Monday, November 7, 2016

Worldly Politics and Our Struggle for Holiness: A Few Words to a Concerned Voter





For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:12,13).

Greetings brother!

First I must state as a clergyman I am not one to preach politics from the pulpit. I do not want to isolate anyone because of political language, secular ideals, or false promises based on a flawed worldview. I seek to be Christ-like and therefore a unifier. This is not a cop out or the easy way out as I am sure both sides may disagree with the conclusion; but the unifier is Christ and not utopian ideas of fallen man. When man seeks to build a kingdom of this world devoid of the true Christ it is destined to fall.

As a priest and an American citizen I am also disturbed by the state of this election. In one sense it is “politics as usual”, but this election is the most bizarre I have seen in my lifetime. One solace I have is technically the outcome of this election will have no real effect on me either way. My body is here, but my mind and more importantly my heart are elsewhere.


We are truly living in interesting times and given the impending Presidential election about to take place here in the United States one thing is certain; tensions are running high. I have to admit, even though I should not be so concerned over this election cycle, I have often had something to say about the unsavory feel of politics as usual. Reaction based on simple emotion is something we need to be aware of. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent.

Something I try to remind myself continuously is both of these candidates, their staff and voters all have something in common and should be the way we see them; they are all created in the image of God. The end game is we must love them either way despite their shortcomings. My sins are as many as grains of sand on all the beaches of the world, so to hypercriticize is not a possibility with this beam in my own eye.

Each candidate has the opportunity to lead in piety and sobriety which in my opinion simply will not happen. They offer a false sense of security and the illusion of utopia. Neither will deliver true peace, prosperity, stability. If so, it will be in an earthly sense which offers none other than a false sense of security. The hope that they propagate is hope in the world which is none other than the passions themselves.

I guess the short answer is pray. Don’t pray simply for your family or friends, but for all mankind; even for your enemies and those who seek to destroy the very world we live in by their policies, greed, endless wars, corruption, and propagation of social movements destructive to the very soul of man.

Christ tells us, “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36) and to trust not in the prices of this world in whom there is no salvation.  However we must pray for them. The kingdom of God is truly at odds the kingdom of this world and this election just re-iterates this Truth.

Take to heart the words of St. Ignatius Brianchaninov “The wave of evil roaring out of a dark sea upon mankind is beyond human power to stop.  The best Christians can hope for is avoidance.  So do not attempt to stop it with your weak hand.  Avoid it, protect yourself from it, and that is enough for you.  Get to know the spirit of the times, study it so that you can avoid its influence whenever possible."

Despite what goes on in the world we must realize that we must not lose hope, be deterred from our struggle for holiness, nor take on fights above our spiritual measure. How can we think that we can change an entire culture or nation when we have not conquered the very faults that weigh us down as individuals!  

Politicians will always promise a better way. Worldly utopian dreams put forth an illusion, that man is center and being of all things. This is classical Satanism, man exalting oneself as godlike, where soul destroying narcissism dominate the person; the created trying to mimic the Creator. This false specter is alluring by cunningly replacing the peace and tranquility of Christ, but enacts egoism, the very byproduct of pride itself.

Whether so-called left leaning or so-called right leaning I would argue neither represent the Christian identity or the hope and healing that needs to occur in the nation. It is hard to classify a group as a whole because there are varying degrees of “liberalism” and “conservatism” within party lines, so the terms “Republican” and “Democrat” are almost obsolete in my opinion.

Classical liberalism, which seeks to maximize human freedom, is not based on the firm foundation of faith. This freedom, which is not Christocentric, but man-centered, has man as the center of all being. Thus rooted in the realm of the bestial passions it promotes the exaltation of self and eventually self-deification (self-worship). The concept of synergy, mutual cooperation between man and God, is foreign to such a consciousness.

