Spiritual Regeneration in the Lenten Season
Our Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Bless! The Lord!
Why do we fast? Why do we pray? Why do we give more alms to others in this Lenten Season? It is not because we are just trying to please someone or be good or to do as others expect. No, not at all. We fast and deny ourselves, we pray and draw closer to God, and we give generously to others all because this is immensely good for us. It is the very means to become more like Christ, for the meaning of being a Christian is someone who follows Christ and His teachings and His Church, Which is His Body.
It is, according the the great saints of the Church, these very practices that bring us active experience of the life of Christ, and also entry into the stream of His Life. In Great Lent, we see the Lord humbled greatly by men, but glorified by God His Father. Beholding Christ imprisoned and then tortured and killed, we also see His Resurrection which was only manifest when He Himself went through this process to teach us how to do this ourselves graciously, lovingly, and longingly to enter the Kingdom of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
This New Year at the Skete
We are blessed here at the Skete with the ministry of providing the largest selection of icon reproductions anywhere that we know. They are truly “windows into Heaven.” Just since January 1st of this year we have started to show all of the saints or church feastdays (for both the Old or New calendars) for each day of the year that we have at least one icon of in our collection. They are available on both Facebook at our page of https://www.facebook.com/- Orthodox-Byzantine-Icons-1798582983724763/ and on Instagram at our page https://www.instagram.com/orthodoxbyzantineicons/ We also wish to add this year another 2,500 new icons to our website and store at https://skete.com/. What a wonderful calling to be so engaged in each day.
The Winter snows have finally come to our little valley here in Southwestern Wisconsin. It is a perfect time to turn inwardly in prayer, and spend more time with Him.
We are facing many challenges already this year from the restrictions in equipment and finances still continuing from the destructive windstorm that came through our valley two and half years ago. We are just a few monks to do all of the work and outreach to others. Greatly constrained finances have been our greatest concern. Even our most basic needs are still hard for us to fulfill for some time–even our food, lights, and warmth.
The road to the back valley is now finally plowed after being inaccessible for most of a year before because of last year’s flooding damage to the road. It was barely fixed this last Fall. Thankfully we have an Amish neighbor that comes to cut and move wood with one of our monks to keep the fires burning. The silence in the back valley is very deep and profound, filled with the sound of a full silence which is not a lack of sound. This makes the time spent there a different kind of prayer. This is why we came here, to pray in the deep silence of these remote Skete valleys.
We just found out that it will cost $2,200 to install a new furnace in our kitchen/dining room and the tanks for our water system for our whole front valley are in this trailer. The furnace went out a few days ago. We are just using space heaters to keep this from freezing. Our Wisconsin winter isn’t over yet. Please help with this unexpected emergency!
Our Present Urgent Needs
We really need your help. Please pray for us and, if possible, send us some means now to help us continue our life here, and our icon service to the church at large and also to you. Our sales have been extremely slow so far this Winter, which puts a strain on just keeping up with our daily expenses, heat, and food. Help us also by buying an icon gift now for yourself and for your dear friends. Help us now rebuild our guesthouse for visitors to come again for retreats. Help us get a new furnace. Give from the heart. Let your mercy greatly shine towards us, and may His mercy also greatly shine towards you.
Your Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The monastics of St. Isaac of Syria Skete
and the Convent of St. Silouan,
and the community at St. Nicholas Church
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