Virtue is not a pear.

seraphim fresco lightsToday we commemorate the repose of St. Seraphim of Sarov, of whom I have written before. He is the patron saint of my Orthodox parish. What a wonderful man! And what a blessed day we had, in spite of cold and even a broken heater in the church. Sometimes lately, when I am cold, I pretend that I am a monastic – and what would a monastic do? Pray, and be warmed by the Holy Spirit. I can’t say that I instantly become a prayer warrior when I think this way, but somehow it helps me to relax, and to at least offer up some kind of plea.

This icon of Father Seraphim is a fresco in our church, a picture I took sometime in the past when the light was falling in patches on him. Today, as I stood bundled in scarf and gloves, the sunshine came through an arched window high above the altar and blinded me for a few minutes until the angle changed enough to pass beyond my face. I didn’t want to change my position to escape it – whenever this happens to me I feel it as an extra gift from God, that He is giving me Himself in the warm light.

seraphim letter to

I want to pass on this quote from St. Seraphim, which came from a letter (pictured in its original form) that he wrote to Hieromonk Anthony in the first half of the 19th Century; it captured my imagination and heart from the first time I read it many years ago. The words have been translated in various clunky forms, but I like this version for the way it expresses the tone that he conveyed by his life. And it seems a good word for the new year, as well. Happy New Year to all of you, and may we all be drawn closer to His Kingdom in 2015.

Whatever you do, do it gently and unhurriedly,
because virtue is not a pear to be eaten in one bite.

–Saint Seraphim of Sarov


12 thoughts on “Virtue is not a pear.

  1. That’s a lovely quotation, Gretchen and a beautiful motto for a new year. But I like best your sentence “may we all be drawn closer to His kingdom.” Yes.


  2. I copied that quote into my journal. 🙂 I love how you pretend to be a monastic when you are cold. You are turning a negative into a positive. Happy New Year as you draw closer to Him.


  3. Now that’s a fine quote. I’m copying it into my Book of Favorites. My Hub says he can make himself warm by thinking warm. Says he can reduce his blood pressure too by thinking “slow down.” I wonder if he was once a Tibetan Monk.


  4. I like the “gently and unhurried,” too, and think that takes a certain spiritual maturity to be that way. And gentleness is a fruit of the spirit which I was just explaining to my little girls Sunday school class this morning and we were discussing what that means so it is a word that has been on my mind today.


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