Liberalism, as a philosophy and political movement, has therefore has grown from its rebellious infancy culminating into complete diabolical anarchy. Whether hijacked or its logical outcome over time, things have gone off the rails. Its adherents, now proponents of a statist form of government in which the governing bodies yield power and influence over the people, have taken a supposed exalted philosophy and have devolved into utter chaos. The radical political and social left have instead sought to limit various freedoms under the guise of safety, equality, fairness, and false promises of utopian dreams. The dignity of the individual is forsaken for subservience to the state and its ideals which are contrary to the individual freedom, dignity and humanness. Under the guise of tolerance, the true face of intolerance is revealed. In a supposed sea of beliefs that are deemed co-equal on the surface, non-conformity to its blasphemous principles are considered anathema. One must assimilate into its vein philosophy, not only tolerating its diabolical excesses, but one must also affirm and propagate its spread.

Remember, free will, an absolute gift and something we cherish, can be utilized for sanctification or destruction; the choice is inevitably ours. In a tug of war for our allegiance try to focus on the cross of Christ.

In salvation history we have the example of Saint John the Baptist, the Forerunner, who brought about the good news of the coming of Christ. Likewise apostasy, the “spirit of Antichrist”, has its own forerunner; anything and everything that is diametrically opposed to Christ. It appeals to itching ears and is far reaching into all facets of the human experience. Vein philosophers, advocates of unhealthy aspects of pop culture, false manmade religions, melding of various so-called spiritualties which are ever present and fill many things via the occult new age movement.

 Further, the notion that “democratic socialism” will save us is yet another appeal to the whims of man to foster in unattainable utopian dreams. Socialism is an enslavement of the mind, soul and spirit to an ideal, where man is not fighting against unhealthy passions, but instead cultivates these impulses and is subject to their control. Under the guise of freedom, equality, compassion, fairness this diabolical philosophy brings about enslavement, deep division, inhuman crudeness, and the extinction of freedom and the negation of love. Societally speaking, the power of a few decimates the lives of the masses for the sake of an ideal where man can supposedly create a utopia, but instead man creates a hellish existence for those under its rule.

On the conservative side there is often a chiliastic worldview which is at odds with the Christian ethos although it claims to be Christian in origin. Add in such widespread errors as the “Gospel of prosperity” and much of the Evangelical right falls on the opposite side of the coin of progressives, both harboring a skewed worldview incompatible with Christ.


Despite what many would have us believe on the right, this nation was never really a “Christian nation” and is anything but in these present times. The modern day “west”, including the United States of America, can now be properly categorized as post-Christian in nature. The original European settlers here had no ties with the Apostolic Church, but were instead splits of splits. These man-made rogue denominations of all flavors of Protestantism do not represent the historical Church of Christ. Add in the fact that deists and those aligned with Freemasonry where founding fathers and the so-called Christian roots of this country become much murkier. On these false philosophical principles this nation rose, and being anything but a spiritual firm foundation it crumbled almost immediately.
Hope in the material, acceptance of false promises of security, prosperity, equality, peace, acceptance and affirmation of all one’s whims under the guise of normalcy. There is only one place where there is equality; the Church. All have the opportunity to become partakers of the Divine nature, all are penitents, all are called to holiness, and ultimately all are called to love.
Just as the there are two natures in Christ, human and divine, so is the same of the Church. It is a divine/human institution, the mystical Body of Christ, a theandric organism, where man freely works with Almighty God who is beyond our comprehension. We are not solely alone and this synergy is a necessity, all works futile when done according the human spirt alone.

The worldly promise of humanization but only brings dehumanization. There is one hope; our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is not intellectual, it is not worldly, and it is not superficial. Focusing on some reward system from a man in the sky has nothing to do with authentic Christianity. It means true transformation, a transfiguring of the soul that it might become what it was created to inherit; the great gift of theosis. This is a great joy, but is only accomplished by much effort and toil…and often by enduring much suffering. Bearing one’s cross is indeed joyful and anything but a burden, but it is not necessary without immense trial and tribulation.

