- Fyodor Dostoevsky
Dear Friends of OYM,
I don’t know about you, but my heart is reeling.
Our world is a mess.
Injustice. Mass violence. Wars.
It’s enough to make anyone despair and look anywhere for a solution.
Perhaps a new government policy? Perhaps a law to correct social issues? Perhaps a global peace summit?
All this is good.. We should work to prevent such atrocities, particularly as we seek to protect the most vulnerable.
We need to recognize that the world is never going to be set right through acts of legislation. We cannot mandate virtue.
Any and all human attempts to bring God’s Kingdom justice are projects doomed to failure because we aren’t primarily up against issues of law.
We’re dealing with issues of the human heart.
In the 4th Century, St. Macarius said words that are just as true today as they were 1700 years ago:
“[The heart] is a small vessel, yet dragons are there, and there are also lions; there are poisonous beasts and all the treasures of evil.”
What are we to do when we continue to encounter chaos monsters lurking in the heart of the human being? Despair and die?
This cannot be.
St. Macarius also realized “there too [in the heart] is God, the angels, the life and the kingdom, the light and the apostles, the heavenly cities and the treasuries of grace—all things are there.”
The only hope for our world, then, is the transformation of the very thing that is the cause of all the issues in our world: the human heart.
Only transformed people can transform the world.
Only beauty can save the world.
But this beauty must be revealed in us so that it can flow from us so that the world can be transformed through us.
This is what St. Paul was onto when he wrote, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:18-19).
Our temptation will be to turn toward powers in the world to set the world’s sufferings right. But we cannot put our trust in princes of men, in chariots, or horses.
But it is the transformation of our hearts in and through Christ that will save the world.
It starts with us.
As we head toward the national holiday of Thanksgiving, perhaps the invitation for us is to cultivate a grateful heart.
This may be hard as the world is in travail, but if we do so, we may see that God remains faithful, always moving toward us with love, mercy, grace, and beauty.
This way we can see that while the world is a mess, it’s not the full picture.
God is still good. God is still trustworthy.
This November, I invite you to join me in keeping a list of blessings, both big and small, in order to help us cultivate a heart of longing, a heart that leans toward God’s Kingdom with eager anticipation and joy, even amidst the pain that surrounds us.
Every day, let’s make a list of 10 blessings that God has given us. It might be your loved ones; it might be your morning coffee; it might be the fact that you have ears to hear the birds’ songs around you.
There is no blessing too small to point our hearts toward the Lord so that we might be transformed by Him.
His Love is the only hope for our world, friends.
As we navigate the world and its pain, let’s each take St. Paul’s words to the Corinthians to heart.
Be on your guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.
Yours in Christ,
Christian Gonzalez Director of Ministry