Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Fr. Jonathan J. Filkins
There are many of us who enjoy being in the outdoors. In our youth, we may have enjoyed “roughing it,” with notmuch more than the very rudimentary necessities.
This may have included a thin blanket, with our planning to lay under the stars, cowboy-style. In reality, as the temperature dropped, we began to understand the deprivations of those who came before us, as the inadequacy of our own preparations became alarmingly clear.
Some may have also found the heavens opening up, with a deluge of precipitation, or an onslaught of the creatures of the night.
After a sleepless night, and aching muscles, the lesson of real preparation for the future, becomes much clearer. Perhaps we retreated to the car or, even worse, retreated to the comfort of hearth and home. Next time, we promised to ourselves, we shall have a reliable tent and a warm sleeping bag.
Such are the memories of our youths. Perhaps the memories are a bit more current. Every one of us has had incidents where things did not go as planned. In our analysis, each day brings us some disappointments. Yet, it is in these disappointments where we learn the more correct action.
Of course, there are some things we do not need to experience. Some things are simply obvious. Purposely jumping off a cliff, or standing in front of a speeding car is going to hurt, and a lot. Perhaps our parents told us of these things, but our own logic confirms the command.
Once we have fallen down, or burned our finger, and felt the pain, we do not seek to do it again. The life lesson is learned.
The learning, of our Faith, is quite similar.
Many Christians have attended, or attend Sunday School, whether as a child, or adult. Each lesson is typically geared to the history, tenants and theology of the Faith. In the early years, the foundation is laid with the story of Jesus, His miracles and teachings. Later on, the emphasis is upon deeper messages, contained within Holy Scripture.
However, in order to have a complete understanding of the Faith, as given to us by Jesus Christ, we must understand the very nature of God.
It is with this understanding which gives us the ability to understand Him.
In the calendar season of the Church, we acknowledge the completion of the Holy Trinity, Pentecost, with the descent of the Holy Spirit; also called the Holy Ghost. All of our spiritual education would be impossible without this active nature of God, within ourselves.
For some, this understanding is quite a challenge. One of the often-used examples, of explanation, is the three-leaved shamrock. Here we have the three leaves, each one representing God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit; each leaf attached to a common stem.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus said, And I will pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.
Our relationship, with the Comforter, is reliant with our own preparations. It is He who is the active voice of God within ourselves. Yes, we may find ourselves in the frigid wilderness of our lives, covered with a very thin veil of self-imposed strife.
Yet, in our humility, and understanding, the Comforter provides all that we shall need. It requires our preparation against the onslaught of life, as we nurture our relationship with Him and protect ourselves against the gale.