Saturday, April 10, 2010

Food for thought...

Beguiling and deceptive is the life of the world, fruitless its labor, perilous its delight, poor its riches, delusive its honors, inconstant, insignificant; and woe to those who hope in its seeming goods: because of this many die without repentance. Blessed and most blessed are those who depart from the world and its desires.

Elder Nazarius

Forgive your humble rambling servant, but I thought that particularly the people of the US who are suffering the approach of TAX DAY (EEK!) might find solace and some measure of comfort in the Blessed Elder's words.

I was party to a spontaneous joke a long time ago. It said: "Money can't buy you happiness, my son; (pause for effect) but you can rent it!" Of course the truth is money can't buy, rent, borrow, or give happiness to anyone. Happiness, the fleeting outward emoting of approval, always eventually dissipates either into numbness or melancholy. This is because what most people consider to be happiness is not so; it is the expending of a pleasurable emotion.

True Happiness is the physical incarnation of spiritual Joy that is only experienced by a person who has humbly submitted the entirety of his/her life to the Most Holy Trinity. In such a person there is strength and peace, joy and hope, all springing from the fountain of Faith. Accepting God's generous invitation to Holy Love and Divine Light can result in a lifetime of experiencing the vicissitudes of this life with equanimity because the challenges and disappointments of life are not able to defeat the Spirit within us. Instead of depending on the passing things of life, we cherish and are embraced by Life Himself.

It is thus that even when we read a Church Father, or prayer, or listen to a Troparion or Canon that emphasizes our sinfulness and unworthiness, our desperate need for repentance and the cliff's edge of damnation at which we all stumble, we rather can discover joy than sink into despair. Joy, because we correctly understand these spiritual words as carried on in the context of a Divine Dialogue of Eternal Love.

The level of our "fear of the Lord" is precisely related to our realization that I really don't deserve the Grace and Mercy our Lord lavishes on me. This produces ever more prayerful moments of praise, repentance, adoration and thanksgiving. The tears of repentance are tears of joy, the tears of a parent who thought his/her child were dead and suddenly finds it alive. These are the tears of a child who knowing his culpability, recognizing his responsibility, and expecting the punishment that is meet, discovers that his turn of heart has produced forgiveness and with it brought thankfulness.

This is why the great Fathers of the Church always speak of contrition accompanied by tears. It is not the emotional collapse of the defeated; it is the spiritual triumph of the humbled repentant prodigal accepted back by the Loving Father.

Thanks be to God for the undeserved Gift of His Salvation so freely offered to us. May we all repent so completely that our eyes stream with tears of thankfulness. As we find ourselves healed of sin let us rejoice in the ability granted us to grow in His Divine Image and Likeness.

Let that be our goal, yours and mine, and the toils and trials of this life will account nothing in comparison to the security of Love we will possess in Christ.

May it be God's will that I achieve that ascetic goal and so keep clean my baptismal garment. Pray for me. I am praying for each of you my appreciated, dear and beloved readers.

Thanks be to God!

1 comment:

ancillamaria said...

Thank you, Father, for this beautiful post. God bless you +JMJ+ amr