Paralyzed In Sin

I am paralyzed in sin! Things I should do, I don’t. Things I see no evilshouldn’t do, I do. Holy Father in Heaven, heal this corpse from within the darkened depths of my soul!

Today in the reading from Mark, we here the story of how the man who was paralyzed was seeking to be healed. This took some effort on his part. First, he believed that Christ could heal him. Second, he found four men, whom also believed that Jesus could remove the physical impediment from this man, and those same four men agreed to carry the paralyzed man up to the roof, pealed open the roof and lowered him in.

We all have impediments that need the touch of God. We have to understand that if we are trying to overcome these sins alone by our own efforts and with only our limited strength that we cannot and will not succeed. We have to recognize our inability to be holy and pure by just our own efforts and that we have to seek help. Just as the paralytic men found assistance, we also have helpers! We can seek aid from the four Gospel writers as a means to move closer to Christ and we can practice the church disciplines to lower ourselves in humility helping us remove layers of sin, as we try to become a servant of all, a God-Seeker. “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. […] Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does Christ does not belong to Him. But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness.” (Romans 5:5, 8:10)

St. Gregory Palamas affirmed that man carries in himself two tendencies, one for good, the other for evil. However, the tendency for good can only be developed in man through acquiring the grace of God, the divine energy sent to us from God, accessible insofar as our hearts and minds are pure enough to receive that grace. But this grace which enlightens and brightens us can only come to us if we repent, if we accept the process of fasting and prayer, tears and self-sacrifice.

 
And in the book of Jeremiah where hear these instructions: “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”(Jer 29:13) St. Irenaeus of Lyons stated that God: “became what we are in order to make us what He is” or God remains what He is when we are united to Him, but we become what we are not, yet what we were created to be! Let us ask for grace to repent and confess; let us ask Him to forgive and heal us; and let us then take up the labor of living the life of Christ for all to see, to the glory of God, and for the salvation of our souls.

“Light of Orthodoxy, Teacher of the Church; its Confirmation! Ideal of monks and invincible champion of theologians. Wonder-working GREGORY, glory of Thessalonica and preacher of grace. Always intercede before the Lord that our souls may be saved.”

Fr. Gabriel Weller 3/27/16

SPLINTER

[Rom. 13:12] The night is far spent; the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

 
When you work with wood you enviably get splinters in your flesh. I have been working on our log home frequently and have come to know this all too well. I keep plenty of Band-Aids and electrical splintertape in my truck for administering first aid.

 
In order for me to remove the splinter I need plenty of light and a knife or pair of tweezers to aid me in digging the splinter out of my flesh. I also need plenty of light and I now, with my failing eyesight, need my reading glasses to magnify the injury!

 
If I can’t see the splinter, I can feel that there is something foreign under my flesh. Sometimes I realize this immediately depending upon the size and nature of the splinter. However, sometimes I am unaware that I have acquired a splinter until an infection sets in and my skin turns red and it becomes tender to the touch.

 

I also suffer the effects from another type of splinter, but this one lodges in my heart and adheres to my soul. These splinters are foreign objects and should not be found in my temple of God, but I have even grown accustomed to their existence and chose to continue on in life ignoring the soreness and the infections they have caused.

 
These splinters are sin and they hide in the darkness of my self-justifying intellect. I like to feel good about myself and my actions and therefore ignore their existence! I allow the sinful splinters to separate me from the loving embrace of my creator which is the beginning of a life-threatening infection. Their existence distracts me from the light of Christ and I cling to the darkness seeking a place to hide them.

 
Saint John Chrysostom says: “As a wound, so long as it is embedded and concealed, running beneath the surface, it enjoys not a bit of attention, so also sin, as long as it is hidden, being as it were in darkness, is daringly committed with full license. But as soon as it is made manifest, it becomes light; not indeed the sin itself—for how could that be?—but the sinner. For when he has been brought out to light, when he has been admonished, when he has repented, when he has obtained pardon, hast thou not cleared away all his healed darkness? Hast thou not then his wound? Hast thou not called forth his unfruitfulness into fruit? For no one hides a blameless (irreproachable) life; whereas things which are hidden are hidden by darkness covering them.” [Hom. 18, P.G. 62:127 (col. 122); cf. Bl. Theophylact, P.G. 124:408 CD (col. 1108).]

 
When I realize I have caused someone pain, I need to examine my flesh for the splinter. Seeking Christ’s-aid by self-examination and exposing the splinters to the Light by study, confession, prayer and fasting, and then applying a heaping amount of the antibiotic of heartfelt forgiveness frequently.

 

Fr. Gabriel Weller 3/13/16