While in seminary at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in NY one of our professors asked us to write a short mission statement. Obviously, this was back when people still did these sorts of things. I wrote this very detailed statement with goals based upon my roles as a follower of Christ, husband, father, pastor, etc. I was pretty proud of the manifesto I had created. (I know, it’s called irony) When I asked one of my classmates to see what he wrote I was expecting to wow him with my super A+ personal mission statement. His was so powerful, so elegant and so much better. He simply wrote, “I want to be helpful, humble and prayerful.” He showed his mastery with simplicity while my complexity revealed that I was a fledgling neophyte.
It has been 24 years since I first stole my mom’s copy of “Beginning to Pray” by Metropolitan ANTHONY Bloom. And even though I obviously wanted this book I hated it’s title. I wanted to get somewhere in prayer and master Christianity. But now, all these years later, I am convinced that beginners and a master’s simplicity is where it’s at in regards to the spiritual life.
Metropolitan ANTHONY begins his small treatise, “I would like to point out what one should be aware of, and what one can do if one wishes to pray. As I am a beginner myself I will assume that you are also beginners and we will try to begin together.” (Bloom, Metropolitan ANTHONY, “Beginning to Pray.” Paulist Press, NY, NY. 1970. Page 1.)
Sunday’s blog will be a one pager on the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council who we Orthodox remember this Sunday. Next week’s daily devotional blogs will all be based on this wonderful little book, “Beginning to Pray.”
Daily Readings in the Orthodox Church Acts 20:7-12 and John 4:10-21