Acts of God

Over the weekend it was announced that the extremely large Ponderosa fire, presently burning in California, was coming very close to the Monastery of St. John of San Francisco in Manton.  Along with that news came the revelation of some shenanigans going on at that same monastery in an incendiary email posted by my friend George at his website.  After reading all of the comments, 54 at the time of this writing, I left the following comment (presently awaiting moderation):

I maybe way off base here but all of this “God caused the fire” stuff sounds a lot like Pat Robertson’s assertion that God caused the Hurricane that hit New Orleans years ago. I’m sorry but my Orthodox theology does not teach any of this. Yes God is calling his children to repentance, He has been doing that since Christ was Crucified. Jesus paid the ultimate price for all of us and it shows us just how much God loves each and every one of us.

If you follow that logic through, and someone has pointed this out already, and the monastery is spared then you have no other conclusion then to say that God approves of everything going on there because he spared the monastery. Sometimes things just happen! Is it random, yes. Is God calling us to repentance, yes. All we can do is monitor our own sins and take care of that. Get your life right with God.

If these allegations are true then they need to be brought to light and I thank the man who had the courage to write the email and I thank George or publishing it. These are the types of things that the faithful need to know about.

This is also an example of why we need a faithful hierarchy and true and authentic monasticism! But we cannot have either if we do not have true and faithful parishes. The Church begins and ends with the local parish. If the local parish is not healthy the Church will not be healthy. If the priest is preaching heresy then the Church will be filled with heretics. We need to get back to the basics of our Orthodox faith. We need to call everyone to true repentance. When is the last time your priest preached about confession? How many priests hold regular confession times or is it by appointment! PLEASE!

Confession is a fundamental aspect of our spiritual life, meeting with a spiritual father on a regular basis is a fundamental aspect of our spiritual life, not festivals and dancing ad language classes, that is all nonsense! We are where we are because we have allowed it to get there. We allow bishops to send to the old country for priests, why because we do not promote vocations in our Churches. We do not pay our priests a living wage and so they are forced to take on other occupations just to survive, and we treat them like crap!

We all, and I include myself in this as well, need to take a long hard look at ourselves and our interior life. When was the last time we have been to confession, really gone to confession and not some quicky before Liturgy on Sunday morning? I will confess it has been a little more time than I like and that is my issue. But we need to call all of us back to repentance and reconciliation. We need to pray for our Bishops, priests, deacons, monks, and nuns everyday! We need to pray for each other! We need to ask for the intercession of St. John of Shanghai for the American Church. We need to stop all of this jurisdictional nonsense and get to what the Church is really about, loving God and loving our neighbor that is what is important. We involve ourselves in way too many earthly cares and we should, like we pray at the Liturgy, lay aside all the earthly cares of life.

Sorry to ramble and vent but this has disturbed me. We are trying to found an authentic monastic work here in New England and we struggle each day to try and make this happen. Each time another thing like this comes to light it damages the Church and monasticism. Please pray for me and for our work here in New England. Hey, we are looking for a few good men! 😉

God bless all of you, and may St. John of Shanghai pray for us!

A funny thought I had, that I did not add to this comment, is that God’s aim would be better I would think.  If he wanted to get our attention I think He would have struck the monastery and contained there fire there, why get others involved?

My point is this, why do we think that God only speaks to us in a natural disaster?  Yes, God is calling all of His people to repentance and reconciliation that is the message of the Gospel, but God loves us, He sent His son to prove how much He loves us, and He is not bent on destroying us.

Why is it that we cannot see God speaking through say a sunrise or a sunset for that matter, or through the words of a stranger who says something nice to you just when you need it?  Why can we not see God speaking to us through the Divine Liturgy when we offer the sacrifice for all of us, and why can we not see, and hear, God speaking to us in His Holy Scriptures?  And the ultimate, for me anyway, we can we not see God speaking to us in the smile of a child?

God is constantly speaking to us we just need to listen?

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