Armodoxy for Today
We started our Advent Journey meeting the “Rich Fool,” a character in one of Jesus’ parables (Luke 12). In a sense, he is what we may call a negative hero, in other words, he’s the main character of the story who teaches us what not to be. Negative heroes are all too common in religious stories as well as in real life. In politics, some may vote for a candidate because s/he is not the other candidate. In business, some may choose to trade with one firm because it is not the other company. In so doing, we focus more on the negative attributes of one, instead of the positive attributes of another and in turn, we start seeing our religious obligations and responsibilities in terms of what not to do, rather than what to do.
The Advent Journey is a time for us to prepare ourselves for the message of Christmas. At the end of the journey is waiting Christ, as Gift, as Light, as Savior. The extreme and most positive expression in life will be waiting for us and we will react to that gift. That reaction is a movement, it’s a step forward in our life.
Over the past few days we looked at the Parable of the Rich Fool from a few different vantage points. At the end, if we are truthful with ourselves, we will discover that the Rich Fool is, in fact, us. Like the Rich Fool, we are each consumed by the riches and possessions which are polished by our ego, by our wants and desires. And all of these prevent us from experiencing the fullness of God and, therefore, the beauty of life.
Jesus prefaces the parable with the warning, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Taking this to heart, the first part of the Advent Journey is to inventory those things that matter and are important in your life and proactively, that is, take an action to celebrate the abundance of those things that matter in your life, such as your relationships, your love for others, the beauty of life that surrounds you. These are simple treasures that are accessible by all.
For today’s prayer I’d like to share with you a variation of Shnorhali’s prayer of the 9th hour, with an accent on doing: All provident Lord, give me the clearness of vision to look at the beauty around me, the sharpness of hearing to listen to the music of nature, the courage to speak words of truth, the clarity of heart to think goodness, strength to my hands to work toward justice and to my feet to walk in paths of righteousness. Guide my motions that they may be according to all your commandments. Amen.