St. John of the Ladder (Our Annual Meeting Day)
Great life. Not only did he enjoy it – and there is no doubt about his joy; (through his example and the book “The Ladder of Divine Ascent”) he made the same joy that he experienced accessible to others.
In fact, that was the secret of his success, the very nature of his example and the advice that he gave.
He had made a choice, to follow God’s command that he stop living for himself and follow the Great Commandment to Love God and to Love his neighbor.
As a result of making this choice, his life made a difference. The world is a better place because he was in it, because of his courage, because of his commitment, and because of his love. He was a great man and he lived a great life.
This is the calling of every Christian: to stop living for ourselves and take seriously God’s command to serve others… and to do it joyfully.
Just imagine how much better our lives would be if we took this calling to serve others – to be their ministers – seriously!
- It is much easier for us to wrap ourselves around our own problems.
- It is much easier for us to see other people as the causes of our pain or as convenient targets for our hatred, our jealousy, and the satisfaction of our lusts.
- But this these are the ways of the coward and the shirker.
- This kind of life makes us miserable and our misery pollutes the world.
We have a choice: to be a source of healing and joy to the world – or to spread pain and suffering.
- We haven’t always made the right choice.
- That stops today.
For us as individuals.
- We humbly reject the ways of self-pity, of self-loathing, and foolish pride,
- We turn back to Christ and commit ourselves to Him through our individual participation in this Divine Liturgy and through taking His Body and Blood into our bodies.
- We courageously rededicate our lives to allowing our strength, our peace, and our joy to so shine among our friends and family that they are drawn to experience that same joy [in Christ].
For us as a parish. We haven’t always made the right choices, either. And we, our families, and the world have suffered as a result.
- We humbly reject our pride and our selfishness and rededicate this temple to the kind of life that Christ has called us to live: a life devoted to God and service to His children (and not just ourselves).
This is the difficult way. It will take commitment and it will take courage; but through the prayers of St. John of the Ladder and your hard work we will grow into the blessing this suffering world needs.