Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obedience

Luke 9:23-27 (Gospel reading)
23
Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
24
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
25
For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?


Obedience is one of the hardest disciplines to follow. It is loss supposedly of one's own free will. But is it not free will to be obedient?
Picking up the Cross and carrying it for someone else's imposed desire, means personal sacrifice, but in that... there appears freedom.
Obedience is not only to the person mandating the goal. Obedience is to a larger perspective. It is to God. Only then can the role that you have accepted be taken to the highest Good. For no human being is without sin. No matter the highest aim of the human that we follow, they are still human and imperfect.
My sense is that obedience to a person is victimhood. But when we take obedience to a higher level then it is transformed into a positive higher perspective and rather than victimhood there arises strength. Not strength of our own, but the strength of God's will in that situation. One feels that strength and can move in it. That truly is FREEDOM.
Accompanying that obedience is the prayer that this is God's will and He is working in that passage.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A new way to look at action

I was editing a cd that I am working on. St. John of Kronstadt to Abbess Thaisia...
I am paraphrasing.

What you do in the material world takes on a material semblance. It is how you do what you do. Do you do it for others or do you do it for God?


What a big difference it would be in my process if I thought that what I was doing for others, (sometimes wishing I didn't have to), I am really doing for God.
I have heard that in other ways before, but it never hit me in quite the same way. How alive that makes Jesus Christ! How joyful that would be to know that your operation for others was bigger than a day to day routine. That, I think, would make me more careful in agreeing to something that I casually agree to do and more aware when I commit myself. There are times that suddenly I am confronted with something I need to do for someone else and in those cases, YES, is a submission to God.
Hurray. What a wonderful thing to have been shown.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mary and Martha

"Today there is a great quarrel between "Martha" and "Mary", over who has chosen the good part. In the monasteries, as everywhere, Martha dominates Mary and does not let her pray much, while Mary weeps inconsolably. If we would put the church and the praise of God first, (Mary) and obediences and handiwork second (Martha), then all our monasteries and churches would be spiritually reborn and the devil would flee from men."

Elder Paisius Olaru
(Councils from Contemporary Romanian Elders, The Orthodox Word, #162, 1992, p.38)