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Τρίτη, 24 Απριλίου 2018

Despondency When despondency seizes us


The renowned 19th century Russian saint, Seraphim of Sarov (1759-1833), said of himself, "I don't know anything". These words were remarkable coming from a hermit who was the most sought after spiritual adviser of his age, with even the Tsar seeking out his counsel. Yet Saint Seraphim recognized that he was but a funnel from which anything good that came out of him, was from God.

As a priestmonk, I am often troubled by the knowledge that I am a poor example to others, and that I fall short, daily, of living out the image of Christ in me. Yet I am compelled to live out every day with joyfulness of heart, no matter what. I am also compelled to preach, teach, and write of the things of the Lord, and to try to trust God, no matter what. I try, as best I can, to remember the words, "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice (Philippians 4:4)".

I try to remember the words of Saint Basil the Fool for Christ, whose holy relics reside in Saint Basil's Cathedral in Red Square, who said, "winter is cold, but paradise is sweet". Knowing that true validation comes only from God, I try not to be hurt when I do not receive validation from my peers, remembering that I am called upon to give to others, what I want to receive.

Like Saint Anthony the Great, I cry out to God, "where are You?", all the while floating in a river of grace. I want to be a friend of God, yet often feel like the chick who has been pushed out of the nest by the mother eagle.

Yet I am comforted by the counsel of Saint Seraphim, who instructed his spiritual children with the words: "When despondency seizes us, let us not give in to it. Rather, fortified and protected by the light of faith, let us with great courage say to the spirit of evil: "What are you to us, you who are cut off from God, a fugitive for Heaven, and a slave of evil? You dare not do anything to us: Christ, the Son of God, has dominion over us and over all. Leave us, you thing of bane. We are made steadfast by the uprightness of His Cross. Serpent, we trample on your head."

With love in Christ, 
Abbot Tryphon

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