Friday, June 28, 2013

Bearing the Shame of Confession

From “Remember thy First Love” by Archimandrite Zacharias Zacharou

Question: In taking the steps which you have presented W to us, the most difficult thing, I think, is to overcome the rear of shame. This is what I try to do in my parish. People will not come to confession although their souls are burdened and things are driving them crazy, because they cannot overcome the shame to admit their sins. How do you lead people in this direction?

Answer: I think that the strength to bear shame is a gift from God. When I was a young and inexperienced spiritual father, Elder Sophrony told me to encourage the young people to confess precisely the things of which they are ashamed, for if they learn to do so, shame is transformed into strength against the passions, and they will overcome sin. This is precisely what occurred in the person of Zacchaeus. He bore shame voluntarily, and the Lord, Who was on His was to Jerusalem in order to suffer the Cross of shame, saw Zacchaeus bearing shame for His sake and recognized in him a kindred spirit. Zacchaeus had put himself prophetically in the way of the Christ, in the way of the Cross, and in a prophetic way the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ was activated in the heart of Zacchaeus. His heart was enlarged and he was able to enter into the power of faith. Christ has saved us through the Cross of shame, so when we suffer shame for His sake He considers this as gratitude, and in return He transmits to us His grace which regenerates our life.

This is exactly what happens in confession. Those who confess sincerely and take upon themselves the shame for their sins are regenerated. But those who shrug their shoulders and say, ‘Nothing special, the usual things…’ they do not bear any shame, their heart remains unmoved, and they hardly receive any benefit. But those who, with shame and a contrite heart, strip their souls naked before God and before another mortal, ‘of like passions’ (Acts 14:15) with them—that shame of theirs really finds the heart, humbles it and brings it to the surface. This then, opens the heart to receive the grace of regeneration, of consolation. We see this in the life of many that come to us: the greater the shame they bear with contrition, accusing themselves before God, the greater the grace they receive to amend their lives and make a new beginning.

Discover the Kingdom of God ( Elder Paisios )

In Scripture Jesus tells us "The Kingdom of God is within you." (Lk17:21) How do we know this? We know it when we experience joy, not just happiness, but a feeling that transcends happiness. It is a feeling that comes from the heart when we know God is with us. But what is the opposite of this? Elder Paisios tells us that it is "when we have anxiety, feelings of guilt, then there is a portion of hell within us." When we are sadled with anxiety we have left Paradise and find ourselves mired in hell. This is common condition for most people today. Many drugs that we regularly take are for relieving us from this anxiety we experience in our daily life. But we are capable without any medications to experience joy from all our activities in life.
Elder Paisios says, "It isn't difficult to achieve this; but unfortunately, egoism prevents us from this spiritual magnificence."

What is required to change this anxiety into joy? The key according the Elder Paisios is to allow God to govern our lives. The involves a surrender of our ego to the Church, to Christ whose Church is His Body. In the Church we are guided through the services, sacraments, teachings about prayer and ascetic practices like fasting to overcome our ego-centeredness and become Christ-centered. But first we have to choose to surrender to the teachings of the Church. We must pray often and for sure every morning and evening. We need to follow the liturgical calendar, and participate regularly in the sacraments, especially Holy Communion and Confession. We must follow the fasting guidelines fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays as well as during the fasting periods like Great Lent. We must read Scripture and the writings of the Holy Fathers. We must make Christ and participation in His Church a top priority in our lives as well as the life of our entire family. Scripture says, "Seek you first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matt 6:33)

Elder Paisios says,

People today have made their lives difficult, because they are not satisfied with a few things, but are constantly chasing after more and more material goods. But those who would like to live a genuine spiritual life must first of all be satisfied with a few things. When their life is simplified, without too many concerns and nuisances, not only will they be liberated from the worldly spirit, they will also have plenty of time available for spiritual things. Otherwise they will tire themselves out by trying to follow the fashion of the times; they will lose their serenity and will gain only great anxiety." Examine your life and search for all those things which are not necessary, that only complicate what otherwise could be quite simple.

The elder gives a very simple example of a man who asked him to come to his home. When he arrived he notices that the man took of his shoes and walked carefully on his toes. He asked him, "Why are you walking like that?" He replied, "Its nothing Geronda; I am walking careful so that I don't ruin the parquet."

