Spiritual Enrichment: March 2016
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…” Henry David Thoreau
I chose the above quote because as we Orthodox Christians move towards the beginning of the Lenten period, it becomes increasingly important for us to appreciate and participate in the beauty of our Lord’s created world. In our fast-paced and technological world, it is easy to slip into a habit of checking our phones, emails, and agendas while remaining ignorant to the simplicity of nature and the peace it can bring to the soul.
…He went out and departed to a solitary place, and there He Prayed. Mark 1:35
St. Seraphim of Sarov spent forty days and forty nights praying on a rock in the forests of Russia without the need for drink or food. While many of us are no where near that level of piety or spiritual strength, there is something to be said of his devotion to nature and the example he sets for Orthodox Christians.
Henry David Thoreau was not an Orthodox Christian. However, the quote I pulled from his Walden reveals a piece of the Orthodox experience that is too often neglected. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…” For our use as Orthodox Christians, let us view going “to the woods” as being more than simply spending time in nature. Rather, let us see it as an intentional effort to spend time with God in his natural and simple world. Too often do we run about our busy lives without thought for the complexity and depth that our relationship with God can take. While God can of course permeate every aspect of our lives our communion with Christ, like any relationship, requires intentional upkeep and time to simply be with the other. This is reflected in Job 12:7-10, “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” What better way is there to experience God in the world than to see His love reflected in every natural and created thing?
With spring fast approaching and the season of Lent upon us, I have developed a habit of sitting on my balcony to read for class while enjoying a cup of Earl Grey tea. I find that the fresh air, morning sun, and songs of the neighborhood birds refreshes my spirit in the midst of my busy student schedule. I encourage every reader of this article to find their own sacred space to be alone with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; to go into your version of “the woods” and live deliberately through His eternal love. Amen.
Hellenic College Senior
Reading: Psalm 96
Prayer: Make me worthy, O Lord, to know and love Thee, not with knowledge from the exercise of a scattered nous; but make me worthy of that knowledge whereby, beholding Thee, the nous glorifies Thy nature, in divine vision which robs the mind of awareness of the world. ~St. Issac the Syrian
Our guest author is Sarah Livick Moses a senior at Hellenic College in the Literature and History program. She plans to attend Holy Cross in the coming fall to begin her Masters in Theological Studies. She is from Sts. Markella and Demetrios parish in Mary Esther, FL. She has been married to husband, John Thomas Livick-Moses for 6 months.