Homily for Pentecost: you can’t handle the Truth!


Homily: You Can’t Handle the Truth!
The role of language in Pentecost.  Translating is a tricky game.
The beauty of Pentecost: God speaks to and through us in the pure language of Truth and Love.
The problem? “We can’t handle the truth!” or rather, our egos can’t.
Ego filters and translates what it hears from the Holy Spirit.
And for those who are more “spiritually minded” (spiritual, but not religious), there is another complication: the confusion of emotion and opinion for the Voice of the Holy Spirit.
The science on this is very clear: we cannot trust our minds (much less our egos) or our feelings to tell us the truth. They are simply not reliable. Psychology is a relatively new discipline, and while it describes this pretty well, it is something that the saints have always known and the way to deal with this problem is at the very core of the Orthodox Way; especially as described by our ascetic mothers and fathers.
Example of the excerpt from St. Seraphim Sarov. If you want to the Holy Spirit to guide you directly through your heart/conscience/nous/whatever, then you have to learn to pray and listen in silence. This Way is open to everyone: our Lord couldn’t care less about ranks, sex, age, etc, but it takes a special kind of effort. Very few people are willing to do this.
So what is the alternative? The best alternative is to trust those the shared consensus of those who have done this and have written down their findings and advice. The most accessible introduction to their work is found in our Prayer Book. It goes without saying that all Orthodox Christians should include the prayers from their prayer book in their daily prayer. But this is especially true if we are not willing or able to learn to pray in silence.
My very serious concern is that this kind of daily prayer – the immersion in the prayer life of the Holy Spirit with the saints as our guides – has fallen away in the same manner as have other essential Orthodox Christian behaviors such as chastity, fasting, and the celebration of the feasts of our Christian race.
In another part of St. Seraphim of Sarov’s work, he says that the goal of the Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. As Orthodox Christians, we have been sealed with this Holy Spirit. He is in us and willing to guide and strengthen us through every joys and trial. But will we let him?
Let us make this Pentecost a new beginning. Let us learn to pray without the filters and voice of our ego. Let us let go of our fear and mistrust and open ourselves up completely to the power, truth, and love of the Holy Spirit.