See how easy it is to complicate our lives? We decorate, we clean, we strive to make money so we can redecorate only to worry about maintaining an appearance. The same goes with our clothing. Also our hobbies, our vacations and so forth. How about all the activities we have our children enrolled in. They keep us busy as well as themselves. Where is time for the creative time at home doing art things with Mom or Dad as I remember from my youth; for apple picking, for building a model railroad, for reading, for climbing trees and and laying on top the vines that have grown over them gazing into the heavens wondering how far the sky goes? We organize everything these days and it only complicates our lives, shuts us off from joy making it more burdensome financially and more stressful to keep up with it all. Joy is replaced with achievement which is always only temporary happiness.

Seek simplicity in your life and you can discover the Kingdom of God within.

Reference: Elder Paisios of Mount Athos Spiritual Counsels IV: Family Life, p160

Elder Paisios - Patience is a virtue

What are we to do when faced by an angry family member? Elder Paisios advises us to keep quiet and say the Jesus prayer.

He says,

Look, when someone is steaming with anger, no matter what you say, it will come to nothing. It is better to keep quiet and say the Jesus prayer. With prayer, he'll calm down, and you can then communicate with him. You see, even fishermen don't go fishing unless the sea is calm; they wait patiently for the storm to pass. So, why are we so impatient with others? Where does patience come from? The Elder tells it it come from love.

He says,

Patience stems from love. In order to endure the other person, you must feel deep compassion and pain for him... I have seen beasts turn into lambs. With trust in God, everything evolves normally and spiritually. Most of the difficulties we face in family life stem from insignificant things. When we look back on them, even those that lead to a divorce, we often see the causes are do to little things. What is required of us to not let these little things overwhelm us.

The Elder says,

The greatest scandals, not only in families but also in the state authority, stem from the most insignificant things. In the family one person must be humble before the other; one must imitate the other's virtues and also be patient and endure the other's peculiar idiosyncrasies. How can this be possible? He continues:

To make this possible, it helps to think of how Christ sacrificed Himself for our sins and that he bears with us all – billions of people – even though He is without sin. However, when we suffer from the idiosyncrasies of the others, we are paying off the debt of our own sins. God in His goodness has arranged things perfectly, so that with our gifts, we can help each other, and with our faults, we can be humbled by each other. For every person has some gifts; but everyone also has some faults which one must struggle to over come. For harmony in a family or in a community, we need to constantly be aware that we are all sinners including ourselves. We have to develop patience and not let the failings of others overcome us. We must remember the sacrifice that Christ made for us and how he endured immense pain for our salvation. This is our path as well. Through our patience that comes our of true love, others will also feel this love and become encourage to also learn to love. We need to help each other overcome our limitations. When we are aroused to anger by someone's behavior we are only adding to the difficulty. When we are humble and recognize our own errors and develop patience we will find a way to endure and overcome all obstacles to harmony in life. In the end for those with patience, this harmony is found in heaven with Christ. Follow His example and we will always be right.

Keep these words of Elder Paisios in mind:

A spiritual person must face all things with divine justice by looking to see what will benefit the other person. For when one is weak and makes a mistake, then he is somewhat entitled to a little leniency, because there are extenuating circumstances. But when one who is in a better spiritual condition doesn't display any understanding, then he will be at greater fault.
Reference: Elder Paisios of Mount Athos Spiritual Counsels IV: Family Life, pp 51-54; 61-62

Πριν χρόνια ( Γέροντας Παϊσιος )

Ένας μοναχός σαν τους άλλους μοναχούς που ζουν στο Άγιο Όρος απλός στους τρόπους, στη συμπεριφορά σε προσέγγιζε με την αμεσότητα του.

- Ε συ, βρε παλικάρι ...συχνά προσφωνούσε τον επισκέπτη.

Στην έξω πλευρά, από τον πάνω δρόμο που τερμάτιζε στο κελί του κοντά στις Καρυές του Όρους, σ΄ένα θάμνο δεξιά ήταν το κουτί με τα λουκούμια, ξερά - μαλακά ήταν ευλογία του γέροντα.

