By Abbot Tryphon
The man who is his own spiritual director, becomes the disciple of a fool. The Gym | Trainer And Confessor Similarities
Just after my graduation from college I moved to Portland, Oregon, where I worked at various jobs, including waiting tables in an upscale restaurant (to this day, I’m a good tipper), bartender in a small Irish pub (I’m a Scotsman), and working as an orderly in a trauma center. All these jobs contributed in important ways to my ultimate vocation as a priest and a monk. (I’ll leave it to my readers to figure this one out.)
Shortly after my move to Portland, I decided that I wanted to work out at a local weight lifting gym (what young man doesn’t want to be buff?). After asking around, I discovered Laprinzi’s Gym, a Portland institution to this day. Laprinzi’s has always been known for having some of the best trainers, and I knew that success at weightlifting would require professional help and direction.
Being a skinny college grad, I felt somewhat intimidated as I walked into a gym filled with Olympic style weightlifters, but I was soon made to feel at ease after one of the trainers approached me, offering to help me get started. Grateful for the direction, I began what was to be a mainstay of my physical exercise for years to come. I didn’t stop weight lifting until I’d become a monk, and have regretted the decision to stop until this very day. Long distance running was my other passion, leading ultimately to hip replacement surgery some fourteen years ago, according to my surgeon.
The very day I walked into Laprinzi’s Gym, another young man walked in for his first try at weightlifting. But, unlike myself, he was too prideful to accept direction from anyone. He stupidly turned down the offer of a trainer, and proceeded to weight lift without professional guidance.
Some six months later, my trainer quietly pointed to the other young man, saying, “David, do you notice the difference between your body and his? Since he has been his own trainer, he sees only his front side, so his muscle development is concentrated in his upper arms and chest. His back muscles and legs are underdeveloped, so he looks like a skinny ape”.
priest is a spiritual physician. Show your wounds to him without shame, sincerely, openly, trusting and confiding in him as his son. The Gym | Trainer And Confessor Similarities
I share this story because of the saying in Orthodoxy, “The man who is his own spiritual director, becomes the disciple of a fool.” When we embark on the spiritual path, we need the direction and foresight of someone who is experienced, for there are all sorts of traps ahead, including pride. In choosing a spiritual father or mother as our guide, we are directed on the path to Christ by someone who knows us, and is able to point out those traps that would snare us.
This guide, like the trainer described above, sees us from a perspective that is otherwise hidden from us, and like the weightlifter who desires to look buff, the man on a quest for spiritual transformation, needs a spiritual father who can point to those sins and omissions that need our attention.
“A priest is a spiritual physician. Show your wounds to him without shame, sincerely, openly, trusting and confiding in him as his son; for the confessor is your spiritual father, who should love you more than your own father and mother; for Christ’s love is higher than any natural love. He must give an answer to God for you (Saint John of Kronstadt, ‘My Life in Christ’).”
About The Brotherhood of the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is a monastery of the Western American Diocese, under the omophor of His Eminence Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America. The Monastery is a non-profit 501 C3 organization under IRS regulations. All donations are therefore tax deductible.
We depend on the generosity of our friends and benefactors. You can donate to the monastery through PayPal, or by sending donations directly to the monastery’s mailing address:
All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
P.O. Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA
Another small way to contribute to the monastery if one already purchases items through the amazon.com website is to use the smile.amazon.com link associated with our monastery. Purchases will accrue a small percentage that will eventually be given to the monastery in time. For more information, please go our website page here: https://vashonmonks.com/using-amazon-smile
By: Abbot Tryphon | The All-Merciful Saviour Orthodox Monastery on Vashon Island. Washington, United States
Delivered to you by COPTICNN™ | Coptic News Network on 2020-02-16 from Washington, United States
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