I have always been fascinated with animals and their instinct of survival. Every day, their life actions and movements usually catch my attention. Nature is survival to the fittest! We all remember the survivalist hiking motto that while we are in the mountains at Reddish Knob or Big Meadows, we don’t have to be the fastest one in our group but we can’t be the slowest! If we are slow or weak, we may become the first offering to the wild and untamed carnivores!
At home during my cave-time, I like to watch a show on the History Channel called Mountain Men. At the beginning of each episode the announcer states: “Beyond the edges of civilization, man is not at the top of the food chain. And, nature gives no second chances to those fighting to survive…”Every week I watch these folks survive amongst extreme weather conditions, unpredictable rivers or ice, and red-blooded animals fighting to survive in their inhabitant. A sign of weakness would surely bring the predators in and a confrontation with the mountain men. To survive in these conditions, weakness will result in certain death in the midst of this natural food chain.
As a contrast to this theme of survival, we must become fresh meat. As Christians, we must surrender our weaknesses to the wild untamed world, becoming prey for those lost in the deep thickets of life and submissive to a life that prospers in the deathly wealth found in the darkness of our choices. St. Isaac the Syrian once said, “He who senses his sins, is greater than he who raises the dead with his prayer. He who groans one hour for his soul, is greater than he who benefits the whole world. He who is made worthy to see himself, is greater than he who is made worthy to see angels. To him who knows himself, is given the knowledge of all things. For the knowledge of ourselves is the fullness of knowledge of all things.”
Unlike the Mountain Men episodes, we as Christians focus not as much on our here and now human needs but more about where we will find rest after our human bodies fail to exist. Our future survival depends on us exposing our weakness and relying on Christ to strengthen us. We read in the Epistle this morning: “My grace is sufficient for thee; for My power is being made perfect in weakness.” [2 Cor. 12:9]
We remember the great Creator of all things in His example to us crucified upon the cross! We heard the choir sing: “He who suspended the earth upon the waters, is suspended upon a tree.” No matter how strong we are physically or emotionally we must empty ourselves so that we may be filled with the greatest survival kit available to mankind, the unfailing power of the Holy Spirit! “For whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” [2 Cor. 12:10]
Fr. Gabriel Weller 10-15-17