Στην πόρτα - πόρτα κι' αυτή - ένα συρματόπλεγμα με λίγο ξύλο ολόγυρα και ένα σήμαντρο για 'κουδούνι' οδηγούσε σ΄ένα μικρό ετοιμόρροπο σπιτάκι σ΄ένα ξέφωτο με ξύλινους κορμούς ολόγυρα. Ηταν το μεγάλο σαλόνι των επισκέψεων, των πολλών επισκέψεων του γέροντα.

-Καλώς το παλικάρι, από πού είσαι λεβέντη; οι συνήθεις προσφωνήσεις του γέροντα.

Η ματιά του διαπεραστική, έφτανε μέχρι το 'μεδούλι της ψυχής' τι να κρύψεις, αφού όλα τα γνώριζε Θεία Χάριτι.

Τα πράγματα οριακά, έλεγες αυτό που σε προβλημάτιζε στα...ίσια, άλλωστε ευθύς ήταν και ο λόγος του γέροντα.

- Γέροντα η γυναίκα μου έχει προβλήματα με το στομάχι της και την κοιλιά της ...

Η διάγνωση κατευθείαν, χωρίς εξετάσεις

Θα της πεις να πάει σ΄ένα super market και να ψωνίσει λίγη καλή αδιαφορία.

Μια άλλη φορά ...

-Ποιόν πνευματικό έχεις βρε παλικάρι;

-Τον ...τάδε!

-Α! ωραία, η γυναίκα σου ποιον έχει πνευματικό; ρώτησε ο γέροντας.

-Τον ίδιο, του απάντησα.

Άστραψαν τα μάτια του από ικανοποίηση και με χαρά είπε:

- Θα πάρει ένα κούτσουρο ο Θεός από τη μια και ένα κούτσουρο από την άλλη και γκούτσου-γκούτσου θα το ταιριάξει. Πολύ χάρηκα βρε παλικάρι ...

Κι΄εγώ χάρηκα που σε γνώρισα γέροντα, χάρηκα που μου έδωσε ο Θεός τη χαρά και ευλογία να δω από κοντά, κατά κοινή ομολογία,ένα σύγχρονο Άγιο, ν' ακούσουμε λόγια παρηγοριάς από τον ίδιο, αλλά και να διαβάζουμε λόγους ελπίδας από τα πολλά βιβλία που έχουν δημοσιεύσει γεγονότα από τη ζωή του.

Στο τέλος πριν φύγεις σε κοίταζε στα μάτια, κρατούσε απαλά με τα χέρια του το κεφάλι σου και έδινε ένα πατρικό ασπασμό στο μέτωπο.

Το συνήθιζε!

Την ευχή σου να έχουμε παππούλη και εκεί που θα είσαι μη μας ξεχνάς.

Ένας από τους επισκέπτες σου

Η Προσευχή και ο Νους ( Αγιος Ιωάννης ο Χρυσόστομος )

Γιατί έρχονται πολλοί στην εκκλησία, επαναλαμβάνουν μηχανικά ψαλμούς και ευχές, και φεύγουν, δίχως να ξέρουν τι είπαν. Τα χείλη κινούνται, αλλά τ' αυτιά δεν ακούνε. Εσύ δεν ακούς την προσευχή σου, και θέλεις να σε εισακούσει ο Θεός; Γονάτισα, λες· αλλά ο νους σου πετούσε μακριά. Το σώμα σου ήταν μέσα στην εκκλησία και η ψυχή σου έξω. Το στόμα έλεγε την προσευχή και ο νους μετρούσε τόκους, συμβόλαια, συναλλαγές, χωράφια, κτήματα, συναναστροφές με φίλους. Κι όλα αυτά συμβαίνουν, γιατί ο διάβολος είναι πονηρός· ξέρει πως την ώρα της προσευχής κερδίζουμε πολλά, γι' αυτό τότε επιτίθεται με μεγαλύτερη σφοδρότητα. Άλλες φορές είμαστε ξαπλωμένοι στο κρεβάτι, και τίποτα δεν σκεφτόμαστε· ήρθαμε όμως στην εκκλησία να προσευχηθούμε, και ο διάβολος μας έβαλε ένα σωρό λογισμούς, ώστε καθόλου να μην ωφεληθούμε.

