CAPTURING THE GRACE OF THE DAY
Rip Van Winkle’s sleep reminds us of the fruits of inattention. As he awoke after a 100 year sleep to find everyone he knew gone and life different so too in heedlessness and inattention we loose contact with reality. We should value the moment. St. Herman exhorts us that from this day from this hour from this moment let us love God and strive to do his holy will. We have to be awake in order to capture the grace of the day and not loose the day and the many moments of the day.
Heedfulness, attentiveness, these are blessings that bring us into the awareness of God’s pres- ence. One holy priest said: I don’t want to have a vision of God or the Lord. I want to rather continue to know that He is with me and within me.
The Lord said we could be His friends giving a very unusual requirement. You are My Friends if you do everything I tell you. We are Christians in deed when we care about pleasing Him and being His friend.
Why do we seek special gifts, special circumstances in life. Every circumstance and every day provides ample opportunity to fulfill God’s will....If you do everything I tell you.
Just as a person’s fingerprint is unique, telling us or proclaiming the uniqueness of the person each day is also unique never to appear again for all eternity.
“The Elder [Nektary] also used to say that each day has its own special grace assigned to it. This grace is found in the assigned daily readings of the Gospels, the Epistles, the stichera, and the troparia. The thoughts contained therein are designated for that day as also the daily commemoration of specific saints. This he said is connected with God’s Providence assigned for the day.” OW #169 1993, p.76
The other part of the day is the opportunities that occur, the people we meet and the experience of the day. Help me to greet all that this day may bring (from the prayer of the Optina Elders). If we will be attentive to the occurrences of the day, not so much whether they make us happy or not, but rather to how we respond to them; for we are under obedience to follow the commandments of the Lord; to do that which He commands us; to love God and love our neighbor. But there is more detail and dimension. Read the Gospels and record every command of the Lord...Matt. 4.17- Repent!, the beatitudes and the commands of the Sermon on the Mount, etc.
One winter a young man looked out his window and saw a beautiful cardinal, Perched on a telephone wire in the midst of winter, he sang his piercing song despite the unnatural surroundings. We should be the same. We should be like the cardinal giving voice to gratitude, love, worship, irre- gardless of the surroundings and within the context of our circumstances. The saints are a great exam- ple for us of people like ourselves doing this. The saints are the proof and the model of those who lived their lives to do all that I command you. We should study their lives and imitate them.
“Just as painters, in working from models, constantly gaze at their exemplar and thus strive to transfer the expression of the original to their own artistry, so too he who is eager to make himself perfect in all kinds of virtue must gaze upon the Lives of the Saints as upon a statue, so to speak, that move and act, and must make their excellence his own by imitation.” St. Basil the Great, quoted from Holiness, Man’s Supreme Destiny, Constantine Cavarnos, Inst. For Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Belmont, MA p.35
Christian brothers and sisters, the grace of the day is there for us to capture for our own salva- tion and for the glory of God and His ministries. Let us attend!