Self-deification, where an individual or their cause is the center and being of all things, is spiritual, intellectual and often societal suicide. The whole of creation revolves around an individual. The exaltation of oneself to a seemingly god-like status is the height of arrogance, self-worship and lunacy.

The world and its ways, its false morality, duplicity of heinous lifestyles seeks to reduce man to a bestial state where the goal is not only subjugation to the passions, but the continual feeding of these unnatural impulses. Acquiring holiness is not even on the spiritual radar of the modern man, who instead seeks to fulfill primal needs and excesses by any means possible.

So-called Christian morality has been relegated to a bygone era, even cultures which retained some semblance on Christian values have been reduced to a mere memory of such times. Economics, philosophy, cultural moralities, entertainment, familial relationships and the general worldview is so skewed by darkness that it seeks to extinguish the flame of faith that was once readily accessible to man.

The general worldview, especially in popular culture is narcissistic, where the individual places himself or herself as the center of all being instead of a synergetic relationship with the Divine Creator and Physician as well symbiotic relationship with fellow man also created in the image of God. This self-worship is the antithesis of classical Satanism, where man is defined by his animalistic passions, their nurture and fulfillment, equating and exalting the self above other human beings and ultimately God Himself. It is not merely the rejection of Almighty God, but instead placing oneself in His place as the center of all being.

From the womb our children are being bred into a world which is a synthesis of error, falsehood and deceptive means whose end result is the ensnarement of the precious commodity; one’s eternal soul. Foreordained morality (which is of the mind of Christ) is replaced with ambiguity. Self-control and the emptying of oneself is replaced with passion-filled excess.

The end game of human ambition and seeking to build a kingdom of this world culminates in an attempt to eradicate the influence of Almighty God. Whether sadistic personalities such as Emperor Nero, Emperor Domitian, Emperor Valerian, Lenin or Stalin…or movements such as paganism, Islam or militant atheism, one thing is true; the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church and the gates of hades will never prevail against her. Political and religious movements come and go, attempts at complete genocide fail, and societies and empires collapse. The world cannot eradicate the Church because it is the mystical body of Christ.


In summary take to heart the message contained in the first Holy Epistle of Saint Peter. We are asked to humble ourselves before Almighty God, to be sober, watchful and vigilant because our adversary seeks our ruin. Remain steadfast in faith and he will be unable to devour you. Protect yourself and your family (the little church!) from all manner of deceit and most of all never lose hope!

I am personally going to try to lay aside all earthly care, even though I am sure I will continually fall into entrapments laid forth. I do not want my words to sound like the proverbial fairy tale, but good will triumph over evil. This is not a storybook ending but the promise given by Christ Himself. The gates of hades will not prevail over the Church and His kingdom will have no end.

Forgive my rambling and perhaps often incoherent babble. I attempted to piece together many thoughts on the matter in a short time. I hope this helps a bit as you seek to follow your conscience based on your desire to follow Christ.

Pray for me.

In Christ,
Fr. Maximos

Thursday, September 15, 2016

All are Welcome!

I hope to see you this weekend...come for a visit!


Services for Saturday September 17 and Sunday September 18


Saturday:
Great Vespers: 6:00PM
*Priest will be available for confession after Great Vespers



Sunday:
Hours: 8:40AM
Liturgy: 9:00AM
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+++Holy Protection Orthodox Mission+++
(A mission parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia)


Location:
Holy Protection Chapel/Orthodox Christian Education Center
280 New Braintree Road
West Brookfield, MA 01585

Contact:
Administrators:
Paulette and Victor Masterjohn (508) 867-4220

Priest:
Fr. Maximos McIntyre
(508) 641-5672 or frmaximosmcintyre@gmail.com


http://holyprotectionorthodoxmission.blogspot.com/


*Other Divine Services as announced.
Contact priest for details.



Tuesday, September 6, 2016

All are Welcome!

We hope to see you this Sunday!
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 11, 2016 / AUGUST 29, 2016
12th Sunday after Pentecost - The Beheading of the Glorious Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John.


