The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 9 months ago

The Precious Cross - Balm of Our Souls

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A Heart for God: Lessons from the Life of the Holy King and Prophet David 

Now available on Audible! Sermons on the Spiritual Life by St. Philaret of Moscow 

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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications presents a heart for God lectures on the life of theHoly Prophet and King David. Christians are indebted to no one in the OldTestament more than the Holy Prophet and King David. He alone amongst all thebelievers in the ancient covenant, is described by the Lord as having a heartfor God. David Sin, in infamy second only to that of Adam,has been meditated upon by believers, as has David's deep repentance, which hasprovided an image for countless Penitence to imitate over the centuries in order to findpeace with God. In these ten lectures, Father Josiah surveys the entire life ofKing David, from his early rise as a humble shepherd to his yearsin hiding from Saul, to the magnificent covenant that God cut with him,which provided the prism through which believers have come to understand he who is theultimate son of David, the true king of pains, who reigns on David'sthrone at the right hand of the father, the one whose heart is gentle andperfect, Jesus Christ, the Lord heard for these and other available titles. Please visit our website at patristic nectar dot org. And now the arenawith Father Josiah Trenna, in the name of the father and of the sonand of the Holy Spirit. Blessed Lord's Day to all of you, brothersand sisters, on this third Sunday of the great fast, when we bringout the precious and life giving cross. I've entitled my homily the Cross,the bomb for sinners, and I want to share something that happened last nightat three forty four am. It's not been a good week for my sleepand it that continuation of bad sleeps happen again last night. Three hundred fortyfour, I heard screeches and a terrible smash. Wasn't that unusual? Actually, it's been a feature in my twenty plus years downtown. I ran outsidewith a flashlight only to see a car kind of pulling back onto the roadand then trying to get away. clublock come up, come up, copop, tire pop, whole front right panel...

...completely broken, pieces everywhere on theground. But they thought maybe it'd be a good idea to drive away andI met my neighbor out there. They had come down the street and runinto a fire hydrant and then they pulled down the road a little bit andstopped and I was out there conversing with the neighbor whose bedroom was twenty feetbeyond that fire hydrant. His pregnant wife was in bed and he was outthere with me, and then they decided to come back our way, sothey turned around and they came back and we just stood there and just waveas they drove off. As they drove off, it reminded me of thetime that I think I mentioned to you some years ago when it also inthe middle of the night, I heard a car at high speeds coming righttowards my house. You know downtown, you know my house literally is thatyou run into my house if you continue up street. Thankfully I have alarge wall in front of my house made of these massive limestones back from theearly days of Riverside. And the car came and obviously the thief did notknow the area that there was a tea and a stop sign. He thoughtthe street just continued, so he just ran at full speed right into mywall and by the time I got out there he was crawling out the brokenwindow and hopping down the street trying to escape. Or then there if thetime when, in the middle of the day, car came barreling down andwent through the stop sign and smashed into the back of one of my son'sfriends who had just arrived and parked his car and come inside. Or maybethere's the time my wife was out watering and she heard a car coming downthe street and it just somehow it was coming down with our wall on thisride and just I'm left to use the phone or something sent text. Thatwas the last thing he did, because his car just caught on the walland completely smashed right into the wall. All of those stories together, besidesletting you know how much interesting activity there is in my neighborhood. In eachcase, I thought to myself about myself, and I did last night. Isaw that poor car, such a distant it was a Mercedes, sucha distant, poor image of what it was meant to be and what itwas just a few minutes before. Make it all this noise, nothing workingright anymore. I thought to myself, Curiol as one, welcome to thehuman race. Welcome to the human race.

