Thursday, January 19, 2012
Silent Work Upon Our Neighbours
Last weekend, I was blessed to be the speaker at a high school retreat. I ran the meetings in a Socratic style so that I was continually interacting with the young people and doing my best to push them to see within themselves or to hear from one another the answers to their questions. As sometimes happens when I am pushing people to think something through, I pushed too hard on one young woman and I could tell immediately that her countenance fell. By the end of the day, she seemed to be intentionally asking questions that took us off track. My heart was breaking inside me because I knew that her frustration was my fault. I also knew that to say anything would only make matters worse. I spent the whole evening and the next mornning bearing this pain in my heart and silently begging Christ for mercy. The next morning I could see a different look on this young woman's face. She did not share much during the first session, but her words were meek (though her questions were genuinely tough). After the first session, she waited until everyone left. Then she asked me to forgive her. I asked her to forgive me. Then her face glowed. Beginning Monday, I have been attending the annual diocesan clergy seminar. One of the lectures was on prayer and inner work. The words of Elder Paisios were quoted that inner work, prayer within one's heart, with pain, with brokenness, "such work is quiet work upon your neighbor." We can best influence those around us when we work on ourselves, when we bear one another's burdens in our hearts and energized by that pain beg Christ for mercy. This is how we may be saved and those around us.