"There is no more ascetic feat more difficult, more painful, than the effort to draw close to God Who is love." Fr Sophrony
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Christ is in our midst!
Long ago, when I was a little boy, a Roman Catholic priest came to speak at our church in Erwin, Tennessee. We attended a Presbyterian church at that time having left the Baptist church just down the street a year or so earlier. The priest's name was Fr. LaFrance. He was an imposing figure for a small child: tall, a full head of jet black hair, and eyes that seem to have their own source of light.
I remember only two things about that evening. I remember that Rev. Kribbs introduced Fr. LaFrance as a man who was headed to a monastery in New Orleans where he was prepared to take a vow of silence! For the rest of his life! The second thing I remember is that at the end of the service I was introduced to him. He took my little face in his hands, looked down at me, and smiled a most beautiful smile. I don't remember if he said anything or not. Words were not necessary. That moment for me was a glimpse into the face of God.
There was something about the smile that moved me. Behind it was a life of service to God, of trials and tribulations that cleanse the soul endured, of a commitment to unceasing prayer, and to holiness I had not previously imagined possible. There were deep spiritual riches behind those eyes. I have searched long and hard all of my life to find a way to imitate what I saw that night.
Purity, humility, and prayer are the necessary elements. Purity is the gateway, humility lights the way, and prayer polishes the soul. I saw them all in that remarkable priest.
Have a blessed and relaxing summer. Stay present. Be mindful. Remember God as often as you breathe.
Love in Christ,