Friday, March 16, 2012

LESSON TIME: Humble Act vs Humble Reality

Great Schema Archimandrite Damian,  
Someone please explain to me how the great
warrior Saint Michael the Archangel, lacks humility?
Saint Michael's humility is not in an effeminate
appearance or manner, nor in being malleable to others,
nor in refusing to lift the sword and lead angels
and men into battle,  (Saint Lazar as an example) instead
his humility is expressed in his abject capitulation
to God's will.
My friend who sparked these thoughts about our duties as an American Citizen vs the Church's teaching of humility before God and worldly authority, wrote:

"Humble unto God always! I cannot see any way "around" this, for God exalts the humble and gives Grace to the humble, but he rejects the proud. Humble YES, Passive NO! Humble YES, subjugated without resistance NO!"

In this statement I think without realizing it he summed up my understanding, though I use more militant words:

 We are in basic agreement according to your last sentence. It is quite different to interpret "humble before GOD" as being, passive before our fellow man. So many interpret humility before GOD, as the latter, making it a humble ACT before men,  instead of an obedience unto God.

In the religion of my parents the more effeminate the man, the more they saw him as humble. It didn't take me long to learn that lurking just under the skin of such "humble acts" were men filled with resinous pride, not truly humble at all.  (Although there were glaring and saintly exceptions.)

The greatest humility any one can show is to be obedient to their God given calling, that is to God's overarching meaning for their life, and God calls some to very worldly vocations.

Here is a quote from my spiritual mentor and confessor, Great Schema Archimandrite Damian (May he repose in God's Divine Light) about how we find that "overarching meaning and purpose for our life."

“A great deal of our task in the world is shown to us in "On-the-Job training”, so to speak, while we are working and eating. We start by doing what we can do, what we are told to do, what we have to do, and what we have been doing. We learn what we ought to do by doing these things prayerfully, through which we may sometimes see what we could be doing instead - or the Lord may simply want us to keep on doing exactly what we are doing, whether we like it or not. If everyone on earth tried to live a richly gratifying and exciting life, the world might not long endure. And the patient endurance of dullness, on the other hand, may be a very useful virtue to learn. 

“In addition to patience, we must learn not to judge. People are seldom as good at that as they think, and not always anxious to learn better. But the Lord may have something worldly He wants us to do, and we should always be ready to learn that or to tolerate it in others. These things cannot be explained; we must just take them as He sends them. Life is not meaningless just because we do not understand it. And our Orthodox Faith is not confused just because our reason cannot hold it together for us." 


My criticism wasn't directed at my friend, but at the prayer, suggesting that we should pray to live in peace under the rule of communist and/or muslims. I will never pray, Lord give me humility to live peacefully under a communist or muslim government. This is the foolishness and cowardice of past generations that destroyed the Church and Christian people in the East as documented in Bat Be'or works. I will pray, as the founders of this Country prayed, "Lord give us the strength to throw off tyranny."

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