There are two things that get more difficult as you age; the first is the ability to remember things, and the second is …. well, I forgot. I know, a corny joke, but there is a kernel of truth. This was driven home to me the other day when, for the umpteenth time, I forgot my glasses. As I was getting in the car with my daughters the next day, they both asked “Daddy, did you remember your glasses?” Great, now my daughters have taken on the task of helping me remember!
But, let’s face it, it’s easy to stay focused on those things we always enjoy, but a bit harder to stay focused on those parts of life that may be more “mundane” or “not as much fun.” You know the things: “Where’s my keys?” “Is it trash day again?” “”What was his name?” “is it time to pay that bill again?” “What was I suppose to do for that committee I volunteered for?” You know the stuff.
And yet, there is something both aggravating and necessary about having someone remind you of those moments in your life you should give attention to. But, most of the time, it’s a thankless job.
In today’s Epistle Lesson St. Paul writes to his spiritual son Titus about his role as “reminder” in the parish Titus pastors.
Look at Titus 3:1-2: Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for any honest work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all men.
Quite a list of reminders for this parish priest to bring to his faithful!
But at the heart of this challenging list is an attitude that is absolutely indispensable to spiritual maturity: Wakefulness! This parish priest is being reminded of his duty to keep the faithful “awake” to the daily witness of an attentive life. If we can stay “awake” to our calling to live such an attentive life we fill our days with attentiveness to God and others, we will leave a legacy so strong that others will be able to see clearly how to live their lives as well! We will do as Christ commanded in our Gospel Lesson today: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Plus, this gift of having a spiritual “reminder” fights against the “I can do this all by myself” mentality that feeds both pride and isolation, both of which destroy spiritual maturity and progress. It’s actually a gift from God that we aren’t always completely self-sufficient. It helps us become both loving servants AND humble recipients of loving service! Talk about a real spiritual blessing!
Today, are you willing to allow your parish priest the freedom to exercise his calling to keep you awake to these important matters in your daily life? Or do you resent it when the priest preaches a sermon that is meant to keep you awake? Why not rejoice and embrace with true thankfulness the ministry given to our spiritual leaders to call us to a purposeful Orthodoxy and a daily practice of this faith that turns the light on for the whole world! So, did you remember to…..?