneeling, etc. are pious customs which help the believer to express reverent feelings, provided they are properly and prayerfully used.  They are means, not ends in themselves; they are not in themselves beliefs related to salvation.

 

These many customs do not augment nor should they detract from self-examination and all that has been thus far said above.  These custom-traditions should not be used as substitutes for the true confession of redemptive faith.  If they are, they deceive their user, and wrongly become the masters and the main objects of observances and worship .  Ignorance of the true faith causes these customs to become the main practice of faith and worship, misleading the believer.  It is imperative for a true Orthodox Catholic Christian to be able to discriminate clearly between Sacred Tradition and the correct use of customary traditions.  These customs should be used only as outward expressions for the higher and divine belief in Christ and His Gospel.  They should be used alongside of doing those necessary things in the heart, in the mind, in tandem with the body (action) to make correction of self and in aiding others in correcting themselves, with discernment between inner truth and outward action.

 

The faithful Orthodox Catholic Christian should apply and practice dynamic Truth in his everyday life to become a better communicant of Jesus Christ and His Church in which he will find salvation. 

 

Apostle Paul exclaims to the faithful believer; "God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.  To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  So then brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thess. 2:13-15).

 

With this Pascha, prepare yourselves and be honest with yourselves so that you can be honest with God. Also, it is highly suggested you visit our special Pascha web page for additional understanding.

 

This link was placed later (after authorship) of the lent 2006 letter/mesage:

Who are the modern day Pharisees who abuse and misuse the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ?

 

Pray for me, an unworthy repentant one in the vineyard of this earthly life who prays for all of you, both known and unknown….

+Joseph Thaddeus (Stanford), OSB, SSJt., Ph.D.

                     Metropolitan Archbishop, Archabbot, Primate

 

Religion of the Future

 

True meaning of Lent

 

Metropolitan's Message

 

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HOLY ORDERS  Who Are The Thaddean Fathers? 

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Can You See Where We Are Heading? - God, Man & the World - Awake I

  God, Man & the World - Part B - Awake II - Continuation of ‘One World Government’, ‘One World Religion’ & the ‘One World banking System’

 God, Man & the World - Part C - Awake III - THE UNITED NATIONS, THE INTERNATIONAL MONEY FUND AND THE WORLD BANK:

God, Man & the World - Part D - Awake IV - Tavistock Institute, the Best Kept Secret in America

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God, Man & the World - Part H - Awake VIII - A Closer Look at the One World Order and Bible Prophecy – Part I

God, Man & the World - Part I - Awake IX - A Closer look at the One World Order and Bible Prophecy – Part II - The Culture War in America

  God, Man & the World - Part J - Awake X - A Closer Look at the One World Order and Bible Prophecy – Part III - The Devaluation of Life

 

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Ever since a mentally challenged individual "fraudulently" (as it is opined, and alleged) brought an action in  a local Luna County, New Mexico District Court against our Vlaydka and those with him in spirit and in truth, we are still culling the web site for potential problems relating directly to her as she and those who she is with had published a rather dishonorable news rage with alleged white supremist (Nazi?) connections who hate anything "Catholic" (be it of the Roman or Orthodox Catholic Jurisdictions).

Why News for an Orthodox Catholic Christian Church Website?

Daily News is very important to those who are true Orthodox Catholic Christians.  For without knowing or gaining information for understanding about what is happening in one's local area and around the world, you could  find yourself faced with denied services in the secular area, lack of income, even (although it sounds far-fetched) ability to worship openly for the time is not far off when all will have to decide if they wish to follow the Anti-Christ through the One World Church and One World Government as prophesied by the Apocalypse, the Book of Revelation of St. John or follow the faith delivered once and for all which will cause for many to be denied the abilities to survive under those kind of conditions, causing for one to consider other options. 

 

Many of those who subscribe to, and some who have caused or are the cause for, these things to happen are involved in or with the Roman Jurisdiction of the Catholic Church (which is not the seat of all things "Catholic") as well as its protestant daughters such as the cultic Jehovah's Witnesses, the Pentecostal Churches, the Church of Latter Day Saints also known as the Mormon Church and far too many more to list. 

 

Yet, at this web site we do provide some of the reasons about why they are opined to be the harbingers of that which is prophesied in Holy Scripture for the bringing about of the End Times which we have already entered.  It is not necessarily their individual members or parishioners that should be blamed since they are only the "Sheep" and not the Shepherds... So do not think we castigate individual people of themselves as we castigate those "money changers" who Jesus Christ chased out of His Father's House as the Bible Describes; for they exist in these present times too.

 

Events are already rushing toward that time in which this is beginning to happen and will become more fully wide-spread. In these present times all you need to really do is look around both your local and larger areas as to what is really on-going through.  Things so very little or miniscule that they are barely noticeable except to the more informed observer may become apparent. 

Those little things are the laws of the land, economics, politics, the degrading and erosion of those rights and liberties afforded by the Constitution of these United States of America and many other things such as the manner with which entertainments have taken over much of the populace, entering into and becoming a major focus in worship, and more. 

We ask you, if you don't want to believe us... Have you heard, seen or found what is termed (of the many terms being used) that there are "holding areas" or "camps" or "Closed/Fenced communities" being built by GOVERNMENT? 

Here in North America, especially in the United States of America, we must admit that what Russia has come out of (a communistic, atheist country) we are entering into.  And one last thing that needs also to be understood... Something very important to those of you who are "Catholic" in the Roman sense of its jurisdiction....   And, we believe this also holds true for many who are "Orthodox" whether "Eastern" or "Western"....

"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern. The West was Orthodox for a thousand years, and her venerable liturgy is far older than any of her heresies."

- Blessed St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco

 

So, as said, Daily News is very important to the true Orthodox Catholic Christian.

 

 

AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

and the

NORTH AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

VISITORS BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Mailing Address Only: 412 So. Copper St., Deming, NM 88030

(575) 546-9923

Institutions include, but are not limited to the following:

 

Catholic Christian Church, Orthodox Benedictine,

Holy Order and Society of St. Jude Thaddeus

Brotherhood of St. John Maximovitch & the Holy Theotokos

 

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