Although Abbot Tryphon (Parsons) had a tortuous journey towards Orthodoxy, which included a departure from Lutheranism, work as a psychologist, and a passion for Trotskyism, now the wise priest shares his experience with hundreds of his spiritual children who come to him for support and consolation.
The priest, who in his youth was a radical socialist, shared his thoughts on how faith can help overcome tribulations, and also compared today’s events in the USA with the pre-Revolutionary situation in Russia in 1917.
Doubt does not contradict faith, for it is not the same as unbelief. Doubt can, and should, serve as the catalyst to our moving deeper into the spiritual aspects of what it means to be human, and being part of a family of believers who are on a journey into the Heart of God. Faith, if it be true, challenges the status quo, and catapults us forward out of our complacency.
Are we sycophants, or do we speak from the heart, without thought for self-promotion? Are we true friends to those with whom we share our lives, or are we always thinking only of ourselves? Do we really desire to serve those who are over us, or do we think only of our own advancement?
As we begin the Lenten Journey, it would be good for us to consider the use of a “prayer rule.” This “rule” is of critical importance, for it will help us develop the discipline we need to progress spiritually. It is one of the great tools the Orthodox Church has to offer, since it has been handed down from the Fathers of the Church. This “art of prayer,” comes directly to us from the experience of the Early Church.
The Liturgy reminds us, only those with faith and love may draw near to receive the Holy Mysteries. Our participation in the Body and Blood of the Lord provides each of us with the opportunity to be Christ-bearers in the world in which we live, and others will know we belong to Christ, “by our love.”
One of the primary differences between Islam and Christianity has to do with the basic view of the nature of God. Islam teaches total surrender to a god who demands submission. There is no invitation to enter into a relationship, freely, nor is there room for an individual to choose, or not choose, to love his Creator, for the god of the Muslims is far above his creation, and there is no real possibility of having a personal relationship with this god.
The capacity to forgive is directly related to the capacity to love, and it is in our act of forgiving others, that we find forgiveness. For it is in the turning away from our own self-concern, and our own self-will, that we begin to see that our salvation is directly linked to the salvation of our neighbor.
"In so far as God’s perfection is beyond our understanding, by His grace and mercy we are called to theosis, the process of becoming like God. Theosis (deification) begins from the moment of our conception and continues until the very hour of our death. No one has the right to interfere in this process that was begun when God created us."