The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 5 months ago

The Glory of Praying Man | Sunday After Transfiguration 2021


The Arena Podcast is the flagship of Patristic Nectar Publications and contains the Sunday Sermons and other theological reflections by Father Josiah Trenham delivered from the ambon of St. Andrew Church in Riverside, California and begun in 2010. Currently there are more than 550 sermons and lectures covering ten years worth of preaching through the liturgical calendar.

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Now available at Patristic, neter door,patristic nectar is pleased to offer a new nine part series entitled theMother of God in our lives. This offering is the fruit of a threeday conference, hosted by Patristic Nectar, publications, a collaborationof many clergy scholars, including the keynote speaker, His grace, bishopIrenee of London, as well as his Grace Bishop Basil of Wichita, Argaman, rite,maximus constance father, Callinice, Father, Chad, Hatfield and father JohnParker. The lectures are dedicated to anedifying examination of the great feasts of the Mother of God, as well asadditional lectures on particular aspects of the life of the most holyThaloc os on her role in the lives of Christian believers. For these and other available titles.Please visit our website at patristic, nectar, God worry and now the arena with Father JosiahTreta, the name of the father and of the sonand of the Holy Spirit a blessed Lord's Day to all of you,brothers and sisters. I've entitled my homily this morning, the glory ofpraying man, the glory of praying man. This is the Sunday following the feast of thetransfiguration of our Lord on Mount Tabor a Glorious Day for us, a day in which our saviour took PeterJames and John to the top of the mountain, a magnificent mountain that has becomea holy sight, a place of sacred pilgrimage of inspiration to Christianvision. Ever since it's a grief, I think that many Christians know very little aboutthe transfiguration. We of course celebrated every year onthe sixth of August, we spend a week dancing under its light, making surethat it is deeply impressed into our hearts that it informs our reason forlife, but many don't especially Christians,who call on the name of Jesus and have no Christian calendar. They never havecelebrated the Feast of the transfiguration. They really robbed of this. This glory transfiguration sects, the aspirationfor a Christian. What Jesus experience the radiating ofhis humanity, with the glory of God that he intentionally experienced inthe presence of Peter James and John,...

...has set. The Bar has helped usunderstand God's purposes with us what he intends for us, what our futureholds. You know it's just this vision, whichhas captured the Christian heart for the last two thousand years and has ledto great effort and great humility on the part ofChristians, which has opened up the flood gates of God's grace and has madesaints it's just this vision that we particularly lack right now. It's just gone our great men, the great influencers of our time, some would say the robber barons ofthis age. They have no vision inspired by Taboe. They have a vision for man, but it is a grotesque vision. It is abanal vision. It's a vision, completely measured by the exterior and completelymeasured by the physical. The vision of men like besils and Zuckerberg, andwhite and musk is a vision of perfecting man's physicality ofincreasing his his brain. So, instead of the glory of praying man,which is the Christian vision which you see today, it's the gloring of thinking,man. I was listening to a new interview of Elan Musk this week on his concern.His growing concern about artificial intelligence. He has a deep worry that as companiesare and nations are building artificial intelligence that we're doing it without the properprotocols without regulation he's very concerned. In fact he has said manytimes that in his mind, the development of artificial intelligence is far moredangerous than nuclear weapons. Can you imagine saying something like that? He doesn't explain in great detailexactly what what he calls digital intelligence is going to do to us andfrankly, I think his evaluation is quite spewed, because even when a manbecomes a materialist like musk, is you can't escape the innate reality?The fact that God fashions you in his image? Even if you don't want toacknowledge God, even if you don't want to think that you have that inherentdignity, you still can't keep it from coming out in theway that you think and ascribing some sort of sense of greater a greaterdestiny of humanity, and so he is often going between his descriptions of thebrain. He has a company, that's designed justto increase the use of our brain space to make smarter people smarter, becausethat is evidently supposed to help. The human race, evidently our troubles in life, arebecause we're not smart enough. I...

...wonder how you would apply that measure to the devil. A man smarter than any human being hasever been or ever will be short of paradise, in some reason his smartshaving helped them some produce some beautiful end. No, unfortunately, this very sadreductionistic view of humanity can't address human's real problems, which isnot that we aren't smart enough something much more complex our sins. If we had a little more brain power,would we be? Would we be more faithful people? If we were a little bit smarter?Would we lie less or would we lie more? What about our conscience? If weincrease our smarts? What would we do with our conscience? Does neural link solve the problem with the human conscience? What about our own internal yearningfor meaning? Is it really going to be satisfied byjust being able to drive faster cars and have them drive for us or just taking that exponentially out?More technology is going to somehow satisfy are yearning for ultimatemeaning, or is that something that can actually be squished right out of thehuman race? What about our own sense of beingfractured our own perception of alienation- and Idon't just mean alienation between each other? I mean alienation withinourselves being fractured people. Do the great leaders of our time whoare throwing out a vision that they want us to spend all of our money andresources to acquire, have a solution, for that is the coming singularitygoing to solve our problem with our own sense of alienation and what about our real enemies? What about them? It certainly must be a terror for a materialist to actually meet a demon. It certainlymust be a terror. It's shaking enough for Christians to do so, although, asyou saw in the Gospel since we have the saviour that we have who has such acomplete dominance over the unseen world and over the dark powers, we areable to negotiate our lives by faith in him without too much terror, a deep sense of care for sure, but not terror,...

