Thursday, March 13, 2014

Encouraging Words...Pondering Encouragement

Mr. Husband and I, 
on our drive back from our far away church,
in which I was knitting baby blue squares for a future baby blanket,
were talking... and one of the things that Mr. Husband said is that my lastest
favourite word is
I had just done two weeks of booksales for our small beloved far away church
and had written book reviews for 7 of the books for sale...
and I had chosen and focused on books that I found
encouraging to us for Lent, our lives and for feeding our souls.
I have been thinking about this for a while now, as I have realized 
again how discouraged I can feel at home.
I hope to write on this more as I think it is 
of real importance to our lives and something I really need to get
a better handle on myself.
One of the ways I am thinking about this is how the 
prince of lies, the devil, wants to lead us to despair.
Here is a Saint's story about this 
that can give us one way to think on this and that I have been
pondering as I think about what it means
to be a Christian, what humility is and what it is not and
how discouragement, encouragement and despair play out
in this search.

Erasmus was a monk in the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev. 
He inherited great wealth from his parents and spent all on adoring churches, 
especially on silver-plating and gilding icons. 
When he had become impoverished and remained without anything, 
he was despised by all. 
The devil whispered to him that he squandered his estate in vain; 
instead of distributing his wealth among the poor,
he gave it for the adornment of churches. 
Erasmus succumbed to this temptation and 
believed it for which he despised himself
and fell into a state of despair and began to live aimlessly and lawlessly. 
When the hour of his death approached the brethren assembled around him
 and discussed his sins which he himself was not conscious of. 
All at once, he straightened up in bed and said: 
"Fathers and brothers, it is as you say; 
I am sinful and unrepentant, but behold St. Anthony and St. Theodosius appeared to me and after that, the All-Holy Mother of God told me that the Lord gave me more time for repentance." 
The Mother of God also spoke these encouraging words to him:
 "The poor you have with you in every place and my churches you do not." 
Erasmus lived for three more days, repented and fell asleep in the Lord. 
This teaches us that zeal for the Church and 
adornment of the churches is a task pleasing to God. 
St. Erasmus died in the year 1160 A.D.
(emphasis mine).
By this story we can see that the devil lies to us, tempting us to think
that our efforts to love God and His Church were
wasted, done wrongly and fruitless.
We can see that other people can also wrongly judge and contribute
to a person's discouragement and despair. 
We can see that God, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Saints
can rescue us from despair and discouragement.
We also see that repentance is the opposite of despair and discouragement. 
Lent is a time when many us spend seeking to learn humility and 
repentance... we can see by this story that humility and repentance
are NOT in line with discouragement and despair but
are the opposite, to bring us life and ultimately to open the doors of heaven to us.
I do hope to write on this again; 
I think it is vital for us in our struggles, which are so very many;
I see that again and again,
that we seek to live in HOPE, in being ENCOURAGED in the midst of
our struggles and to remember that God is the God of LOVE...


Matushka Anna said...

Yes, very true, and I'm so glad you wrote on this. Despair IS the opposite of repentance, and something I'm guilty of on a daily basis.

October Rose said...

What a beautiful post, and so true! It is so easy to forget that discouragement leads away from God.

Apseed I said...

It's so easy to feel discouraged when you spent almost all days at home. I try to count my blessings when I feel this way.

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Thank you for this - a valuable reminder for me today.