Daily Reflection May 30th, 2020

Daily Reflection May 30th, 2020

MAY 30 Venerable Isaac, Founder of the Dalmatian Monastery in Constantinople

The Word of God is food for the soul. The Word of God is both power and light for the soul. He who reads the Word of God gives food, power and light to his soul. He who can, should read the Word of God in Holy Scripture, and he who cannot should listen to him who reads Holy Scripture. All the saints emphasized the benefit of reading Holy Scripture. St. Seraphim of Sarov says: “The soul should be provided with the Word of God. For the Word of God, as Gregory the Theologian says, is the bread of angels, which feeds the soul that is hungry for God. But, above all, one should read the New Testament and the Psalter. From this proceeds illumination of the mind… It is very beneficial to read the Word of God in solitude and to read the entire Bible with understanding. The Lord gives His mercy to a man for endeavoring to do this, more than for other good deeds, and fills him with the gift of understanding. When a man provides his soul with the Word of God, then he is filled with the understanding of good and evil.” (St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Prologue from Ochrid)

Fr John’s Reflection

“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:15-21)

The days between Pascha and Pentecost become fewer and fewer, and the Gospel of St. John is taking us closer to that Day of Pentecost. Just eight days from now we will celebrate the Descent of the Holy Spirit — the same Spirit Jesus talks about in today’s selection from the lectionary. The direction He gives to His disciples is direction for each of us. First, keep His commandments. Anyone who claims to love God but does not strive to keep His commandments is a “liar” according to St. John. We demonstrate our love for Him by keeping His word. But, it is impossible to keep those commandments simply through our own effort.

So second, the Father will send another Helper — the Holy Spirit. This Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, who will lead everyone who accepts the Spirit to the truth. It is this Spirit who makes keeping the commandments possible, inspiring action, filling that which is lacking, and bringing all wisdom to the vessels that are filled with Him. Pentecost is the descent of that same Holy Spirit upon the Church. Chrismation is the descent of that same Holy Spirit upon me! The Holy Spirit strengthens us to fulfill His commandments, never relying simply upon our own feeble efforts.

Finally, in words that comfort beyond any measure we can imagine, He says “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” He says something similar to the apostles on the Day of Ascension: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” The “world” will not see Him. The “world” cannot receive the Spirit. The “world” cannot see or know Him. But each of us has been called “out” of the world. We know Him because He dwells with us and will be with us. We Christians oftentimes can feel like orphans in this world. That not only is not a problem, it is good. For it is then, when we literally feel “out of this world,” that we become children of the Most High, never orphaned, filled with His Spirit, and living in the one true home created for us. Most Holy Spirit, come!