Our duty and concern must be how to please God and our fellow men; we should not be preoccupied with our needs, as God will take care of them. There is a silent spiritual agreement between God and man. He will look after us, while we will concentrate on how to live our lives according to His will. “Cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares about you,” (1 Peter 5:7)—Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain (Athos).
How true this is. Our goal should be to please God and care for our fellow man. Our obedience to His will allows for this.
In reflecting on the words by Elder Paisios, I’m reminded of the time I was scheduled to attend a meeting in Ohio, which happened to fall on the Feast of the Transfiguration—commemorating when our Lord appeared in His divine glory before the Apostles Peter, James and John at Mount Tabor in Galilee.
To be sure, I really did not want to go, but it was “mandatory”—and, even more so, I did not want to miss the service of Holy Transfiguration. After some prayer and thought, I begrudgingly made my reservations, much like the Prodigal son who did not want to obey the father in the Gospel.
Adding insult to injury, I had to rent a car, find a local church to attend, and miss an important portion of the meeting. And, I even had to take a red-eye flight to make it back to work on time. Needless to say, I had a bad attitude.
Eventually, on the morning of Aug. 6, I found myself inside the Church of St. Haralambos in Canton, Ohio, after all—despite crazy traffic and getting lost.
Meanwhile, as the service of the Orthros began, Fr. Nicholas greeted me warmly. I venerated the holy images, including the Christ Pantocrator icon on the iconostasis, and made my way inside the altar.
Within minutes, the sexton inquired if I had seen “the icon.”
“Which icon?” I asked.
“The icon of the Virgin Mary,” he replied.
As I began venerating the icon of the Theotokos, I noticed tears of myrrh pouring from her eyes—and in that instant, as chills ran up and down my spine and crying tears of joy, I realized why God had brought me to Canton.
I received a great gift that day, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. The icon, I was told, began to stream myrrh on Aug. 1, and continued through the Fast of the Dormition. I witnessed a profound miracle that day while experiencing great comfort at the same time—despite my reluctance and human desire to do what I wanted to do. Still, in the end, I did what I thought would please God and my fellow man.
Let us wake up every day asking ourselves: “What does God want from me today, and how can I serve others?” And let’s leave the rest to Him.