Sunday, May 24, 2009

More on what I've been thinking about

A while ago I wrote about my thoughts concerning the Bayview and Lower Fillmore neighborhoods. I've decided to start praying to St. Moses the Black about it. But not for the reason you might think. It is true that the help of St. Moses is often sought by those evangelizing people of African ancestry, but that is not the reason I have decided to seek St. Moses' intercession. Rather, I am seeking his help so that I can pray more effectively. You see, St. Moses was someone who was often disappointed by his lack of spiritual progress, but who also was quick to accept people where they were. From Wikipaedia:
"Moses was zealous in all he did, but became discouraged when he concluded he was not perfect enough. Early one morning, Saint Isidore, abbot of the monastery, took Moses to the roof and together they watched the first rays of dawn come over the horizon. Isidore told Moses, 'Only slowly do the rays of the sun drive away the night and usher in a new day, and thus, only slowly does one become a perfect contemplative.'"

"When a brother committed a fault and Moses was invited to a meeting to discuss an appropriate penance, Moses refused to attend. When he was again called to the meeting, Moses took a leaking jug filled with water and carried it on his shoulder. Another version of the story has him carrying a basket filled with sand. When he arrived at the meeting place, the others asked why he was carrying the jug. He replied, 'My sins run out behind me and I do not see them, but today I am coming to judge the errors of another.' On hearing this, the assembled brothers forgave the erring monk.

I do not imagine that anything I do or pray will be sufficient to meet the need I see in those two neighborhoods. So, like St. Moses, I am likely to be discouraged by slow progess. I will need his prayers to see it through to the end like he did.

Much of my problem in befriending the people in those neighborhoods, even if only in prayer, is that I see their sin, and much of it is cultural. The horrible thing about it is that my sins are just as bad if not worse, because I have been joined to Christ. Like St. Moses' sins in the basket on his back, they are a weight on me even though they are mostly out of sight. More than I wish, I am more like the Holy Prophet Jonah, who saw a wicked society and hated it more than he hated his own self-centered orientation. (See Jonah chapter 4 and consider that this man is a Saint. I don't know about you, but this gives me hope for myself.)

So, right now this is my prayer: "Lord Jesus, through the intercessions of St. Moses the Black, help me pray more effectively for the people of Bayview and the Lower Fillmore and for the expansion of your kingdom in those neighborhoods."


Philippa said...

That is one intense looking saint on that icon. I've never heard of St. Moses the Black but I see I need to educate myself!

Anonymous said...

St Moses the Black is a great Saint who deserves more credit. may his blessings be with us all. he is truly an inspiration for any christian overcome by sin.