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Out of the Mouth of Babes. Salvation Comes in Ten Thousand Places...

Out of the Mouth of Babes
Salvation Comes in Ten Thousand Places

I know a man, who recently met with the hand of Christ through a little girl at his church. As it happens in our broken world, he had been greatly wounded by people in his Christian community. A thought tempted him; “I should excommunicate myself. I am unwelcome here. There is nothing but hatred.” And so he told himself again and again, all the while knowing that this was a temptation and not at all from God. In his struggle he asked for the intercessions of St John of San Francisco. As he prayed a little girl approached him: Will you go to communion with me?

My mother wasn’t feeling well and had to eat before Liturgy*. There is no one to go to Communion with me…
Aren’t you old enough to go alone?
I don’t know…I don’t want to go alone…
Okay. I can go to Communion with you.

And so he went with her to the chalice with joy!
This simply conversation played out in such a way that it broke the storm of dark thoughts holding his mind captive. The heavenly intercession of the saint and the innocence of a child convicted him of what he knew to be true. Even a child can speak the truth, and the truth sets us free.

It can be hard to reconcile, but the people in our lives are there for our salvation. Whether it is our church or our family, a monastic brotherhood or a coworker, a friend or an enemy – we have to have the conviction that the people we have in our lives have been placed there for our salvation. If we don’t believe this, life can overwhelm us with feelings of frustration, despair and futility. But if we open the eyes our heart to the work that God is trying to do in our lives, we may find many unexpected occasions for spiritual growth.

Sacramental theologians often speak of how in marriage the bride and groom are saved through each other. I would add that the Orthodox marriage service contains so many references to having children precisely because parents are often saved through the process of raising their children. The Apostle Paul references this, although the verse is considered cryptic by many (1 Tim 2:15). But I believe, that in many cases, it is the children that transform a family into a true salvation community.

As St Anthony the Great says, our life and death are with our neighbor. Through each other, Christ appears in ways we cannot anticipate. But this is not always obvious, because it often takes the form of intense, even discouraging struggle. It is our responsibility to continually call our hearts and minds back to the way of Christ so that we can apprehend the subtle movements of grace. As Fr Seraphim Rose famously said “try to find something for your salvation in everything”. Amen!

The saving work of Christ was accomplished once and for all on the cross, but He daily sends our souls moments of resurrection. Everywhere there are little moments to bear our cross, and when each of these moments is embraced with faith there is a spark of new life in us from the hand of the Master. Christ indeed saves us in ten thousand ways.
God be with you

- Unworthy Seraphim
*Orthodox Christians fast from midnight before receiving Holy Communion in the morning, and a minimum of 6 hours if Liturgy is held at night (although usually longer).
Picture: St Justin Popovich