“Thus, my son, whatever you ask of the Lord God you will receive, if only it is for the glory of God or for the good of your neighbor, because what we do for the good of our neighbor He refers to His own glory. And therefore He says: “All that you have done unto one of the least of these, you have done unto Me” (cp. Matt. 25:40). And so, have no doubt that the Lord God will fulfill your petitions, if only they concern the glory of God or the benefit and edification of your fellow men. But, even if something is necessary for your own need or use or advantage, just as quickly and graciously will the Lord be pleased to send you even that, provided that extreme need and necessity require it. For the Lord loves those who love Him. The Lord is good to all men; He gives abundantly to those who call upon His Name, and His bounty is in all His works. He will do the will of them that fear Him and He will hear their prayer, and fulfill all their plans. The Lord will fulfill all thy petitions (cp. Ps. 144:19; Only beware, your Godliness, of asking the Lord for something for which there is no urgent need. The Lord will not refuse you even this in return for your Orthodox faith in Christ the Savior, for the Lord not give up the staff of the righteous to the lot of sinners (cp. Ps. 124:3), and He will speedily accomplish the will of His servant David; but He will call him to account for having troubled Him without special need, and for having asked Him for something without which he could have managed very easily.
“And so, your Godliness, I have now told you and given you a practical demonstration of all that the Lord and the Mother of God have been pleased to tell you and show you through me… Now go in peace. The Lord and the Mother of God be with you always, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen. Now go in peace.”
And during the whole of this time, from the moment when Father Seraphim’s face became radiant, this illumination continued; and all that he told me from the beginning of the narrative till now, he said while remaining in one and the same position. The ineffable glow of the light which emanated from him I myself saw with my own eyes. And I am ready to vouch for it with an oath.
Saint Seraphim of Sarov (Russian Orthodox)
If then you are wise, you will show yourself rather as a reservoir than as a canal. For a canal spreads abroad water as it receives it, but a reservoir waits until it is filled before overflowing, and thus communicates, without loss to itself, its superabundant water. –St Bernard of Clairvaux
O Holy Spirit, by whose breath
life rises vibrant out of death,
come to create, renew, inspire;
come, kindle in our hearts your fire.
You are the seeker’s only course,
of burning love the living source,
protector in the midst of strife,
the giver and the Lord of life.
In you God’s energy is shown,
to us your varied gifts made known.
Teach us to speak, teach us to hear;
yours be the tongue and yours the ear.
Flood our dull senses with your light;
in mutual love our hearts unite.
Your power the whole creation fills;
make strong our weak, uncertain wills.
From inner strife grant us release;
turn nations to the ways of peace.
To fuller life your people bring
that as one body we may sing:
Praise to the Father, Christ, his Word,
and to the Spirit: God the Lord,
to whom all honor, glory be
both now and for eternity.
Poetry By Mary Oliver
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.
Romano Guardini ‘The Lord’
The Christmas liturgy includes these beautiful verses from…the Book of Wisdom: “For while all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course, thy almighty word leapt down from heaven from thy royal throne”. The passage, brimming with the mystery of the Incarnation, is wonderfully expressive of the infinite stillness that hovered over Christ’s birth. For the greatest things are accomplished in silence—not in the clamor and display of superficial eventfulness, but in the deep clarity of inner vision; in the almost imperceptible start of decision, in quiet overcoming and hidden sacrifice. Spiritual conception happens when the heart is quickened by love, and the free will stirs to action. The silent forces are the strong forces. Let us turn now to the stillest event of all, stillest because it came from the remoteness beyond the noise of any possible intrusion—from God.
“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, … and when the angel had come to her, he said, ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women.’ When she had heard him she was troubled at his word, and kept pondering what manner of greeting this might be. “And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he shall be king over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall have no end.’
“But Mary said to the angel, ‘How shall this happen, since I do not know man?’
“And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; and therefore the Holy One to be born shall be called the Son of God.’
“But Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.’ And the angel departed from her.
How quietly everything occurred….
Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.”
Gospel of John 15:26-27, 16:12-15
Pope John Paul II
Listening to the Holy Spirit,
One who never speaks,
A hush, a tone, atonement,
A snippet from Rainer Maria Rilke’s ‘Sonnets to Orpheus’
Creatures of silence emerged from the clear
unfettered forest, from dens, from lairs.
Not from shyness, this silence of theirs;
nor from any hint of fear,
simply from listening. Brutal shriek and roar
dwindled in their hearts. Where stood a mere
hut to house the passions of the ear,
constructed of longing darkly drear,
haphazardly wrought from front to rear,
you built them a temple at listening’s core.