Αν, αλήθεια, ο Θεός σου ζητήσει λόγο για την αδιαφορία ή και την ασέβεια που δείχνεις στις λατρευτικές συνάξεις, τι θα κάνεις; Να, την ώρα που Αυτός σου μιλάει, εσύ, αντί να προσεύχεσαι, έχεις πιάσει κουβέντα με τον διπλανό σου για πράγματα ανώφελα. Και όλα τ' άλλα αμαρτήματά μας αν παραβλέψει ο Θεός, τούτο φτάνει για να στερηθούμε τη σωτηρία. Μην το θεωρείς μικρό παράπτωμα. Για να καταλάβεις, τη βαρύτητά του, σκέψου τι γίνεται στην ανάλογη περίπτωση των ανθρώπων. Ας υποθέσουμε ότι συζητάς μ' ένα επίσημο πρόσωπο ή μ' έναν εγκάρδιο φίλο σου. Και ενώ εκείνος σου μιλάει, εσύ γυρίζεις αδιάφορα το κεφάλι σου και αρχίζεις να κουβεντιάζεις με κάποιον άλλο. Δεν θα προσβληθεί ο συνομιλητής σου απ' αυτή την απρέπειά σου; Δεν θα θυμώσει; Δεν θα σου ζητήσει το λόγο;

Αλίμονο! Βρίσκεσαι στη θεία Λειτουργία, κι ενώ το βασιλικό τραπέζι είναι ετοιμασμένο, ενώ ο Αμνός του Θεού θυσιάζεται για χάρη σου, ενώ ο ιερέας αγωνίζεται για τη σωτηρία σου, εσύ αδιαφορείς. Την ώρα που τα εξαπτέρυγα Σεραφείμ σκεπάζουν τα πρόσωπά τους από δέος και όλες οι ουράνιες δυνάμεις μαζί με τον ιερέα παρακαλούν το Θεό για σένα, τη στιγμή που κατεβαίνει από τον ουρανό η φωτιά του Αγίου Πνεύματος και το αίμα του Χριστού χύνεται από την άχραντη πλευρά Του μέσα στο άγιο Ποτήριο, τη στιγμή αυτή η συνείδησή σου, άραγε, δεν σε ελέγχει για την απροσεξία σου; Σκέψου, άνθρωπε μου, μπροστά σε Ποιον στέκεσαι την ώρα της φρικτής μυσταγωγίας και μαζί με ποιους - με τα Χερουβείμ, με τα Σεραφείμ, με όλες τις ουράνιες δυνάμεις. Αναλογίσου μαζί με ποιους ψάλλεις και προσεύχεσαι. Είναι αρκετό για να συνέλθεις, όταν θυμηθείς ότι, ενώ έχεις υλικό σώμα, αξιώνεσαι να υμνείς τον Κύριο της κτίσεως μαζί με τους ασώματους αγγέλους.

Μη συμμετέχεις, λοιπόν, στην ιερή εκείνη υμνωδία με αδιαφορία. Μην έχεις στο νου σου βιοτικές σκέψεις. Διώξε κάθε γήινο λογισμό και ανέβα νοερά στον ουρανό, κοντά στο θρόνο του Θεού. Πέταξε εκεί μαζί με τα Σεραφείμ, φτερούγισε μαζί τους, ψάλε τον τρισάγιο ύμνο στην Παναγία Τριάδα.

