Sometimes good things can be found on Facebook, like the quote below. (I added the icons and Psalm.) We are at the Sunday of the Last Judgment in the Orthodox calendar, and also in the midst of painful current events. We might acknowledge that the traumas and crises and pain are always with us, and being experienced by countless souls. So the exhortation applies at all times:
“It is often thought: what can we do? When the heart is torn with love for some and sympathy for others, what can we do if we are powerless, hopeless, and suppressed?
“We can stand before the Lord in prayer, in the prayer that Elder Silouan spoke about, that praying for the world is shedding blood.
“Not in that easy prayer that we offer out of our comfort, but in a prayer that rushes to heaven from sleepless nights; in a prayer that does not give rest; in a prayer that is born from the horror of compassion; in a prayer that no longer allows us to continue living our insignificant and empty life. That prayer requires us to finally understand that life is deep and that we are spending it racing about something unworthy and also unworthy of ourselves, unworthy of God, unworthy of sorrow and joy, the torment on the Cross and the Glory of Resurrection, which constantly alternate and intertwine on our earth.
“It is not enough to sympathize a little, and it is not enough to say that ‘we cannot do anything.’ If only we would stand in such a prayer, if only such compassion would exclude from our life everything insignificant in the face of the horror of our existence, then we would become people worthy of Christ. And then, perhaps, our prayer would also ascend like a burning and shining flame. Then, maybe, there would be no more inertia, indifference, or hatred that prospers around us because we do not become an obstacle to every evil in our own life.
“In the face of what is going on in front of the Cross, death, and spiritual agony of people, let us renounce the pettiness and insignificance of our life—and then we will be able to do something: by our prayer, by way of our life, and perhaps even by something braver and more creative.
“But let us remember that Christ did not differentiate between people; Christ died for all—because righteous are persecuted and because sinners perish. In His unity with all the people around us, in this dual unity with a righteous and a sinner, let us pray for the salvation of both. For the mercy of God, that the blind may see, and that truth may be established—not judgment, but the truth. This truth will lead us to love, to the triumph of unity, and the victory of God. Amen.”
-Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, excerpt from a 1968 sermon
P.S. 1968 Events:
-Soviet armed forces invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia, reinstituting hardline Communist rule.
-The U.S. State Department announced the highest U.S. casualty toll of the Vietnam War, with 543 Americans killed in action and 2,547 wounded. U.S. ground troops killed more than 500 Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai massacre in South Vietnam.
-Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.
-Students protest all over the world.
-Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated.
Our soul shall wait for the Lord, for He is our helper and our defender. For our heart shall be glad in Him, and in His holy Name have we hoped. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in Thee.
Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous; praise is meet for the upright. Give praise to the Lord with the harp, chant unto Him with the ten-stringed psaltery. Sing unto Him a new song, chant well unto Him with jubilation. For the word of the Lord is true, and all His works are in faithfulness. The Lord loveth mercy and judgment; the earth is full of the mercy of the Lord.
-From Psalm 32
When I saw these plum buds this morning, I thought of how the earth is full of predictability, spring following winter, summer following spring, leaves falling off the trees every autumn without fail.
It’s just one way, consisting of uncountable events, that He demonstrates His constancy.
For the word of the Lord is true, and all His works are in faithfulness.
I am a sojourner on the earth, hide not from me Thy commandments. My soul hath longed to desire Thy judgments at all times. ….. Remove from me reproach and contempt, for after thy testimonies have I sought. For princes sat and they spake against me, but Thy servant pondered on Thy statutes. For Thy testimonies are my meditation, and Thy statutes are my counsellors. My soul hath cleaved unto the earth; quicken me according to Thy word. ….. My soul hath slumbered from despondency, strengthen me with Thy words.