Welcome to Saint Herman's, Hudson, Ohio
Friday, March 18, 2022
We’re not unfamiliar with the word. We know what it means. But like precious gems, wisdom is not a common thing found among people. People may have tremendous knowledge. But without wisdom, knowledge is useless. How so?
Having knowledge means that one possesses the information required to do something. Wisdom relates to the experience to know how to implement the knowledge. In fact, wisdom can provide its own knowledge.
Take a simple example. Buy a box of pierogies at the grocery (you’re probably neck deep in them by now at this point in the fast!). The ingredients are listed carefully on the box. From this “knowledge”, make your best pierogi. Then compare it with the one that came from the box, or better yet, from a baba who has been pinching pierogies most of her adult life. You’ll begin to understand wisdom.
This past Monday saw a passage from the Book of Proverbs. In part, it gave us this gem:
Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding; For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law. When I was my father's son, Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, He also taught me, and said to me: "Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live. Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom.
Seems like the King Solomon valued wisdom!
It’s a good lesson for all of us at this point in the Fast. The Church has been gifting to us the instruction of a father over the past weeks. She has given us good doctrine in the teachings of Zacchaeus, of the Publican, of the Prodigal, and in the view provided by the Holy Fathers of the 7th Council related to Holy Icons. Have we heeded the instruction? Is our daily life somehow different because we have attempted to implement those lessons into how we live? Or have the words fallen on ears that are not hearing well? If the ears are not hearing, then our hearts will not retain the Church’s words.
There is life in the commandments we share with one another by the teaching of our Lord. They are commandments that can preserve us in times of worldly trouble, which seems to grow greater with each passing day! Wisdom is the gem we should be mining to prepare us for all that the world will throw at us.
And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; A crown of glory she will deliver to you." Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, And the years of your life will be many. I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, And when you run, you will not stumble.
Wisdom brings us to repentance, to forgiving others with ease, to recognition that the fast is a tool to enable us to take a closer walk to that led by the Saints. It shows us the way to joyous almsgiving, It elevates in our lives all the virtues, faith, hope, honesty, humility, obedience, patience, self-control, kindness, gratitude, and the rest.
May our Lord bless us all to increase in HIS wisdom, making each of us individually and all of us collectively better servants!
Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Wednesday, March 2, 2022
We find ourselves in Forgiveness Week. As we contemplate the fullness of how to forgive others, we find our thoughts mingling with the issue of prayer. If we seek to forgive someone, we should pray for them. Can I with all sincerity pray for the one I seek to forgive? Yes? Then we've made a good start! But for what do I pray in such a prayer? How do I pray for him/her? Words have meaning. What words do I offer?
Do I ask the Lord to “guide them”? If so, I am judging them to have strayed from the path, and I’m seeking that God change THEM. In praying for one whom I seek to truly forgive, it is better to ask the Lord to change ME, to bless me with the ability to divest myself of pride and judgmentalism, to forgive my anger that I held BEFORE I chose to truly forgive!
Do I ask the Lord to forgive them? If so, my words show that I’ve not myself truly forgiven them. For how can one contemplate a person (me) having granted true forgiveness, but God not having done so? How could I possibly have a virtue not ascribed to God? How can I have forgiven, but God has not? Indeed, I have usurped the spiritual authority our Lord gave to His Apostles, for I am binding on earth while insincerely praying for God to unbind in heaven. Let me first unbind my own heart from judgmentalism and from pride, then ask God for mercy on both me and the one I have truly and fully forgiven.
My enemy will forever be my enemy until I love him! And as the Holy Fathers teach, my having true love for one who was my enemy does not assure that he or she will in turn love me. Can one love someone who does not love in return? If we truly forgive and can honestly answer yes, we begin to see things as God does! For how many of us (ALL of us!!!) have sinned against God, but know full well that He never stops loving us!
Saint Theophan the Recluse says it this way. "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Mat 6:14-15) What a simple and handy means of salvation! Your trespasses are forgiven under the condition that you forgive your neighbor's trespasses against you. This means that you are in your own hands. Force yourself to pass from agitated feelings toward your brother to truly peaceful feelings - and that is all. The day of forgiveness - what a great, heavenly day of God this is! If all of us used it as we ought, this day would make Christian societies into heavenly societies, and the earth would merge with heaven.