I remember thinking “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.” It was one of those moments in our journey to Orthodoxy that caused my soul to say “Aha.” A point of enlightenment about just how profound our newfound, and ancient faith was going to be for how I thought about faith. Our catechist had just said “we get what we need many times in life by going through the door of its opposite.”
It’s true, men don’t like following direction. This came home to me the other day as I was assembling a small table for our living room. There weren’t that many pieces and the assembly “seemed” straight forward so I dove right in. That is until I had to connect the last piece. It wouldn’t work. No matter how hard I tried to figure out how to make it work, it wasn’t going to happen until I disassembled most of what I’d already done to correct my failure to read the directions! It took me twice as long as it should have, not to mention my frustration (and embarrassment) on top of all this.
Most of life is this way. Our egos get ahead of wisdom and we find ourselves either having to backtrack and correct our error OR having to live with “poorly assembled” lives.
You see it in every restaurant bathroom you go to: “Employees must wash their hands before returning to work.” I’ve even seen detailed instructions in bathrooms as to how to wash one’s hands properly!
In 1546 Italian physician and scholar Girolamo Fracastoro first suggested that unseen “germs” were the cause of infectious diseases, and the idea that germs caused sickness. But they couldn’t “see” the germs, so it would be years later that this theory was proven accurate.
Over and over again, we’ve seen a spiritual correlation between our physical world and our spiritual lives. So, if physical disease is caused by unseen “germs” then there are spiritual diseases, illnesses of the soul that are also caused by small things that grow into big problems. AND, if we can be aware of these “small things” and get ahead of their “infection” in our soul, we can keep our spiritual lives healthy! But, of course, you have to regularly “wash your hands!”
Today, Jesus asks a man “Do You believe that I can do this?” The man answers “Yes” and the Lord tells him, what He tells us today, “According to your faith be it done to you.”
Today, life throws some pretty tough times for us, and each time we are confronted with the question of whether we believe our Lord knows our path better than we know it, and each time we get to answer that same question from the Lord “Do YOU believe I can do this?”
Today, do you?
Our Saturday Guest Blog comes to us from Orthodox Christian Network. It is a wonderful series of teachings on the Creed of the Orthodox Faith. While this is certainly a project that will take time, this is a wonderful resource for your own education and edification concerning the central confession of our Orthodox Faith.
A few weeks ago we were all at home, just sitting in the living room when there was a noise outside the back door. My wife turned to me and asked “did you hear that?” I had and went to investigate. It turned out to be nothing more than a bullfrog trying to get the attention of the object of his affection!
But it got me thinking: Why do we ask such a question? “Did you hear that?” Do we doubt our own ears? Are we afraid we are hearing things that aren’t really there? If a tree falls in the woods… Oh, come on, that’s going too far!
My dear bride has a hard and fast rule for my two girls: “Wash your hands!” You see, my wife is a trained elementary school educator and part of that training has to do with hygiene. Teaching children to wash their hands before they eat, after they play, and after their potty breaks is all part of having healthy children.
It’s a good thing.
G. K. Chesterton once said “True contentment is a thing as active as agriculture. It is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it. It is arduous and it is rare.”
So true. Real contentment is something that doesn’t come “naturally” in a world that is always telling you you are lacking something and need to pursue that thing to be happy! In fact, I will go so far as to say that seeking to be happy rather than to be content is the source of most of our problems in life. When one realizes that happiness is a choice and not a destination or dependent on outside circumstances, and that CONTENTMENT is the real goal we should be working towards, then life seems to find its proper equilibrium. But most of us expend vast amounts of time and energy seeking happiness when we should be working (and working hard) for a contented life.
Recently, the American actor James Garner passed away. He was known for several roles but one of my favorites was in the 1969 comedy “Support Your Local Sheriff.” In this movie Garner plays a character that becomes sheriff in an old West town just for the money, and, well, comedy ensues.
The truth is there is real spiritual benefit in understanding why we must support our parish communities, including our clergy. It isn’t just some “job creating” justification for clergy wanting “the easy life.”