****Sunday Schedule****
Hours: 8:40AM
Liturgy: 9:00AM
--------------------------------------------------------------
+++Holy Protection Orthodox Mission+++
(A mission parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia)


Location:
Holy Protection Chapel/Orthodox Christian Education Center
280 New Braintree Road
West Brookfield, MA 01585


Contact:
Administrators: Paulette and Victor Masterjohn (508) 867-4220


Priest: Fr. Maximos McIntyre
(508) 641-5672 or frmaximosmcintyre@gmail.com


http://holyprotectionorthodoxmission.blogspot.com/


*Other Divine Services as announced.
Contact priest for details.



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Greetings!


Divine Liturgy this Sunday, August 28. The feast of the Dormition of Our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.


All are welcome!...
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Schedule:
Hours: 8:40AM
Liturgy: 9:00AM
-----------------
Location:
Holy Protection Chapel
Orthodox Christian Education Center
280 New Braintree Road, West Brookfield, MA 01585
-----------------
Contact:

Administrators: Paulette and Victor Masterjohn (508) 867-4220
Priest: Fr. Maximos McIntyre
(508) 641-5672 or frmaximosmcintyre@gmail.com



Friday, August 19, 2016

Greetings!
Divine Liturgy this Sunday, August 21.
All are welcome!...
-----------------
Schedule:
Hours: 8:40AM
Liturgy: 9:00AM
-----------------
Location:
Holy Protection Chapel
Orthodox Christian Education Center
280 New Braintree Road, West Brookfield, MA 01585
-----------------
Contact:

Administrators: Paulette and Victor Masterjohn (508) 867-4220
Priest: Fr. Maximos McIntyre
(508) 641-5672 or frmaximosmcintyre@gmail.com



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Holy Week Schedule 2016


Holy Week Schedule 2016:

 

Saturday April 23: Lazarus Saturday-The Resurrection of Saint Lazarus

9:00 AM Hours/Divine Liturgy

6:00 PM Great Vespers for Palm Sunday

 

Sunday April 24: Palm Sunday-The Entrance of Christ into Jerusalem

9:00 AM Hours/Divine Liturgy

6:00PM Bridegroom Matins

 

Monday April 25: Holy and Great Monday

6:30 PM Bridegroom Matins

 

Tuesday April 26: Holy and Great Tuesday

6:30 PM Bridegroom Matins

                                    

Wednesday April 27: Holy and Great Wednesday

6:30 PM Holy Unction

 

Thursday April 28: Holy Thursday Evening-the Crucifixion of Christ

6:30 PM Matins with the Twelve Passion Gospels

 

Friday April 29: Holy Friday-The Burial of our Lord  

10:00 AM Royal Hours/Vespers with the taking down of the body of Christ

6:30 PM Lamentations, Procession & Burial of Jesus Christ

 

Saturday April 30: Holy Saturday Morning-Awaiting the Resurrection of Christ                  

9:00 AM Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil w/fifteen Old Testament readings

 

10:00 PM Pascha-The Glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ

Midnight Office, Procession, Matins, Hours, Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

 

Sunday May 1: Pascha-The Glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ

11:30 AM Agape Vespers for Pascha

Monday, November 30, 2015

Additional Services This Week

Greetings to all!

On Thursday December 3rd at 6:30PM we will be celebrating Great Vespers for the feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. After, those present will be anointed with oil which was collected from the miraculous Hawaiian Myrrh-Streaming Iveron Icon of the Mother of God. Although the actual miracle working icon will not be present, the mission parish possesses oil from the weeping icon.

Also on Friday December 4th @ 6:30PM, we will chant the Akathist Hymn to the Most Holy Theotokos. An anointing will also take place after the service.

ALL ARE WELCOME!

Feel free to contact me with any questions: frmaximosmcintyre@gmail.com or 508-641-5672

Much love in Christ,

Fr. Maximos