Real-time confession

New-to-me-iconography in church. Most Holy Theotokos Joy of All Who Sorrow.
The left is an icon of the Prayer of the Optina Elders. The right is a book by Frederica Mathewes-Green

I attended Divine liturgy for the first time in months and did real-time confession for the first time in a year.

As I was driving to church I decided to stay for the whole thing as in; don’t-leave-after-taking-the-Eucharist as I normally would have done in the past. The Bishop sent out an email lifting certain restrictions and I was determined to do everything that had been forbidden in the past year because of Covid. I venerated icons, now with no gold mesh barrier across the bottom. I sang, sans mask, I venerated the cross the priest holds at the end of service.

All in all it was a good morning.

Back to my purchases and the new icons in church.

The top pic shows one of the many new-to-me icons on the walls at church. Most Holy Theotokos Joy of All Who Sorrow is now residing above the full length icon of St. Xenia.

There are a couple more I took pics of but I’m holding onto them for future posts.

Let’s talk about the book; First Fruits of Prayer, a Forty Day Journey Through the Canon of St. Andrew by Frederica Mathewes-Green.

I don’t know much about it!

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I was visiting with the woman who runs the bookstore and she basically thrust it into my hands so I could buy it. That’s pretty much how she recommends books.

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It’s good though. I was looking for something for Lent but it’s kind of like looking in the fridge constantly hoping the thing you want will just manifest.Like maybe on the 100th look inside the refrigerator fairy will give up and turn that moldy lump of cheese into German chocolate cake!

So here I go reading book with the word, canon on the cover and I had no idea what the word canon meant and had to go look it up.

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I KNOW, right?!

So now I have 40… that’s FORTY days of this. Sigh… fine… whatever.

A better pic of the icon from Uncut Mountain Supply.

Prayer of the Optina Elders Plaque – Vertical –(POE10)

That’s my update for now. Church! There you go.

Binging is gluttony

assorted-color fruits on display
Photo by, Luis Aguila from Unsplash @5thsun

Have you heard about ‘Covid 15 or Covid 10’? It is not a new strain of the virus but a reference to the weight people are gaining during the pandemic. I for one have been eating like it is my job. My assignment, should I choose to accept it is to consume as many calories as possible everyday.

That is not really my assignment, but I have been living as if it were. It’s not just Covid stress. It’s the Covid stress compounded with normal life stresses, the general lawlessness in American right now (especially seen in how people drive AND how we are treating each other). It all adds up.

Normal stress reducing techniques are replaced by things we know are not good for us but we justify their necessity. When I confessed this to my priest, this is what he wrote back.

 Thanks be to God, He is merciful!    Let us gain a “broken and contrite heart” from observing and confessing our passions.   We are weak indeed….  And the current cultural oppression of pandemic and politics seem to drive us all the more easily toward the passions for some degree of relief and escape, if not simply “excuse”.   In the “High Priestly Prayer” of our Lord in John 17 He prays:  “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”  It would sure be easier if we could be taken “out of the world”….   Keeping ourselves from “evil” is a lot more work!   Nonetheless, our Lord is with us and prays for us…. So that in Him “all things are possible”.   I expect that although we are not being removed from the world, nonetheless, “the world” needs to be removed from us… and that is surely what He means when he uses the word “evil”….   That we be kept from domination from the passions and reasonings within.  The post communion prayer unto the Theotokos specifically states “deliver me from the bondage of my own reasonings”.
God help us!   And God is helping us!   Glory to God for His immeasurable sustaining grace and mercy.

I hope this brings some measure of insight on how to better deal with ‘comfort sins’ or ‘comfort passions’. As Christians, we are called to remove the world from within ourselves.

Binging on food, drink, entertainment, etc. is all gluttony. How can we do better? More prayer. Prayer for ourselves our family our community.

It is being predicted that there will be riots after the election no matter who wins. Join me in praying against that.

There has been a radical display of hate the last few months. How about a radical display of love?

Where can you start? Example; one of my nieces was in a terrible car accident yesterday. Her car was T-boned by a driver running a stop sign. I have seen so many people running red lights and stop signs lately. STOP DOING THIS!! You have no right to do this. If you are running late that is your problem and you don’t endanger the lives of other people to make up the time you spent over-sleeping or doing whatever it was that prevented you from giving yourself enough time to safety travel to your destiny.

Let’s work on being humble, loving and considering others better than ourselves. This IS what Jesus did.

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My focus this week is on NOT eating to excess (well, not JUST this week but now is a great time to start making changes).

Can you think of something that needs adjusting in your life that you can begin to change today?