Thursday, January 1, 2015

From Holy Mother Russia With Love

I've been reading Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov)'s Everyday Saints and Other Stories, a gift from a Russian Orthodox friend and colleague for Christmas (ours, not hers). An excerpt from the last pages I read in 2014:
    It is only through mysterious humility incomprehensible to the world, that a true Christian comes to one of the two greatest revelations in life. The first of these revelations is that one must discover the truth about oneself, and see oneself as one truly is. You must meet your own self. And believe me it’s the most important acquaintance. A vast number of people live their lives never even bothering to discover themselves at all. Sometimes we only have the vaguest notions or fantasies of who we are, and so depending upon our own vanity, pride, resentments, and ambitions we see nothing. But the truth, however bitter it might seem to us, is that WE are the “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” mentioned in the Scriptures…. Remember that verse from Revelation? And this truth only comes to us through scriptural and ruthlessly honest examination of oneself. Through true humility. True humility does not humiliate a man. On the contrary, anyone who survives this ordeal, this bitterest and harshest of truths becomes a saint. It is only those who are humble who can peer into the future, who can become prophets and miracle workers, wondered at by all of you.

    … You know the second revelation not one bit less than I. It is the truth that our Church patiently reminds us of in every single Divine Service without exception: “May Christ, our true God, through the intercessions of His most pure Mother and of all the saints, have mercy on us and save us, for He is good and lovest mankind.”
This book earns a place on my shelf next to the Philokalia, The Way of a Pilgrim, and Christ the Eternal Tao.

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