This is exactly us, don't weknow it? And isn't this the purpose of the first three weeks ofgreat lent? We have our enthusiasm grow for the great fast. We knowthat it's a time of immense grace, lots of miracles, so many beautifulthings that you get what you give, what you put some effort into it, God's going to reward you big time. We're going to be able to cometo posca with so much happiness and we come with that enthusiasm when welaunch into pure week this year, I gave you a challenge, those ofyou who were willing to take it up, and thank God many of you were. I'm touched by that. We are attempting to go through all ofthe days, all forty days of lent, without speaking about someone else's sin.We have all this enthusiasm. I wonder how you all doing on thatchallenge. I am very serious about it and I am so ashamed of myself, and I was so ashamed of myself on pure Monday. How how didI sin on pure Monday, not eating or drinking? And there it was, and I just looked at my ever vigilant helper known as presbyter Catherine,and she's just shaking her head at me. Didn't you say? Yep, Yep, I did, Yep I did, and that wasn't the first time.We're not what we were made to be. Brothers and sisters, we'reall banged up. We're like those messed up cars. We were made moreglorious than any Mercedes ever was. Our hearts were full of the love ofGod. Our minds were prophetic, able to pierce meaning and discern intention andsee the logos or the the structure of every aspect of God's creation. Wewere honored by the mountains and the trees and the hills and the rivers andevery animal that existed. The birds loved us. Even the great lions boweddown before us are our life was glorious. We had a closeness to God.We were literally robed in royal garments. The Holy Spirit dwelt upon us.We were intelligent, like there's no tomorrow. We were powerful. Wehad no needs. Adam and eve didn't...

...eat because they were burdened by hunger. They weren't burned by the sun. The Sun did what they asked,just like when the Prophet Joshua asked the son to stop, and that holinessin his life, which was a picture of Adam how he was really fashioned. The Sun cooperated in for twenty four hours, didn't move, stayed rightthere. This is what we're like and this is what we're going to be. One of the worst results of the Godless, evolutionary secularism that we livein is that we actually Fak this is what it means to be a humanbeing. This is it. We treat the fallen reality. We treat thecar after the horrible accidents like that's how it came out of the factory.Not True, not true. We have had serious damage, which is whywe have lent, which is why we have the church, which is whywe have the mysteries and all the sacred sacraments. So why we have theword of God. We are in process of restoration, but wow does thefirst weeks of lent do they hurt. I thought of a verse that SaintPaul wrote when he was reflecting on himself. For those of you who have beengoing through our Romans study on Wednesday night, you're going to hear itthis Wednesday, because this Wednesday is chapter seven and it comes from Chapter Seven. This is what St Paul says. Listen to this for what I amdoing I do not understand. Let me just stop there. Can you relateto that? For what I am doing I do not understand. I confusemyself every day by doing things which I don't believe in. For goodness,I don't believe in talking about people sins, let alone after I've challenged my parishto join me in the task and then failing day one. I understandwhat Paula saying. For what I am doing, I do not understand,for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I amdoing the very everything I hate. I know that nothing good dwells in myflesh, for the willing is present in me, but the doing of thegood is not. Oh, doesn't that hurt? I find the principle then, that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. This is Saint Paul, a man who scaled the heights, a manwho was so god loving that he was willing to go to hell to savepeople. Even prayed God if they could...

...be saved. Anyone to sent?Send Me. Can you imagine? This is the first lesson. I thinkof the first opening weeks of lent. We learn many, many things,and our wretchedness is the first and, brothers and sisters, that is amust lesson. If we don't get that lesson, nothing that Jesus has tooffer us is going to make any sense at all. The church isn't goingto make any sense if we don't get that lesson, the lesson of ourwretchedness. My second point is that, as much as that hurts, thereality of things, I hope that you can take this from me, andI'm speaking mostly about myself, as much as that hurts, the reality ofthings is way, way worse, way worse, just because I found outthis pure Monday in such an obvious way and through the dutiful help of mywife and then later of my own children. Aren't they wonderful? Yes, theyare. I wish I always thought so. When they were correcting me, I found out lots of things. But, brothers and sisters, whatabout all the things I don't know? What about all the wretchedness that I'mnot even clued into, and I'm not just obviously falling over myself in frontof my family for them to correct me with? What about all that?What about all the hidden wretchedness? We have a very dim vision. I'monly talking about what I can actually see. Never believe that the sins that yousee are the sins that you have. Never believe that when you come toconfession, don't say at the end that's all father really. You sureabout that? Maybe you could add that I know, that's all that Iknow. Assume, in fact, brothers and sisters, that what you knowis a minority, and if you can take it from me, assume it'sa tiny minority. Think of all the people that Jesus describes in Matthew TwentyFive, on the last Great Day of judgment when he separates the sheep fromthe goats. There's a huge mass of goats, there's a huge mass ofsheep. But when our lord explain to the goats all the things they didwrong, he tells them six major sins. What was their response every time?When did we ever do that?...

