II Lent Friday – Finding Grace Before the Lord

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And Noe was five hundred years old, and he begot three sons, Sem, Cham, and Japheth. And it came to pass when men began to be numerous upon the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God having seen the daughters of men that they were beautiful, took to themselves wives of all whom they chose. And the Lord God said, My Spirit shall certainly not remain among these men for ever, because they are flesh, but their days shall be an hundred and twenty years. Now the giants were upon the earth in those days; and after that when the sons of God were wont to go in to the daughters of men, they bore children to them, those were the giants of old, the men of renown. And the Lord God, having seen that the wicked actions of men were multiplied upon the earth, and that every one in his heart was intently brooding over evil continually, then God laid it to heart that he had made man upon the earth, and he pondered it deeply. And God said, I will blot out man whom I have made from the face of the earth, even man with cattle, and reptiles with flying creatures of the sky, for I am grieved that I have made them. But Noe found grace before the Lord God. – Genesis 6:1-8

“But Noe found Grace before the Lord God.” So it is always. In every generation, despite the great wickedness of men, the Lord’s chosen dwell in the midst. The Lord Jesus Himself, in His High Priestly Prayer to the Father in John 17, says to the Father that His disciples are not of the world and yet also that He does not ask the Father to take them out of the world (John 17:14-15 [KJV]). The Apostle of Love says, “Little children, love not the world (I John 2:15 [KJV]),” and yet we know from his Life that he spent his entire apostleship dwelling among men, even the very worst men.

How can we do this in our time, in our circumstances? For the devil tempts us either to join the world and love it or to be resentful and curse it. How do we love fallen men yet not imitate them? How can we love men so much that we are willing to be hated by them when we live according to Truth and speak this Truth when confronted? There are several things we can do:

1. Remember that only the grace of God can enable us to do this. It is a life above nature. Only by living in the Spirit can we be like Noah, patiently building the Ark while everyone around us is laughing at us or even cursing us. We must pray and insistently beg God for this grace.

2. We need to read the Lives of the Saints and be inspired by their courage joined to meekness. We need to remember that we are not alone, that there is a vast Church in the heavens cheering our every step in the right direction. We must ask them to intercede for us.

3. We must remain close to the Church. By living in the fragrant atmosphere of Her divine services, Her divine life, and staying close to our spiritual friends, we remain encouraged and in our right minds: encouraged, because the grace of the services and prayers fills our hearts with joy, and in our right minds, because within the sacred cosmos of the Church everything makes sense.

May the Holy Patriarch Noah, our common ancestor, intercede for us to stay happy and faithful in the midst of so much unhappiness and unfaithfulness all around us. He stayed the course, and God preserved him in the midst of global destruction. God will certainly do no less for us.

This commentary was taken from The Eternal Sacrifice: The Genesis Readings for Great Lent by Fr. Steven Allen. You can order a copy from Lulu at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/FrStevenAllen

The Construction of Noah’s Ark
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