Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes - Spiritual Nourishment for the Soul - August 2003   Last Modified August 10th, 2003

Christ The Good Shepherd (St. Anthony's Monastery, Arizona) Christ The Good Shepherd
(St. Anthony's Monastery, Arizona)

The Presence Of Our Lord God Through Humility
by Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Boise, Idaho, USA
August 2003

Our Lord God, our creator, is present everywhere and at every point in our lives. His great desire is that we should know Him, and love Him; aware of the blessings He gives us and the guidance we receive. He is indeed our Great Shepherd, nurturing His flock with never-ceasing attentiveness and care.

So often we think of the awesomeness of our God and His majesty. He is the creator of the universe, sublime, all-powerful. And yet because He has created us and loves us, He does not distance Himself from us, but comes close, tending His flock and showing us aspects of His character that He wants us to copy and make our own. In Holy Scripture we read these words spoken by our Shepherd, the Lord Jesus: "Learn of me, I am meek and lowly in heart." (St. Matthew 11:29.)

One of the spiritually nourishing virtues in the Orthodox Christian Faith is sometimes overlooked by us but is shown by our Lord in the words quoted above - humility. Because we desire to know Him and be shepherded by Him, it is through this great virtue of humility that we begin to feel the presence of our Lord in our lives. We should, then, all seek to acquire this virtue and learn about it. One way is through the grace of the Holy Spirit. In prayer, and often with tears, we can truly experience what it means to humble ourselves in the presence of our Lord, learning gentleness, obedience and a peace-filled trust with faith.

Pride prevents us from acquiring humility, and so the first thing we have to conquer in our lives is the pride that destroys or corrupts the faith that the Holy Spirit has placed within us. One of the natural gifts we are endowed with is laughter, not least when we can laugh at our foolish pretensions and ourselves. Once a young seminarian who, when asked by his mother how he was getting on with his studies and examinations, replied, "Not so good in theology, but I'm tops in humility!"

As pious and Orthodox Christians we must seek to acquire humility, in which the soul becomes truly enlightened with peace through the grace of the Holy Spirit. Then what is seen in our lives is the presence of the Lord. Instead of pointing to ourselves - "This is me… this is what I have done" - it is our finger pointing to our Lord, indeed both our hands outstretched towards Him in humility, showing both to ourselves and others just how great and wonderful is the love and mercy the Lord has for us.

We can begin to know the greatness of our God by being humbled before Him, and allowing ourselves through repentance to feel not only His greatness, but also His love in our lives. In order for us to be saved we must humble ourselves, casting away pride, as in so doing we find not only the ongoing presence of our Lord in our lives, but also feel His holiness, and are grateful.

Let us remember that the countless saints and martyrs we have in our Holy Orthodox Church all sought to acquire humility conquered the temptations that daily confronted them. By abasing themselves before our Lord, sin and its consequences were defeated and the peace of God reigned in their hearts and minds. As Christians we are all engaged in this bitter, intense war against sin. Through humility, and also by prayer and fasting, we truly find both the presence and the greatness of our Lord God!

Let us humble ourselves before Him, as we begin to find the path towards our salvation.

Humbly In Christ Our Lord,

+Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Who prays for you!
August 2003

Glory Be To God For All Things!
Content written/compiled by Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes.
(c)Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes