The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 6 months ago

The Right Mind about Advent Fast

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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 nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to present a four part lecture series by Father Josiah trenum entitled Male and Female Reflections on transgenderism. These lectures directly address this latest iteration of the sexual revolution and the sexual anarchy unleashed by a cultural rejection of the Christian theological foundations of creation, anthropology, sexuality and the traditional therapeutic paths of the church. These lectures explain why Christians cannot reasonably avoid studying transgender ideology in today's cultural climate, how this new world view on sexuality finds itself deficient in explaining and healing are falling human condition, and how love must compel believers to open their arms to persons seeking God from a transgendered background. For these and other available titles, please visit our website at patristic nectar dot org. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trennem. In the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, a blessed Lord's Day to all of you, dear ones. I am full of anticipation for tomorrow. Tomorrow we begin the fast of Christmas sometimes it's called the Saint Philip's fast because today Saint Philip is celebrated. It's the last day before it starts. Sometimes the advent fast because Adventus, the coming of Christ, is what we yearned for. We long for the celebration of Christmas over the course of forty days. I particularly welcome it, not...

...just as a believer like you, but also as a pastor, because we've moved into very dangerous ground. This is the longest period of time the church ever goes in the in the year without having a fast. The last fast we kept was the fast by the mother of God, a short two week fast. It's been three months, three months with no fast. Believe me, it's dangerous, really dangerous. Dangerous that will lose our vigor, that will forget what we're striving for. The church presents us this morning the magnificent story of the Good Samaritan to remind us of important things. We can use the parable of the Good Samaritan as a prism through which to look at the coming forty days, to set our course, to establish a vision for what we're trying to accomplish in these days. This Martin magnificent text lays out the reminder of our opponents, those nasty thugs, those hoodlums who assaulted this poor man on the street, those hoodlums we all know. They represent and depict in the spiritual life, the demons working through the passions to wound US deeply and to leave us half dead. We see ourselves in the man who's been fallen, who's bleeding. He's not dead, but he's kind of dead. He's in great need. He's in great need. We see Christ in the Good Samaritan, the one who did not regard equality with his father a thing to be held on too, but emptied himself, bending so lot low,...

...taking the form of a servant, to become our savior, to walk with us, to bear our burdens. We see him in the Good Samaritan. We see the church in the inn where the Good Samaritan brought the wounded man. After he poured on the mysteries of wine and oil. He put him in the care of the INN and the innkeeper and promise to reward that innkeeper properly upon his return there. The man would rehabilitate. There, in the embrace of the church, we find our health. We go from strength to strength, we put away weaknesses and wounds of the past and we replace them with the strength of virtues. We see front and center the purpose of life in healing, and also we see the need to become what Christ is to others, to open our eyes to those who are wounded around us, to those who need us to stop and notice them. This Samaritan, this good Samaritan, if he was too busy, if he was tyrannized by his plans, his obligations, he wouldn't have stopped for this man, he wouldn't have embraced this God blessed inconvenience in his life to notice this man in his troubles. Life, dear ones, is about our own therapeutic healing, it's about victory over the devils and it's about the need for believers, to open our eyes to the need that is on our road, the roads that will travel, and that's what we should think about in this coming fast. We should think about these things. Spiritual acquisition, healing ourselves from our passions and making them a thing of the past, opening our eyes to those who are on our roads that are in great need of us. I received yesterday a wonderful...

...communication from some parishioners who were in Utah. I knew it. I knew it. I'm fully expecting this and I fully support it. Many visitations to southern Utah, many friendly ambassadors from St Andrew to the new St George Mission where our beloved Father Thomas is. I think this is a wonderful thing. I think this is a wonderful thing. Don't get any funny ideas. No funny ideas, but lots of ambassadorships, lots of visits and I got a picture on my phone yesterday from a bitzit there and it was father at a podium just like this, lecturing Saturday catechism. I couldn't have been happier to see it. And there were a bunch of catechumans there and the Prishner said I'm oscillating between tears and laughing tears and laughing tears of joy to see this beautiful priest, son of our parish, going there to start this mission and to repeat what happened here thirty years ago. She said in her communication. She goes, I felt like I was sitting in the old hall, you know, in catechism, in the old hall. What a beautiful thing. You know, we parents we we have. We shed tears, abundant tears of happiness, when we see our children grow, when we see them become adults who have owned their life, who have chosen to love God, who have chosen to make their own family. This brings us the greatest sense of peace and happiness and tearful joy. It works also in the larger family, in the ECCLESIAL family, in the core family, which is the church.

Our hearts dance when we see the church, Church multiply. You know, this is one of the reasons that we've always brought the church I was brings up the catechumans into the core of the church to pray for them. Saint John chrysostom comments about this a lot. It says, though, we're being reminded every time the catechumans come up. Were reminded that were pregnant. The church is pregnant with these beautiful souls. Were taking good care of them in the womb of the church and their maturing in their spiritual gestation to come to birth in the font and it's a great joy. Everyone smiles and everyone dances when we see this happening. It's the same when you see churches multiply. I remember as a young priest I used to love to go to our conventions. Every two years we have a convention. It's a wonderful opportunity to see people on the other side of the country, even in an in another country, in Canada, to have our representatives come from our churches in Canada. One of the things that I like the most and that I was just on pins and needles for every year, was to come to what's called the General Assembly. The General Assembly is when the metropolitan would come out and give his speech and we would have reports from all of the ministries of the Church, and the report I was most interested in was the report from the Department of Missions In evangelism. This is back in the day when the the deeply respected Father Peter Gilquist, who had led thousands of people into Holy Orthodoxy. With some of his friends, he became Metropolitan Philip appointed him to be the chair of the Department of Missions In evangelism and every two years he would put on the big screen a map of the United States and he would show on the...

...big screen where all our churches were, all the Orthodox churches everywhere, and then the major areas in the United States. They didn't have a church, and then he would push another button and then up would come like little green dots, and those little green dots were where we had the core bit, the beginnings of a little mission station, and I was always amazed because every two years it was five more churches, ten more churches, twelve more churches. We have seven mission stations here where we've decided that these cities of Fortyzero people are more, are going to be our focus this next year. It was just a thrill, a thrill my my heart pumped all the time for those things. We have tremendous joy in spiritual acquisition. That's the reality of the matter. Seeing the work of God in our life, in our parish, nourishes the soul. It thrills the heart. This is why we should have a positive disposition towards the fast. This is why we should care more about the Magi then about macy's. Really which one I be more interested in, because both are asking for our attention. Our culture wants you to think commercialization, presence. That's what our culture wants to think. You to think. The church is asking you to follow the trail of the Magi, to let the coming of Christ into your life. The presence of the king be so important that it consumes you as it consumed them. It drives your energies, it focuses your attention. Why is it, dear ones, that as...

...we stand on the cusp of the fast we have within us, I would confidently say, in this Holy Temple, we have three basic dispositions towards the fast? Right now, we have a few who are dying for it to start. These are the people in the parish who literally say, as I've heard many times, lent is my favorite season of life, my favorite part of the year. I've met many monks and nuns who say this. They never want lent to end. They want to live a perpetual lent within reason. Of course they love Pasca and they know it's for Pascal, but for them it's why they went to the monastery, is to live that kind of life, that life that's so driven towards a heavenly aspiration. Then, on the other spectrum, I'd like to say there's also only a few, there are that may be a little positive thinking on my part, who absolutely are dreading this. They're absolutely dreading this. They do not want the fast to come once it comes, they want it to make the most minimal impact possible. They want to replace all of their happinesses, all of their worldly pleasures with lenten things. So that we don't skip a beat. We can't have the in and out Burger, but we can have the new imitation all plant based Angus Burger instead, with all the trappings in their appropriate lenten style. It will ease the pain of having to do this for forty days. That's on the other side. And then there's the middle, which is where I suspect most of us are were mixed. A part of us is thrilled by the idea of the fast and we remember, if we have spiritual experience, if we're Christians of any age, we remember the good things that have always...

