Thursday, November 10, 2005

Desolation and Glory

The Lord said to me, "You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified."
But I said, "I have labored in vain,
I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity." (Isaiah 49:3-4)

The paradoxical logic of the cross means that God will be glorified in us preceisely when we have completely emptied ourselves of all of our own ambitions, prejudices, notions of success and so on. This will feel to us like 'nothing and vanity': a life's work can appear to be a total waste. Indeed, the Hebrew word 'nothing' in this case is tohu, the very word that appears in Genesis 1:1 to describe the primordial state of the universe: nothing and void. It is precisely under these conditions that God can speak His Word and create something good in our lives, when our own self-will is brought to nothing.

We fight against this particularly because the feeling that we are nothing, that our efforts have been in vain, often make us suspect that God has abandoned us. At those times in our lives, let us turn to our glorified Savior, brought to nothing on the cross and at the same time "lifted up," the very 'refulgence of the glory of God'. (Heb 1:3) Let us not be afraid.

Peace to you in Christ from all of the monks!

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If I, who seem to be your right hand and am called Presbyter and seem to
preach the Word of God, If I do something against the discipline of the Church
and the Rule of the Gospel so that I become a scandal to you, The Church, then
may the whole Church, in unanimous resolve, cut me, its right hand, off, and
throw me away.

Origen of Alexandria
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