FICTION NOVEL

On occasion I believe we all sometimes are oblivious to our surroundings. Wither we are sleep-deprived or mentally stuck on something, someone or somewhere; we focus only on ourselves and our pain or pride, ignoring our precious limited time on this Earth and blinded of everyone around us. The Pharisee in the Gospel reading today was way past this point of self indulgence. His love-of–self had written a fiction novel that portrayed himself as truly the unstained knight in shining armor! He had in his abundance of pride, covered himself with fig leaves hiding from God.

St. Paisios of Mount Athos writes: “The person who has too high an opinion of himself remains in the fog of pride and has neither spiritual health nor spiritual vision, and is therefore unable to see the gifts and talents of others.” (Passions and Virtues) Our Lord reminds us in the Gospel reading this morning: “for everyone who exalteth himself shall be humbled, and the one who humbleth himself shall be exalted.” [Lk. 18:14]

So many times I find myself thankful I am not like the bunch of crazies I see protesting on the video feed from the cable network. It is so much easier to be intolerant of their viewpoint then it is to hear their story and somewhat understood how they came to that place of action. Recently I was on my pro-life bandwagon after the outbreak of infanticide support when someone with an opposite view started dialoguing about why she has come to believe that a woman should have the right to choose. She has certainly lived a different life and neither one of us was going to change each other’s mind. At the end of the day, I felt a bit like the Pharisee as I was thankful that my life-story had led me on higher ground, safely inside my fig leaf.

How do we help folks find a true understanding and not fiction? We have to honestly study our pages of life and realize we too are in need of a Savior. People are hurting; the evil one has successfully separated us all from God in one way or another. So how can we help each other? If we can learn to practice philotimo {fil-o-te-me-a},”the most grateful love of a humble person who does not put his own self whatsoever into whatever he does, and whose heart is full of spiritual refinement, sensitivity and gratefulness to God and to the images of God, his fellow human beings. Philotimo is a most polished love of a humble person and a grateful love which is all goodness and humility.” (Passions and Virtues)

I won’t give up my firm stance on the sanctity of life but I will try to love others as He loves me. He hasn’t given up on me and I shouldn’t give up on others, no matter how crazy they seem! And I shall pray that God transform the fictitious chapters that still exist in my life into hopefully one day being a true story about a man in love with Christ!

Fr. Gabriel Weller 2-17-2019

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Father Gabriel Weller

Father Gabriel Weller was ordained by Bishop George Schaefer with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion Kapral. Father Gabriel was born here in the Shenandoah Valley Virginia. He spent many of his early years in Va. Beach but returned to the Valley in 1979. After many failures in life, He gave his life to the Lord and became very active in the protestant church. He had been a church leader in the United Church of Christ and the Methodist Church since his late twenties, serving in many capacities including Deacon, Elder, Church President, Youth Pastor and also served as Certified Lay Speaker, Choir Member and Youth Leader. He attended Seminary at Eastern Mennonite University with the encouragement of his pastor, but before completing his studies became frustrated with a growing perception of liberalism and other issues in the Protestant Churches he had known. He encountered Orthodox Christianity through his wife and her brother, Archpriest John Moses. He came to realize he could not go back to Protestantism because of the lack of True worship. He has served in the Altar continuously since his baptism, and was the Warden of All Saints of North America for two years. He was ordained to the Diaconate by Bishop Gabriel in 2007, and he was ordained to the Priesthood in 2009. He was the first regular pastor of the Holy Myrrhbearers 'Mission' in 2012 and on October 12, 2013, he was appointed Rector of the parish. His wife is Matushka Tatiana.