Good therapy helps a person to get clearer on who they are. Where we are with ourselves, where we are with our relationships, where we are with our personal habits and ultimately where we are with our connection with God. Self reflection is a courageous choice of those who seek a healthy life.
Socrates is known for saying,
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Viktor Frankl, a famous Austrian psychiatrist and holocaust survivor wrote: “When we are no longer able to change a situation we are challenged to change ourselves.”
St. Isaac of Syrian wrote: To see yourself as you really are is a miracle greater than raising the dead.”
Ancient philosophy, sensible modern psychology and the riches our faith speak the truth about the role of self reflection and its vital role toward a healthy life.
Where are you?
A compelling question that God asks of us all.
“The central question asked by the Lord of Adam in his sin is the question being asked of everyone at the beginning of Lent and throughout the season: Adam, Where are you? (Genesis 3:9) For as Jesus, the true Adam has said, ‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’ (Matthew 6:21).
Where is your heart?
What do you live for?
What do you love?”
This reflection is from my favorite Lenten book (Lenten Spring) written by one of my favorite people, Fr. Thomas Hopko (of Blessed memory).
As director of Family Wellness Ministry of our Metropolis, I am blessed by the fact that the Holy Tradition of our Faith guides us toward sanity, encouraging wellness for each one of us and our families. It strikes me as very stable and ‘therapeutic’,to say the least, that our Lenten season begins with forgiveness, as expressed by ‘Forgiveness Sunday’.
The Christian life is called the ‘imitation of God’ by the Fathers of the Orthodox Church, a conviction taught throughout the pages of the scriptures. The greatest possible ‘imitation of God’ is to be forgiving. Hopko writes:
“Love between sinners is essentially expressed in forgiveness. There is no other way. It cannot be otherwise. Forgiveness is the singular expression of love in this fallen world.”
Fr. Hopko goes on to quote Elder Zossima in Dostoevsky’s novel, Brothers Karamazov: “Brothers, do not be afraid of men’s sins. Love man even in his sins, for that is the semblance of divine love and is the highest love on earth. At some ideas you stand perplexed, especially at the sight of men’s sins, asking yourself whether to combat it by force or by humble love.
Always decide, ‘I will combat it by humble love’. If you make up your mind about that once and for all, you may be able to conquer the whole world.’ “
Let’s together embark on the humble and courageous Lenten path. Let’s ask God to help us with the most personal parts of our journey. As we embrace the Lord, we will recognize that humility is as awesome force, especially the force of forgiveness.
“Team Wellness” looks forward to connecting with you! Let us know if you’d like more information on Family Wellness Ministry in your parish!