Everywhere Present

BOSNIA MONASTERY WINEEverything you do, all your work, can contribute towards your salvation. It depends on you, on the way you do it. History is replete with monks who became great saints while working in the kitchen or washing sheets. The way of salvation consists in working without passion, in prayer….

May God give you the strength to keep your spirit, your mind, and your heart in the spirit of Christ. Then everything that happens to you can very quickly be radically transformed. What was tiresome and discouraging will disappear, transfigured by your desire to be there where Christ your God is….

Elder Sophrony



The wise elder’s words are not only good for our salvation (which is always at hand) but reminds us that we should not divide our lives into two worlds. Even monks have to wash dishes…

If we concede that some of our life is drudgery, mindless, but needful, while other parts of our life are interesting and of value to God, then we have ourselves created a two-storey universe of our inner world. This part of my life is of no value – while this part is of great value. This, of course, is nonsense. Even service in the Holy Altar frequently consists in washing dishes.

The words of the elder teach us that the problem of the two-storey universe is to be found primarily in our own heart – not in the culture around us nor in the tasks we find at hand. God is everywhere present and filling all things. He is even present and filling the various tasks of “drudgery” we undertake. No task is beneath us. The Mother of God changed the diapers of the God of heaven. Our love for those around us should be no less. We are moved when we read in John that ‘Jesus wept’ at the grave of Lazarus, His friend. The Theotokos had long before heard Him weap and wail as all children do. Nor should any mother (or father) give less value to the weeping of their own children. God has invested everything with His love, transforming the world into the stage of our salvation. Glory to God for all things.


  1. MaryGail says

    Fr. Stephen:

    I am about to embark on a new commercial enterprise. It will be my own business. Consequently, I am thinking about whether it is God’s will that I pursue this option and, if so, how I do I obtain, secure God’s blessing on it. One of the benefits of running my own business is that, to a large extent, I will be able to put policies in place that reflect my Christian values. I also want my enterprise to be something which is of genuine service to others. I don’t want my working life to be separted from my life of faith.

    Once again, I open your blog page and find a discussion which directly speaks to what is on my mind at the present. You are a mind reader! (joke!) Providence takes many forms.

  2. 4n0th3rs1nn3r says

    As someone who does not live two lives, but only one in God, I concur with what you are saying here. In fact, most of my life goes into the “drudgery” column. When I see how what I am doing serves God, it doesn’t seem so mindless anymore.
    However, on the days when my will seems to want to replace God’s, on those days when I just want to do my own thing….well, those are tough, but such is the human condition.

  3. Damaris says

    I once saw a lovely interpretation of the verses in Matthew where Jesus explains that every time we have helped the hungry, the naked, the imprisoned, we’ve helped him. A mother does this daily. You received a tiny, naked stranger and clothed him; when he cries you visit him in the prison of his crib. You feed him and give him drink — and in every way you do this for the Lord Himself. The work of a mother never separates us from