Encountering drought in one’s soul
Drought has had a significant impact on whole civilizations, even being responsible for the total abandonment of great cities, now buried beneath the sands of history. The Great Dust Bowl led to the mass migration of our own people, as farms and towns were gobbled up by dust storms, having a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of families.
With parts of the country experiencing continued drought, it is perhaps a good time to take a look at another type of drought, one that impacts the souls of believers. Periods of spiritual dryness come to all of us, and just as the earth is impacted, with the death of plants and animals, so too can this spiritual drought bring death to the soul.
The image of the nineteenth century “rainmaker” comes to my mind, when traveling entrepreneurs managed to garner sums of money from local townspeople and farmers, with the promise of “making rain”. The desperate locals would fork over their remaining meager savings in the hopes of bringing the much needed rain for their crops, and dried up wells.
During periods of spiritual dryness, people tend to look in all the wrong directions, in a desperate attempt to quench their thirst for the meaning of life. Trying to fill a spiritual void, they look to entertainment, material goods, and worldly abandon, hoping to quench the drought they sense has taken hold of them. Like the farmers and townspeople of the Dust Bowl, they pay money to the “rainmakers” of pop music, entertainment, and material goods, all in a desperate attempt to find meaning to their lives, all the while ignoring the ocean of Living Water that resides within.
With love in Christ,
Photo: Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Cathedral in San Francisco. The holy relics of Saint John the Wonderworker reside in this beautiful cathedral.
Saturday March 17, 2018 / March 4, 2018
Fourth Saturday of the Great Lent. Tone seven.
Great Lent. Food with Oil
Parents’ Saturday. Remembrance of the dead.
Venerable Gerasimus of the Jordan (475).
Venerable Gerasimus, monk, of Vologda (1178).
St. Daniel, prince of Moscow (1303).
New Hieromartyrs Archpriest Dimitry Ivanov of Kiev (1933) and Priest Vyacheslav (Leontiev) of Nizhegorod (1937).
New Hieromartyr Alexander priest (1938).
Blessed Basil (Basilko), prince of Rostov (1238).
Saints of Pskov martyred by the Latins: Venerable Ioasaph of Snetogorsk Monastery and St. Basil of Mirozh Monastery (1299).
Martyrs Paul, his sister Juliana, and Quadratus, Acacius, and Stratonicus, at Ptolemais in Syria (273).
Venerable James the Faster of Phoenicia (Syria) (6th c.).
Translation of the relicts (938) of Martyr Wenceslaus, prince of the Czechs (935).
St. Gregory, bishop of Constantia in Cyprus.
St. Gregory, bishop of Assos near Ephesus (1150).
St. Julian, patriarch of Alexandria (189).
St. Peter (Michurin), youth of Tobolsk (Siberia) (1820).
The Scripture Readings
A Better Estimate
9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. 10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Jesus Heals a Deaf-Mute
31 Again, departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon, He came through the midst of the region of Decapolis to the Sea of Galilee. 32 Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. 33 And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. 34 Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”
35 Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly. 36 Then He commanded them that they should tell no one; but the more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”