26 November OS 2017 – Saturday of the 10th Week of St. Luke; St. Alypios the Stylite, St. Nikon of the “Repent Ye”, St. Stylianos of Paphlagonia, St. Innocent of Irkutsk
Today’s daily Gospel reading is Luke 10: 19-21.
The Lord said to His disciples, Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
Again, today, the Lord speaks of our need to receive His revelation like little children: the Father, Lord of heaven and earth, has hidden His mysteries from the “wise and prudent,” and He has revealed them to “babes.” Only the pure in heart, only the innocent, can really receive the Gospel into their hearts. Any kind of calculation, guile, and dissimulation chases away grace and makes a man blind. He may think himself very clever, but he is the most foolish of the foolish. He sees nothing.
How can we keep our sight intact? How can we retain our warm, childlike vision of Faith and of the Church in this time that is so cold and so cynical? Out there, the vision of Darwin has prevailed – bankrupt as science, it has nevertheless become what it was always intended to be: the world religion. The law of the jungle prevails, and only the “fittest” (i.e., the power hungry and unscrupulous) survive. Where do the babes who love the Gospel fit into such a scenario? What is the answer?
Now, more than ever, we must immerse ourselves in humility. Let us thank God that we live precisely in the times we live in, times in which we can have no illusions of thriving Church life, just civil governance, or decent human culture on the grand scale, times in which only tiny pockets of intact humanity, much less the true Faith, survive. There is no getting around it: life is hierarchical, and when the leaders go astray, the great mass of people will follow. Those who do not go along will be, in the eyes of the world, precisely Nobody. This is who we are: Nobody. And what could be better for our salvation? Glory to God!
We start, then, with humility: let us accept our true condition and give ourselves over to weeping, mourning, and heartfelt prayer for our salvation, for that of those around us, and for the whole world, for suffering mankind which has gone astray. We have no virtues, no great works, no visions, no miracles – nothing to brag about. We must cling to the Lord in simplicity of heart and ask for one thing only, that His holy will be done. May He forgive all of our sins and take us by the hand, leading us securely on the path of salvation.