Thursday, April 22, 2010
It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. - Psalm 119: 71
"Beloved brothers, let us avoid vainglory and love of notoriety as denial of the cross of Christ. Denial of the cross of Christ is at the same time denial of Christ: 'No one who does not carry his cross and follow me can be a disciple of Mine,' said the Lord. Fallen men! We cannot know and confess Christ sincerely and practically except from our cross, having first learned and confessed our fall and the necessity of the way of the cross for the attainment of heaven and eternal beatitude. Let us avoid all occasions of vainglory and human glory, as the holy Fathers avoided them, so as not to lose interest in the teaching of Christ and become white-washed sepulchres, Christians in appearance, but in reality apostates." - The Arena, Chapter 39: Concerning Human Glory. Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov
It is a wonderful grace to be found-out and rejected - far better than any recognition or reward. At first it wounds and depresses - according to how strong self-love, self-opinion and pride happens to be - eventually through prayer and the confession of one's faults, one comes to understand more deeply that it is better for the soul to be afflicted than honored.
No one can take the last place from Jesus.