...and I think the materialists are on principle, since they don't believethat there are such things as immaterial beings. Certainly I doubt that the demons aregoing to leave them alone for ever for a little while, maybe to further theirpurposes. SES Lewis says that the demons have hidden themselves from much of Westernsecular man, because they've already won and to appear to them would in factundo their accomplishments and get materialist man to start thinking aboutthe next life, and so they hide themselves. But I wonder how long they'll do that and then, of course, the ultimatethreat? Does this vision of thinking man everimproving can itself death? Can it bring someone to peace withdeath? I think not. Now the transfigurationbrothers and sisters provides the vision of human life of human destinythat we need. Vain is the quest of human perfectionthat our elite offers us today banal unsatisfying. Instead, we havetable this marvelous mountain that has become so dear to Christian hearts. Youknow we have our own mountain. I know many of you have been to mounttabor. At least some of you have, but even more have been to Mount Rubedo,our own Mountain Mal Rubedo has that sacred cross, andso many of you walk it. So many of you use it as an opportunity to clear yourhead an opportunity to go up and stand beneath that forty foot cross and tohave some perspective in vision and to pray. Motta is eight. Eighteen hundred andeighty six feet tall, it's not a very big mountain. It wasn't. everist Jesuswasn't trying to make the point that it's impossible to seek glory. He wastrying to make the point that you can't seek glory without making effortwithout intentionality without striving to seek God or Mount Rubedo's thirteen hundred feet. It's close only five hundred feet,smaller, I'm holding this marvellous rock. As my Mount Table Rock, I actually have two, but one is outright now doing its wonders, no doubt remindingpeople of their future, especially when they're confronted by these enemiesthat I mentioned, especially when we're confronted by sickness, I like to bringmy mouthable rock to the ill in the parish and let them hold it for a fewdays, many of our parishioners have died with the table rock on their bodyor next to their body, to remind them of our vision, the vision that Jesushas given us their ones. He went up to the mountain. It says I want to makeone...

...central point about what took place onthat mountain, and that is that this glory, this transfiguration of Christ, whenthe veil, so to speak, of his humility and his flesh was pulled back and theradiance of his divinity shone through, and we could clearly see that he assumed humanity without ceasing tobe divine joining humanity to his divinity. He did this in a state of prayer, and this is what I like to emphasize.It says to introduce the PERICOPE, it says that they went up to the mountainto pray. There's no notion that Jesus went up onthe mountain so that he could be glorified and make it about be abouthis glorification. He went up to pray. Why? Because he had just told thedisciples that he was going to be betrayed, that he was going to be given into thehands of sinful men. He was going to be falsely accused and he was going to bemurdered. He went up on to the mountain tostrengthen himself for the Cross and he brought Peter James and Johnvery much like he brought his disciples and to his presence when he went to getseventy and there in his agonia struggled to accept the passion of theCross. This is what's happening here. He went up to pray and I think, that'sextremely important to see the glory of Christ and of Christians joined to him, takes place in prayer. Look at the kind of prayer that we'redealing with here, intentional prayer. This is the first thing about thisprayer. I want you to see. There was an intentionality, they went for one reason to pray. Is this not a beautiful example for us,and do we not know that when we intentionally devote ourselves toprayer, not just a prayer here and there, but when we have intentionalityto do something when we climb that mountain, because we have a burden onour heart and we want to get up there using our prayer rope and come downusing our prayer rope and to sit under the cross on Mount Rubedo to prayexclusively. This is wise. This is wise when you come to church with the intention, the chief intentionto stand in this house for one reason to pray, there's a lot of sub reasons to be here,but none of them are the chief reason. The chief reason is to pray come hereto pray when you go to monasteries on pilgrimages. Of course, it's wonderfulto go to monasteries, it's wonderful to...

