Monday, October 12, 2015


As Jesus stood upon the boat where he had been teaching the crowd gathered by the lake, he commanded Simon Peter, "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught."  And lo and behold--although the fishermen had labored all night and caught nothing--"they enclosed a vast multitude of fishes, and their net brake."  Now it is true and certain that the depths of the sea of life in this temporal world are fraught with many dangers  for those striving to tread the path of salvation--but unless we are willing, placing our full faith and trust in God alone, to set forth into uncharted territories, we are destined to fall far short of our God-given potential.

For truly, a life worth living requires that we boldly step forward into the unknown, fully trusting in God's guidance and inspiration.  As our Lord revealed to  the Holy Apostle Paul: "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."  It is, indeed, a spiritual law that the more we are willing to acknowledge our total dependence on God and our inability to do anything good whatsoever apart from Him, the more abundant will be the grace that He bestows upon us.

What this means is that we must strive always  to empty ourselves of every egotistical thought and desire.  For so long as we live as though our lives are all about us--the further we are bound to drift apart from God and to fail to acquire the good things He has in store for those who love Him and are willing to obey His commandments.

So long as we are full of ourselves, no room remains within our hearts to receive the love of God and the sanctifying grace of His Holy Spirit.  And so, in the end, we are bound to fall into the dark abyss of isolation and despair... to fashion for ourselves a hell of our own making.  We must be willing to die to ourselves if we desire to live with God--that we may--persevering unto the end-- be deemed worthy of the gift of eternal life in His heavenly Kingdom.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


It has become the fashion nowadays to be offended... by just about anything: from the Confederate battle flag to anything remotely religious displayed in a public setting (unless the display is a mockery of our Lord or the Theotokos,  in which case it is called "free speech.")  On a more personal level, it is considered well justified that we should be offended by anything we might consider to be an insult or critical comment (however obscure) against one's chosen lifestyle, ethnicity, religion, social and economic status... or anything else whatsoever.  There seems to be a plague in our modern culture of those who claim to be a victim, or at least aspire to become one. 

The Canaanite Woman in today's Gospel was as good a candidate as any for this coveted role.  Just because she had the misfortune of not being born a Jew, she is insulted and belittled--made to feel like trash--merely for requesting help for her demon-possessed daughter from this bigoted, insensitive, politically incorrect healer.  Obviously a member of the oppressive Jewish elite, this man judges her as unworthy of His help.  To Him, apparently, this woman is nothing but a "little dog."  If she were alive today, she'd most likely get a lot of sympathetic "likes" on Facebook and media support a-plenty. 

Yet rather than responding indignantly when first rejected, "she came and worshipped Him, saying, 'Lord, help!'"  Apparently the possibility of her daughter's deliverance is more important to her than her offended dignity.  And then, when our Lord adds insult to injury by insinuating that she is a dog, she doesn't disagree, but counters, "True, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."

It is only then that Jesus commends her for her faith and grants her request.  Thus she demonstrates for us all how essential is the virtue of humility for our salvation.  Now don't get me wrong: there are in this fallen world true victims of injustice and oppression, and as Christians it behooves us to aid and succor widows and orphans, the homeless, and all those in need of our compassion and understanding.  But as followers of Christ (if that is what we truly are), our Lord Himself assures us that we should expect persecution, trials and--if it be the will of God--martyrdom itself.  The proper reaction to this, however, is not outrage and anger, but rather the cultivation of a humble and contrite heart--to pray for our enemies and to do good to those who spitefully use us--that we might endure unto the end whatever cross Christ has deemed us worthy to bear.  Only then shall we be deemed worthy to receive crowns of glory in God's heavenly Kingdom.