Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tommorrow...

morning at 6:00am, David Goa, Archbishop LAZAR, and Jim Forest are picking me up and we're driving down to Camrose for this conference hosted by the Chester Ronning Centre
at Augustana. Jim is giving the keynote lecture entitled: "The Root of War is Fear." More and more, I am convinved that it is fear that is at the root of all kinds of sin, for it can quickly degrade into anger and hatred. The great antidote is to somehow, comprehensively, in our day-to-day lives, heed the angelic words "Fear Not!"

I am very much looking forward to this day together with these men. I know David and Vladika LAZAR well, and it is always life-giving to spend time with these "men of deep mind and strong heart," but I will be meeting Jim Forest for the first time. I'm tagging along to chauffeur him to a kidney dialysis appointment he requires first thing in the morning, and I see it as a great privilege. Jim was a personal friend of Thomas Merton, and his book Pilgrim to the Russian Church, documenting his visits to the Soviet Union in the 80s was very moving to me when I read it over ten years ago.

On Saturday afternoon, Krista and I will be telling the story of the Akathist Glory to God For All Things, and then we'll be singing it together as a conclusion to the conference.

Jim, in addition to his leadership of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship, has written several books, including ones on Merton and the founder of the Catholic Worker movement, Dorothy Day. I'll sign off today with an excerpt from a letter Merton wrote to Day in 1961, which I believe could help us all:

"Persons are not known by intellect alone, not by principles alone, but only by love. It is when we love the other, the enemy, that we obtain from God the key to an understanding of who he is, and who we are. It is only this realization that can open to us the real nature of our duty, and of right action. To shut out the person and to refuse to consider him as a person, as an other self, we resort to the 'impersonal law' and to abstract 'nature.' That is to say we block off the reality of the other, we cut the intercommunication of our nature and his nature, and we consider only our own nature with its rights, its claims, it demands. And we justify the evil we do to our brother because he is no longer a brother, he is merely an adversary, an accused. To restore communication, to see our oneness of nature with him, and to respect his personal rights and his integrity, his worthiness of love, we have to see ourselves as similarly accused along with him . . . and needing, with him, the ineffable gift of grace and mercy to be saved. Then, instead of pushing him down, trying to climb out by using his head as a stepping-stone for ourselves, we help ourselves to rise by helping him to rise. For when we extend our hand to the enemy who is sinking in the abyss, God reaches out to both of us, for it is He first of all who extends our hand to the enemy. It is He who 'saves himself' in the enemy, who makes use of us to recover the lost groat which is His image in our enemy." [ Letter to Dorothy Day, December 20, 1961; HGL, 140-43.]

3 Comments:

Blogger Jamie, Julie-Ann & Emily said...

hope the singing went well, we were at greg's grad today. It was a cool day.
JA

3:24 PM  
Blogger Krista said...

Hey! That's great. Sounds like it was a celebratory day on two continents!

12:59 PM  
Blogger papa herman said...

I really like the book 'Pilgrim to the Russian Church' as well.

8:32 PM  

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