When did we not do that?When did we not do this? When did we not they were completely blindto their own sins. Just because they didn't know them doesn't mean that theyweren't there. They were very obvious to Jesus. He saw them as clearas they can. I go on, Joe Sigh, as clear as theythis is the second point. We only see a little, tiny bit.This much. We do not want any bad surprises on Judgment Day. Wewant to face ourselves, brothers, now, and this is why the church isasking us to do this. Although at least things I'm describing mission accomplished. This is exactly what lends, for this is the result of grace.What do you want to see in your life? Don't look for visions,don't look for you know wonderful things about the future, to be some prophetessor some prophets so you can see and divine the future. The father say, if you want to see anything, ask God to show you your sins, something you can do something about and have salvation. We don't want anybig surprises on that day, and so we have to face ourselves now.We have to discover who we are. We have to embrace the reality ofbeing sinners now, and then we can be brought by the holy church tothis wonderful, this glorious, this unspeakably Gracious Day, the day of thePressures Cross, the veneration of the precious cross placed in the wisdom of thechurch. are kindly mother, right in the middle of lent marking the halfwaypoint, because that's what the cross marks today. Fifty percent done, fiftypercent done and the first half of making progress. It's coming to grip withourselves now. We can be shown the ladder next week, once we reallybelieve that we are way down low. I mean, if we think we'realready liked by birth on rank number twenty nine, what's the ladder going todo for you? Right? But if we recognize we're weight down low,that ladder is very helpful. All the steps, the guidance on how tobecome a loving person, how to become a good, holy God lover.Then we can see Mary of Egypt, a woman who floated above the groundwhen she prayed, a woman who shows us what repentance can do. Today, all of the lessons of great lent are joined into one at the footof the cross. The Cross tells us...

...both of those things. That's whyit's in the center. Nothing in the whole world tells us the truth aboutourselves as sinners as the cross, and nothing in the world tells us aboutthe solution, the cure for our wretchedness. Then the cross. It bears witnessto both things. How bad are our sins? So bad that wecould not be saved except by the son of God descending from Heaven and dyingon a cross for us. That's how bad they are. If there wasany easier solution, it would have been done. There was none. Therewas no solution for us except that. And how do you measure how sickyou are except by the extremity of the remedy? If you have to gothrough months of radiation just to get your tumors small enough for the doctors togo in and do a twelve hour surgery, just so that you can come outand maybe have a ten percent survival rate, and that's what they tellyou, what is your conclusion about how sick you really are? Pretty sick, pretty sick, and that's exactly what you should think of when you seethe cross. If there was no solution for us except for the unthinkable,the son of God to be given to us by his father. And wecan't even describe the love that the son has for the father, way pastour grasp. will learn it by experience, through eternity, by sharing in it. But God loved us so much that he was willing to give hisonly begotten son so that whoever believes in him might not die but live forever. This is the measure, this is the extremity of the remedy, andthe Cross also bears witness to the all powerful and immeasurable love that God hasfor us and for every single human being. How unwilling God was to see usperish, how unwilling God was to see us get what we deserve forour sins, and Paul's very clear. In the very text that I'm Iread from earlier, he says the wages, what we deserve, all of usof sin, is death. God was totally unwilling for us to paythat price, so he paid it on our behalf. He took all ofthe things that threatened us and threatened to take us away from him. Hetook them on himself. He bore every sorrow for us, he bore everysickness for us, he bore sin for...

...us, he bore death for us, he bore the assaults of the devils, he swallowed them up, he dissolvedthem all by His grace, gave us life so that we can berestored, we can be what we're meant to be, fashioned into the glory, a glorious image of God. This is the promise, this is whatGod has done, and Paul is able to say this. Neither death,nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thingis able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, Our Lord. This is the bomb, brothers and sisters, for our veryhumbled souls. When you look at that cross, remember the love ofGod for you, God's willingness to come for you. I'll end with abeautiful scripture that I love from the proverbs goes like this. Like cold waterto a parched soul, so is good news from a distant land, likecold water to a part soul, so is good news from a distant land. There is no more parched soul than one of US sinners understanding our brokenness. There is no more part soul than there. And there is no moredistant land for a broken cinner then the land where God lives and the holylive in the Kingdom of God. And there is no more good news butthe Gospel, the word of the Cross for a part soul so far fromthat glorious land, bringing the news that the water of life has come andit's flowing from the cross of our Savior, from his very side. Hall She'sglory to His name. We hope that you have enjoyed and have beenedified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organizationcommitted to nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers.If you are interested in other available titles or if you would like more informationon patristic nectar publications, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dotorg. Again, that's www dot patristic...

...nectar dot org.

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