пятница, 18 декабря 2009 г.

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh. Healing of the Ten Lepers.

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
                  Healing of the Ten Lepers
                    23 December 1990
                           ----

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

The  Gospel  -  all the Gospel is a gift of God to us, and although we
are  not  continuously reminded of the need to be grateful, how can we
not respond with gratitude to what the Gospel brings to us? God has so
loved the world that He has given His only begotten Son that the world
may  be  saved; and the Son has given Himself freely, in the sovereign
freedom  of  His  Divinity to us; no-one has taken His life from Him -
these  are  His own words; He gave His life willingly, freely, that we
may live.

And  today  we  have in the Gospel a short example of the way in which
we,  most of the time, receive the gifts of God. Ten men came, covered
with leprosy, condemned to a cruel death by illness, but also rejected
ritually  by  their  own  people  for  the impurity of this infectious
disease. They came to Him, stood at a distance, because they knew that
according to the Jewish Law they had no right even to come near Him to
touch  Him. And they asked for mercy. And God send them to the priests
to  bring forth the sign of their gratitude for the healing which they
had  not  received;  and  they  believed, and they went, and they were
healed  before  they reached their goal... We might have expected that
they  rushed  back  to  fall  to  the  feet of Christ, to touch Him in
gratitude - no. Nine of them went their way; it was enough for them to
have  been  healed: it▓s all they needed of God. One of them, however,
turned round, and came to thank the Lord.

Isn▓t  it  an  image  of  the way in which so often we also behave? We
pray;  we ask the Lord for something that matters to us: it may not be
live  and  death,  it  may  just  be that we need so much one thing or
another;  or  that  we don▓t even need it so much, but that we long so
much  for it. And then it is given us; and we receive the gift, and we
rush  into  life with this gift in our hearts, this gift in our hands,
we  rush  to  life  because  it  is  enough for us that our prayer was
fulfilled.  How seldom it is that we come back, leaving our gift to be
used  later,  but first of all turning to God and saying: What wander!
What  is  Your love! How great, how compassionate, how humble that You
have responded to my prayer...

One out of ten came back to the Lord Jesus Christ: how many of us have
ever  come immediately, before they took advantage of the gift to turn
to  God  with  a  smile, like a child turns and say 'Thank you!▓, even
with  a smile, without words before taking advantage of what is given.
And  we  loose so much at not being grateful; because if we learned to
be  grateful for the obvious gifts of God, we would gradually discover
that  we  can  be  grateful for a great deal more, for everything that
Providence  puts  in  our way: not only things we rejoice in, not only
the  wanders of life, but even the challenges of life, the things that
claims  from  us courage, greatness, nobility, the things which we are
afraid  of.  And  how  often  we  could  overcome vanity by gratitude!
Because  vanity  consists  in  looking  at ourselves, and thinking how
wonderful we are, forgetting that all that we are, all that we have is
a  gift  of  God. If we only, every time we have said the right thing,
done  the  right  thing,  been  worthy  of  our  human  quality, human
greatness  and  nobility,  and  also  of  the name of the disciples of
Christ  - if every time we turned to God and said, ▒Yes! How wonderful
are the words I have spoken, how good is the action I have performed -
and  everything  was  of You: the occasion was given by You, o Lord! I
was able to perceive the need because You whispered in my heart: Look!
I could understand because I had my mind enlightened by the Gospel! My
heart  responded  because  You touched it, and from the heart of stone
which  I carry in my bosom most of the time it became a heart of flesh
full  of compassion and of understanding! And You gave me the means of
meeting  the  need,  and  the  joy of meeting this need!.. If we could
respond  to  everything  this way, we would discover that life is made
into an act of worship and of gratitude.

Let us reflect on this because we are coming within a few weeks, a few
days  now to a day when our heart should be aflame with gratitude: God
has  loved us so much as to become one of us; while we were strangers,
alien to Him, often inimical to Him, He came, and He gave His life for
us  that we may live!.. We must prepare for it: joy, gratitude, faith,
openness  to  God does not happen of a sudden; we must prepare for it.
Let  us  reflect  on  what is going to happen; the thing that happened
nearly  two  thousand  years  ago we shall remember as an actual event
now,  in  a  few  weeks;  and  be  ready,  with a heart tilled, deeply
furrowed  by  faith,  by  reflection,  having though out all our life,
ready  to  receive  the  Lord  like  a shepherd, in the simplicity and
purity  of  our hearts, or like the Wise Men in the deep understanding
of wisdom. Amen!
                           ----

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