On January 1, 2012 I will begin an odyssey of spiritual adventure – ‘walking with Elder Ephraim’ of the Holy Mountain – Athos in Greece and now St. Anthony’s Monastery in Arizona. What inspired me to take this journey under the indirect ‘tutelage’ of this holy elder is my intention of understanding from a true spiritual father how Orthodox faith becomes Orthodox practice… to learn from monastic holy fathers is a most profitable way to receive the guidance needed to repent and strive to walk the path of holiness in an unholy world. Elder Ephraim’s writings in the book “Counsels from the Holy Mountain” will be my guide, striving to imagine that the words that he used for countless thousands of other people and monastics might somehow be a word and blessing to me.
Knowledge is fleeting.
Wisdom is eternal…. and it is Holy Wisdom that we must all seek.
So how did I come about this idea?
Recently I began to think about the coming year 2012. Some say it will be a very hard one mercilessly difficult as the world and governments continue to stumble and fall, in fact some predict it will be the last year of all civilization, and yet others say everything is going to be just fine… don’t worry about it. For the Orthodox Christian we live in the moment, neither fearing the past or the future, but living in repentance and in humble confidence in our Lord’s victory over the only real enemy – death. In Christ we are at peace and in peace.
But I said “How could I best redeem the gift of time this coming year – what would be the very best way to invest my energies and efforts?” “What would be worthy of giving myself to? ” Certainly one of the biggest presidential elections in our nation’s history is before us, and I realized how ill-informed and unprepared I am to engage in our processes of democracy and freedom by the electing our national and local leaders… so one day amidst all of the noise emanating from the political parties I heard the very simple and yet sobering common sense message of Ron Paul… and I said, “What would it look like if I spent the year studying him, and seeking to understand his call for a return to conservative Constitutionalism – just walking with him?” I think I’ll do that.
And a new blog was born “Walking with Ron”. Each day of 2012 I will reflect on what I am learning from Congressman Paul, and posting my reflections online.
And since my Orthodox faith is far more important and valuable to me than politics I want to do the same with Elder Ephraim, for I am both a citizen of Heaven and yet a citizen of this Republic… and I must honor God faithfully in both cases… as a child of God and as a son of Liberty.
Learning from wise men, one in a political realm, one in the spiritual realm is how I will spend my new year… may God have mercy on me and grant me wisdom and understanding.