Αγιος Ιωάννης ο Χρυσόστομος


Πρέπει να είμαστε γενναιόδωροι κατά την ελεημοσύνη
Ώστε, δίνοντας λίγα, να αξιωθούμε να λάβουμε πολλά.
Διότι, πες μου, που υπάρχει ισότητα
Όταν δίνεις ένα νόμισμα
Και δέχεσαι την συγχώρεση των αμαρτημάτων;
Όταν τρέφεις εκείνον, που πεινάει
Και αξιώνεσαι παρρησία την φοβερή εκείνη ημέρα
Και ακούς τους λόγους εκείνους
Που σε κάνουν άξιο της βασιλείας
"Πείνασα και μου δώσατε να φάω";(Ματθ.25,35). Μήπως δεν μπορούσε αυτός, που σου έδωσε την τόση αφθονία του πλούτου
Να θεραπεύσει και τη φτώχεια εκείνου;
Αλλά γι΄ αυτό αφήνει εκείνον να υποφέρει από την φτώχεια
Ώστε και εκείνος να πάρει μεγάλο μισθό για την υπομονή
Και συ να έχεις για τον εαυτό σου την παρρησία από την ελεημοσύνη...
Ας μη κάνουμε, λοιπόν, την ελεημοσύνη, αποβλέποντας μόνο σ΄ εκείνον που δέχεται την ελεημοσύνη
Αλλά σκεπτόμενοι ποιος οικειοποιείται αυτά που δίνονται στον φτωχό
Και υπόσχεται να εξοφλήσει αυτά, που δίνονται, στρέφοντας, έτσι τη σκέψη μας προς εκείνον
Να προσφέρουμε με κάθε προθυμία· και, όσο ακόμη είναι καιρός, ας σπείρουμε με αφθονία
Ώστε και να θερίσουμε με αφθονία.
Διότι λέγει: "Εκείνος που σπέρνει με φειδώ, με φει­δώ και θα θερίσει" (Β΄ Κορ. 9,6).
Ας δίνουμε, λοιπόν, τους καλούς αυτούς σπόρους με απλοχεριά
Ώστε να θερίσουμε με αφθονία, όταν έλθει ο καιρός.
Διότι τώρα είναι ο καιρός της σποράς, τον οποίο, παρακαλώ, να μην παραβλέψουμε
Ώστε κατά την ημέρα της ανταποδόσεως, να θερίσουμε τους καρπούς όσων σπείραμε εδώ
Και να αξιωθούμε της φιλανθρωπίας του Κυρίου.
Διότι τίποτε, κανένα άλλο κατόρθωμά μας, δεν θα μπορέσει να σβήσει τόσο τη φωτιά των αμαρτιών μας
Όπως η πλουσιοπάροχη ελεημοσύνη.
Αυτή πετυχαίνει και την εξαφάνιση των αμαρτιών μας και μας χαρίζει παρρησία
Και μας προετοιμάζει για να απολαύσουμε εκείνα τα ανέκφραστα αγαθά....

*Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Χρυσοστόμος

Jesus Prayer - possible problems encountered

Possible Problems Encountered
Sleep or drowsiness can be a problem in prayer. When you come from a very busy and tense environment, your body changes dramatically when you enter into prayer. It relaxes to the extent that you may then fall asleep. As you begin to concentrate the neuromuscular system begins to relax and this may cause drowsiness. When you feel this condition coming on you can change your position. If you are using a seated position for prayer, consider standing for prayer which for some is a preferred position. If you are praying silently in the mind, begin to say the prayer orally. If you are saying the prayer orally, say it louder. Make a few prostrations. Drowsiness is a condition that you will have to fight. If you let it become a pattern, it too will get etched into your brain and become more and more difficult to overcome. You can develop an automatic response of drowsiness every time you begin to pray. Don’t let this condition be distressing as it simply means that your nervous system has begun to relax. It is an indicator that you have successfully made a transition from your normal hectic world to one that is much slower and relaxed. Learn to take some gentle action to fight it off.

It is also possible that you may experience strong emotions during prayer. This can happen as you begin to find a deeper level of concentration and feel like you are about to enter in the place of the heart. If you are overcome with strong emotions simply open your eyes for a moment, make the sign of the cross and a few prostrations and then continue on with your prayer. If you experience tears this is a good sign, but do not delight in the tears. They are normally accompanied with a feeling of humility and contrition coupled with a profound love for God.

Another problem is seeing lights, images or even apparitions. They may even seem like bright ones. Saint Nil Sorski tells us,

“Do not permit yourself any concepts, images, or visions. For vivid images darting to and fro, and flights of fancy do not cease even when the mind stand in the heart and recites prayer: no one is able to rule over them, except those who have attained perfection by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and who have acquired stability of mind through Jesus Christ.” (Art of Prayer, p 101)

Saint Gregory the Sinaite warns similarly,

It must be completely imageless and we must on no account give freedom to the imagination or allow the fancy to form an image of any saint or light; because usually delusions, especially at the beginning deceive the minds of the inexperienced with false fantasies.
(Saint Gregory Sinaite, On the Prayer of Jesus by ignatius Brianchaninov, p 67)

The imagination is very strong and active. It will be stimulated by things in your memory. You may project into the future or dig back into unpleasant past. You want to dispel all images from your mind in prayer.34 Apparitions are especially dangerous. If you ever do have an apparition while praying, do not listen to, respond, or follow its direction, even if it is the Theotokos or your patron saint. Ignore it and immediately arrange to see your spiritual Father for advice. Any legitimate encounter will be surrounded with peacefulness and love and will return if it is legitimate. Such images are a common way the evil spirits work on us to mislead us. Often this work of the imagination will help us see a sinful past that we need to cleanse though the sacrament of Confession. Be sure to see your spiritual father when you experience any such images.