...visit their book stores to meet lots ofwonderful people to see magnificent places. None of those are the mainreason for going to a monastery. We go to monasteries to pray when we go out to resumin ate our souls into nature, to have some peace, so wonderful to seethe streams. It's wonderful to fish, it's wonderful to feel fresh air, butwhen we do it for our souls, when we retreat to nature for ourselves, we doit to pray. intentionality is key and noticed. Also they went up emphasisupon up it's not just intentionality. It's striving. It's striving. Not every one can ascend a mountaincomfortably. I don't know if Peter James and John were super fit. I don'tknow, I don't know what their first thought was when they heard from Jesuswere going up that eighteen hundred foot mountain- I don't know what yourthought would be. If I said after Church to day were all going up MountRubato. Some of you would be yes, let's goothers who would be of OOF, but they went up. They pushedthemselves and the point is it that they were leaving their earthlyconcerns. They didn't bring them with them to the mountain to pray. Theypushed themselves to leave aside those things so that they could truly be withGod, and that's what you do. I think when you come here to pray right were about to say those precious words. Let us leave aside. All earthly caresthat we might receive the king of all who comes to US invisibly, unborn bythe angelic coasts. Leaving aside the earth is exceedingly important,brothers and sisters. If you want to have a prayer, that's glorious, aprayer that is effective, a prayer that actually brings union with God. They went up to pray and then the Gospel writer says, as he waspraying his his garments shone as white aslight as he was pring. You see the emphasis on prayer. The Path brothersand sisters to glory is intentional effort filled prayer, it's in prayerwhere all of our great struggles are reconciled. This is why Jesus burdenedby the Cross took his disciples to prayer and what happened unspeakableglory. He revealed his divinity Moses andElias appeared speaking with him about the cross two men who had done exactly this. Theyhad fashioned themselves as Mighty...

Prayer Warriors Moses was able to save the entirepeople of Israel more than once, when God had resolved, to judge them, God even told Moses Moses get out ofthe way I am done with this people and I am going to destroy them now and Moses by his prayer alone. Changed God's mind, that's how powerful a prayer warriorMoses was Elias, opened and closed, the heavens by hisprayers Elias breathed on the face of a deadboy and brought him back to life. Elias caused a little handful of flourand a little pinch of olive oil to sustain a woman and her child andhimself for days and days and days may be up to a year. A lie is called fire from heaven downto the Earth by his prayers. Now you may be thinking father, that's Moses! That's Elias! That's not me! How do Ihave a glorious prayer like this? You know this is exactly what SaintJames and his epistle thought. You would think when you hear stories likethat when he says in the fifth chapter ofhis epistle Saint James, says the effectual prayer of a righteous man canaccomplish much. He thought oh well, you're you're,talking about the prayer of a person like the Lias and he's special, I'm nota prophet. He said in his epistle, he said: Eliaswas a man with a nature like ours, and he said to the heavens, don't rainfor three years and it didn't rain for three years and six months and then hesaid Rendon to range again. He was a man with a nature like orth. Hefashioned himself brothers and sisters by his intentionality by hiswillingness to strive to form prayer by his yearning. For God he fashionedhimself into a prayer. Warrior, I'm not a prophet father. Don't use that for meyou might even be saying I'm not even a shouldn't even become the decentChristian. Okay I'll give you that even that doesn't mean that you can'tfashion significant powerful, glorious prayer.You can, you might even say well, father, I'mjust a pagan, then even then, I would say you can fashion powerful prayer. Doyou know the story of Cornelius the Centurion at chapter, Ten, a Pagan, a pagan, and yet he strove with what hehad with the light that he had. He strove to pray and he brought heaven tothe Earth. God despatched an angel to him, because he was praying as a paganso sincerely, no brothers and sisters. The glory ofMan... in his prayer. This is the glory of Man, not thinkinga little better, not being able to process mental equations faster. No, the glory of Man is union with God. The glory of Man is the joy and thedignity of being able to pray sincerely. This is what we should be striving for.This is the greatest human accomplishment, the greatest humancreation, the greatest human invention, the greatest masterpiece of any humanperson is a life of prayer and it's the path to glorification, notjust for Christ. For us, Jesus is radiance. This is our future.This is what he says. He says the time is coming when the angel of God angelshave got at the end, will be sent for from the father and they'll gather outthe sons of the kingdom, and then they will shine like the sunin the glory of my father for ever. This is the future of believers, a radiant unspeakable glory. I want to end with this beautiful quote: It's meant for people like us who aredoubting that we can strengthen our prayer. It comes from Saint Filler of Moscowdied in eighteen, sixty seven. It comes from a newly translated sermon that hegave on the transfiguration, and this is what he says. This is how he endsthis sermon. Given in eighteen, twenty, he says, pray o Christian with a strong prayer, with the full strength of your soul, with attentive and persistent prayerwith good and pure prayer. If you do not find such prayer within yourself then pray for that kind of prayer and through prayer, you will first findsincere and active prayer and then, together with you, it will defeat allevil and it will find everything for you leading you up to Tabor orrevealing table within you. It will call heaven down into your soul and itwill raise your soul to heaven come in. We hope that you have enjoyed and havebeen edified by this presentation offered to you by patristic nectar,publications, a non profit organization committed to nourishing the spirituallythirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. If you are interested inother available titles or if you would like more information on patristicnectar publications, please visit our website at www, dot, patristic, nectar,dot, Org, again, that's www dot,...

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