Monday, September 9, 2013

To be His presence among men

“Remember who your teachers were…”
2 Timothy 3:14

Mother Maria [Skobtsova] is remembered in the context of the Russian Emigration [after the victory of communism there], the French Resistance [during World War II] or Ravensbrück concentration camp [where she died]. But her achievement extends beyond the circumstances of her life, and it outlives them. For above all, by way of her Christian dedication and in her own distinctive style, she demonstrated what it means to be human.

In the process she sacrificed her personal serenity. Since her life was completely interwoven with the destiny of her contemporaries, their turmoil was hers, their tragedy was hers. And yet she was not swept away by it. She was anchored in God and her feet rested on the Rock.

Infinite pity and compassion possessed her; there was no suffering to which she was a stranger; there were no difficulties which could cause her to turn aside. She could not tolerate hypocrisy, cruelty or injustice. The Spirit of Truth which dwelt in her led her to criticize sharply all that is deficient, all that is dead in Christianity and, particularly, in what she mistakenly conceived to be classical monasticism.

Mistakenly, for what she was attacking was an empty shell, a petrified form. At the same time, with the perception of a seer, she saw the hidden, glorious content of the monastic life in the fulfillment of the gospel, in the realization of divine love, a love which has room to be active and creative in and through people who have turned away from all things and, above all, from themselves in order to live God's life and to be His presence among men, His compassion, His love.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

This she understood, this she lived for.
This is also what she died for.

Anthony Bloom, Metropolitan of Sourozh

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