There are some cautions that are in order when practicing the Jesus Prayer.
• First, you should not practice this method of prayer unless you are regularly attending worship services, participating in the Sacraments of the Church, and reading the Scriptures.
• Second, you should not force yourself into the discovery within yourself of the action of the prayer of the heart.
• Third, you should not connect this practice with breathing exercises or other yoga techniques unless you are directed by your spiritual father.
Remember, delusion is your enemy. “An insignificant, unnoticed hope or trust in something outside God can stop the advance of progress... Faith in God is leader, guide, legs and wings.”35 If you begin to think that it is by your efforts that you will find unity with God, you are being deluded and in great spiritual danger.

Pride in your accomplishments through these efforts can stop you dead in your tracks. Any hint of pride needs to be recognized. Grace comes with humility. As soon as you feel pride recognize it and ask for forgiveness. If you don’t, your prayer will become cold and dark. Once you repent, recognize your error and ask for forgiveness, you will be able continue on the path. This is normal. We fall down and we seek help and mercy asking for forgiveness and we cleanse ourselves of impurity. We do this time and time again. Through this process, step by step, we become purer and our prayer life deepens until we find the union of love with God.

Jesus Prayer- 3 stages of prayer

There are three stages of prayer. The first level is oral prayer or as it is often referred to, prayer of the lips. This is the beginning stage where the prayer is said aloud. This engages more of our brain and helps us to focus our attention on the words of the prayer. Here we discover the nature of our distracted mind and programming of our brain. We encounter our own thoughts that will ride on top of the words our prayer like a hitchhiker. We will also have the sensation that we are more than our thoughts as we gradually begin to know our soul. We find that we can actually observe our thoughts interfering with our prayer. We wonder, “Where do these thoughts come from?” At this stage prayer is still something external to us so we need to consider this as a first step.

The second level is mental prayer. As we continue with prayer over a period of time we will find that we will be able to pray without using the lips and say the prayer silently in our mind. This will happen naturally. We don’t want to force it prematurely. Don’t try and be overzealous and end up like the hare instead of the tortoise. If we experience distraction at this level then simply go back to using oral prayer. Keeping our attention focused on the words of the prayer is essential. Theophan says that at this stage, "the mind is focused upon the words" of the Prayer, "speaking them as if they were our own." We begin to see how we can intercede and counteract our thoughts. We discover a new control center that we are beginning to see exists in our heart.

When you try and unite your mind with your heart the mind finds a hardness of the heart and cannot easily penetrate it. The mind will be frustrated and distracted by many other thoughts. As you begin to enter into mental prayer the words will be said in your mind and not your heart. This is where you need to expect to begin at this stage. Only later after much patience and effort will you be able to penetrate the heart. Try to keep your focus on the words as you pray and it will naturally open the door of your heart.

The third level is called prayer of the heart. At this level, prayer is no longer something you do, but something you are. This stage involves a transforming action as you discover your true nature. You find that you are much more than a body and brain, but that you are noetically connected with the divine energies of our God, and know that He dwells in the depths of your heart. This is not something you will be able to explain to others but you will recognize it. The prayer is now said continuously without any effort in the heart. This kind of prayer comes as a gift of the Holy Spirit. As Paul tells us, "God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit that cries 'Abba, Father!'." (Gal. 4:6) At this stage we now know what it means to be in union with God. We feel the divine presence within and sometimes are connected with the vision of the uncreated light, which is the pure energy of God. We can experience the kingdom of heaven within each of us. At this stage the door of our heart is wide open and we find our lives transformed as we begin to live a life of love. We now can pray “without ceasing” (Eph 6:18; 1 Thes 5:17; 1 Tim 2:8; Rom 12:12; 1 Thes 2:13; 1 Tim 1:2) as Scripture instructs us.
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