Friday, November 23, 2007

To Beef, or not to Beef

Well, lately I have been internally going through deciding whether to become a vegetarian. There are lots of reasons I have been thinking about it, the usual stuff. What it boils down to is that I just do not desire it anymore. I don't want it, not even bacon. It is nearly impossible for me to pick up a piece of meat and eat it. I realize that God says we can have whatever we wish, but it is still one of His creatures that gives its life for us and most of the time we are far from grateful beyond being satiated to a point of despondency...this does not however, apply solely to eating meat. The way we pacify ourselves with our full stomach's and our lack of appreciation. I cannot speak for everyone, only myself and I know I am far from the sort of grateful God would have me be. I could certainly be more grateful if we were dirt poor and had not a penny, but God has seen fit to Bless us beyond our comprehension with food, shelter and church so I am left needing to learn these things in another way. I realize I need to start with myself and if I can ever get to the point where I have that under control, perhaps I will find my next adventure as edifying. My not eating meat feels as if it were planted as a little seed, I watered it and maybe now God is harvesting it...I am not sure if that makes any sense, but I cannot claim the lack of desire to eat meat as mine completely, only with God's help has it come to pass. I have been eating eggs and fish, but even the fish has been tasting less that great. People want to know if it is something that I am going to be implementing in my family, a complete transition into meatlessness for us all. My answer, no. I will not force my husband or child to conform to my lack of taste for meat. It is not for me to decide, they are individuals and can choose for themselves...if at some point they wish to stop, that is fine and if they eat meat forever, that is their prerogative. We may end up having less meat in general because I may not think to make it, but we don't eat a bunch to begin with. Who knows, perhaps at some point I will start again. It makes as much sense to everyone else as it does to me, I just don't want it anymore, it is not appealing. So, just so everyone knows, I think it is official, I am a vegetarian..until firther notice.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Joy of All Who Sorrow

joy |joi| noun-a feeling of great pleasure and happiness
sorrow |ˈsärō| noun-(a) a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others (b) the outward expression of grief; lamentation
Perhaps to some this might appear to be a contradiction in terms, to me it is great comfort. The Cathedral which St John spent the rest of his life serving in is named Holy Virgin Joy of All who Sorrow Cathedral and it is a most beautiful place, you cannot help but feel as though you are in the presence of God when you are there, whether there are services or not. So peaceful. So uplifting. A true Joy. When I think about the Theotokos being the Joy of all who Sorrow, I think how very literally it should be taken. I take Joy in her life, her sacrifice and repose.
Her life was spotless, she grew from a child in the temple of our God and did not wish to lose her virginity and so was betrothed to a capable man, far older, but protective that she might remain without knowing a man intimately. To have the Archangel Gabriel appear, even just to see him, is something great and as the messenger of God he delivers this, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will concieve in your womb and bring forth a son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." -Luke 1:30-33 Of course, since she has never known a man asks how this can be and the Archangel tells her of the Holy Spirit, and He shall be the Son of God and that her cousin has also concieved in her old age and that nothing is impossible for God. To which she replies, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. -Luke 1:38 What life changing moment, how she must have felt, what a large responsiblity and task.
The sacrifice of her Son, although He was not really hers, the child came from her belly, sent from God and she outlived her baby. Just because this child is God does not change that she was His mother. Not only did she outlive her Son, she watched Him be tortured and crucified. I can only imagine what sort of strength it takes to endure something so terrible, beyond words to describe the awful truth of His betrayal and death. It must have taken amazing Faith that this is the will of God and that she was not suffering in vain. Perhaps this why God chose her, that she had such staunch Faith in Him forever, never doubting. At the hour of Christ's death, she was given to John as a mother and so became thus to him and all the brothers and sisters of the Lord. She lived out the rest of her days with His disciples, who cared for her as their mother and she for them as if she was theirs. We are no different, we are a part of that family.
If we are ever having troubles we can look to her in our sorrow and she can be of great joy. To think of all the things that she has been through is of great comfort, that she had such strength to be chosen and fulfill the word of God. I know I am trying and failing miserably to try and explain why this is important to me, but it is. As a mother, I can only imagine my child dying before me, it brings a well of emotion I cannot describe or want to ever experience. I suppose what I am trying to say is that she is a good model of love, strength, perseverence and everything motherly. Whether anyone thinks she is the Saint of all Saints, or a saint at all, she is still a good example. A pillar of Faith and piety, accepting all that God would give her. No matter how I sorrow, I can always look to God for strength and to Mary, for a solid, living example of steadfastness in tribulation and I pray that God helps me to remember this in my times of need.
Much Love, Me

Saturday, November 10, 2007

"Let every breath praise the Lord!"

With every breath, I am a sinner. Since I do not thank God with every breath that comes so effortlessly to me in His creation of me. I think this falls into the ceaseless praying, that we should, "Let every breath praise the Lord..." This means a lot more to me now, for some odd reason, okay, so the reason is because God said so, it just seemed non-connective, until now. I am very far behind and who knows if I will ever get there, but I suppose the point is that I try...just as I am a mother and asks that my child always do her best to do what she knows is right, so does God expect that from me, at minimum. Perhaps He will guide my tongue, feet and hands the way He does my heart and I will begin to understand better and do work better for His Glory. Anything good that comes from me, is solely the work of God in His wonder, anything not so good is the works of my Pride giving into temptation and going against the will of God. The reason saints are so important to us all, is simply for the fact that they have broken the spell, so to speak, that Satan has over us all. We start with Pride and the rest just falls into place without much effort. The Evil One is the sort that says, "If I go down, I am taking you with me..." and so he has done in The Fall, but since Christ has come we do not have to be with Lucifer anymore, we choose with every breath which path we will take, will we fall by the wayside and passively (or intentionally) accept Satan and fall prey to his ways, or will we take up our cross and follow Him into the trenches to fight against that which would tempt us away from Him, with His help. I am finding a renewed strength to take up my cross, God is good and I want Him, not this world, since we cannot have both and the soul is immortal. I do live in this world and so must figure out how to keep my heart turned toward God while I still function and go through each day, trying to do that which is to God's Glory. As my mom has said to me before, Orthodoxy is not about perfection, it is about falling down and getting back up each time. That we fall and ask for God to help us, that we realise that we need more than what we can offer ourselves and most importantly, seek it.
I thin kthat is a good place to start. Love to everyone, in His name, me