...come to us by effort, the grace of God which has poured down upon us. When we embrace the fast with a positive disposition, when we listen to Jesus and it, don't put on this sour puss face and instead anoint our heads and greet the day with joy and expect beautiful things. But then there's a part of US also in which we're like, oh, that's going to hurt, that's going to hurt and not going to be able to do that, and this and that, and so we're kind of mixed. What's the difference? What's the difference between those who are so thrilled and those who were here and those who are in between? Obviously it's not the fast. This is not about the fast. This is about us. This is about the fact that there are different kinds of people with different visions for what the fast is. I'm encouraging today to have the vision of the church, to let the monks and the nuns be a good example for us and to try to imitate their disposition, to try to greet the fast with joy. You know, that's the first line of the first hymn of lent. Let us embrace the fast with joy, first line of the first hymn of the first service of lent. I want to do that. I want you to do it. I want you to enter into a sense of longing, not to lack vision. Preach to yourself. When you're starting to feel like preach to yourself, remind yourself you know what the small things that were going to give up now are going to obtain for us, an incredible harvest of grace putting aside a little bit of our own pleasures, deciding not to spend money but...

...to save a little money so that we can give it to someone else, is going to be bringing great joy to them and great happiness to us in the action. You know, today happens to be the feast they of that Marvelous Saint Right there, Saint Justinian the great. He was one of our greatest emperors who ever lived. He had also one of the longest reigns as a Roman emperor. He Reign from five hundred and twenty seven to five hundred and sixty five. I can't record, I couldn't tell you the incredible competence that that man had, the gifts that he was endowed with and that he faithfully used for the sake of the church. He wasn't just a master military strategist who regained so much of of the world for the Christian Empire. He wasn't just an incredible theologian. Theologian, yes, do you know the himn that we just saying? Only Begotten Son and Word of God was written by him. Yes, Emperor Justinian wrote that him. He convoke the fifth acimenical council in five hundred fifty three. He himself wrote Christological treatises. He was a devoted husband, he was an incredible man of God, even though he was living in about the most worldly position anyone could have. He was known at night for shutting the Imperial Gates to all other visitors except those who wore black robes, and every night people with black roads would go in for Bible study. He loved the Scriptures and he wanted the scriptures read to him constantly. His beloved Theodora, died much earlier than he did and he didn't remarry an emperor. Most emperors have a hard time with having less than five wives...

...at the same time, even if only one's legal Justinian was faithful to one and when she died he lived in chastity, the chastity of widowhood. But what I'm really encouraging about is his disposition to fasting. Do you know that he lived? He had the best cooks. The emperor got the best cooks, but in lent he gave them all time off because an lent all he would eat were dry mushrooms, water and dry mushrooms for forty days. Emperor Justinian Tis Day to day. It's a providence. I think if you look at the Saintsford to day, the Apostle Pillot Philip, who gave himself in mission, he was a Good Samaritan imitating the Good Samaritan Emperor Justinian, who was a man who had such a positive disposition of fasting that he, when he could have had everything, chose to eat just a little bit of vegetables. and Saint Gregory Palamas. It's also his day to day. He gets, of course, a Sunday in lent, but his day to day too, and he is the model for us of prayer. Those three things. Saint Gregory taught that it was possible for a normal person like you, for people who had jobs, for people who lived in homes with families. He said it was possible to cultivate inner prayer. He taught people, and his spiritual father did as well, said Gregory of Sinai. He taught people in the world how to use the Jesus prayer and help the people in their daily life to cultivate quiet and gave them the hope of even seeing the light, the unparaded light of God, to actually have a spiritual renewal by prayer, to bring in his words your baptism to blossom by the practice of the Jesus prayer. Praying inside these incredible saints on this last day before the fast,...

...let them be an encouragement to you to mission be a good Samaritan this fast to fasting. Let justinian's example help you. Have a positive disposition. Nothing you give up, no denial, won't be returned by grace, by God, and a resolve to prayer that saying Gregory Paul Moss sets before us all. This is what's waiting in us. This is why it's possible to really think that the fasting seasons are the best seasons of the whole year. Don't dread it, don't dread it. Make Your Cross with me and let's ask God's blessing upon this in the name of the father and the son and the Holy Spirit. Amed. We hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committed 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 information on patristic nectar publications. Please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dot org. Again, that's www dot patristic nectar dot org.

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