Daily Reflection for August 14, 2020

DAILY REFLECTION  •  AUGUST 14  •  Holy Prophet Micah


Beware of a parent’s curse for a parental curse is a dreadful thing. Appreciate and seek a parental blessing for it will accompany you throughout your entire life. The all-wise Sirach speaks: “For the blessing of the father establishes the houses of children but curse of the mother rooteth out foundations” (Sirach 3:9 Ecclesiasticus 3:9). The curse by which Noah cursed the descendants of Ham still follows the unfortunate Hamites today. However, to the sons of Jacob, it was the same as their father blessed them in their life. St. Sergius, as a young man, begged his parents for their blessing in order for him to become a monk. But, the aged parents begged their son to wait awhile and to labor around them until their death and after that to become tonsured a monk. Sergius obeyed his parents and was blessed until his death. Bishop Hermogenes relates an incident how a son mistreated his wife. When his mother, with tears, began to scold him because of this, the son attacked his mother, beat her and smashed her head against a wall. The sorrowful mother cried out: “Lord, may my son be cursed and may he not have my blessing nor Your blessing.” That same day, the son began to tremble throughout his entire body and for thirteen years he lived in this state of trembling not even able to raise a spoon to his mouth. After thirteen years, he made his confession and received the Sacrament of Holy Communion which made it somewhat easier for him and soon after that he died. (St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Prologue from Ochrid)

Fr. John’s Reflection

For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you. For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end (as also you have understood us in part), that we are your boast as you also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus. And in this confidence I intended to come to you before, that you might have a second benefit – to pass by way of you to Macedonia, to come again from Macedonia to you, and be helped by you on my way to Judea.
           Therefore, when I was planning this, did I do it lightly? Or the things I plan, do I plan according to the flesh, that with me there should be Yes, Yes, and No, No? But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us – by me, Silvanus, and Timothy – was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
(2 Corinthians 1:12-20)

Once again, St. Paul brings profound truths to us in simple ways. The passage above, prescribed for today in the lectionary, is the beginning of his second letter to the Corinthians. He is speaking about his travel plans and desire to make stops with them both to and from Macedonia. But in those plans are two lessons for us as Christians: the first lesson is that, as Paul reminds them, “fleshly wisdom” is not part of his relationship with them. He speaks with them in godly sincerity and simplicity. He does not write anything except what “you read and understand.” Our journey with the Lord in the Church is, indeed should always be, neither “fleshly” nor beyond comprehension. The “things of God,” while in many ways beyond our understanding, nonetheless are revealed to us in as far as we can bear it in ways that we can grasp. The Apostle speaks to his readers in godly simplicity, so should the Church speak to us today.

The second simple lesson is the wonderful little comment on “Yes and No.” Again, he was speaking about his plans, but he reminds us that if we plan according to the flesh, it could be yes, it could be no, it could be Yes or No (we might say “maybe” today). But in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, there is only Yes. All the promises made by God through His Son are sure. All the promises are to the glory of God. All the promises are given to us. Paul also says “in” the Lord is Amen (so be it). His word is steadfast and His promise sure. Paul tells the Corinthians he has tried to live the same way and when he tells them he will visit, he will visit. The lesson, of course, is that our yes must be yes and our no, no. If the word of the Lord is steadfast, and we are followers of the Lord, then we must have steadfast words also. Those steadfast words that we utter must find their origin in the first Steadfast Word.