St. Simeon Skete, Taylorsville Kentucky USA

With St. Simeon, the God receiver, as our patron, the skete seeks to practice the ideals found in our Rule, The Thousand Day Nazareth. In simplicity and poverty, the skete embraces the struggle of inner life through the practice of the Prayer Rope.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Media Fast

As the Lenten Season begins next week on Ash Wednesday (March 1) many people think about fasting.  There are many ways to fast, you can give up something and you can also add something to your daily discipline as well.

Many years ago (decades ago) my husband, Seraphim began a perpetual fast from all news media.  Oh, he graciously listens from time to time as people insist on reporting news events to him.  He doesn't read newspapers and he doesn't watch or listen to news.  He has never read a newspaper other than quotes from newspapers that might be in a book he is reading.

I see some events through the internet when they appear in different feeds but neither of us watch the news, ever.  We've never suffered from not knowing what is going on in the world.

In Seraphim's "Little Philokalia, vol. 3" he writes about St. Silouan the Athonite and the saint's aversion to news - taken from pages 72 -74 of the book "St. Silouan the Athonite" by Archimandrite Sophrony. (St. Silouan is a  favorite saint of Seraphim.

  Seraphim stayed at the Monastery of St. Panteleimon when he was on Mt. Athos specifically so he could be in a place where St. Silouan had been)

"When the soul prays for the world she knows better without newspapers how the whole earth is afflicted.  She knows what people's needs are and feels pity for them" - St. Silouan

It is not necessary to know the details of the world reported by the media, more importantly it is better to know the needs of the world as placed in your heart by God through prayer.

During our last trip to Africa, Seraphim took a prayer walk up a pathway in Kabala.  As he hiked through the jungle, a man came from out of the bush.   They engaged in a conversation and at one point Seraphim asked the man to pray for the world.  The man said that he knew the world had gone awry without ever having a television, a newspaper or internet. He wouldn't even know what "the internet" was.  Yet, this jungle man said he knew the world was not good by the behaviour of the animals, the crops and the land.

Especially with the "Fake News" of today, biased reporting and general hype from the media -- I can't quit thinking of St. Silouan and the words from this Scripture:

Matthew 6:24-34

King James Version (KJV)
24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

I'll be doing my normal Lenten Discipline this year, but I'm beginning a more intensive Media Fast.  I want to be guided by my relationship with God, my prayer life and by the constant assistance of my guardian angel and not by things of this world that seek to gain my dependence on them.

Adiós, medios de comunicación siempre