Monday, December 24, 2018

Hermit or Monk?

I came across a Russian movie about a monk who lived in a deserted island where he does penance, says his prayers and attends Communion service nightly. He is a hermit monk and he is often totally alone, crying out to God. His past sins appear to haunt him and the prayers from the
Psalms are wonderful as depicted in the movie. I pray the same often. There were two remarkable incidents. One was a divine healing on a boy whose leg was crippled.
The monk insisted that the mother and the boy remained in the island for one night to join the nightly communion service but she refused. She had bought a return ticket and did not want to waste it. When pressed she wanted to return to her work and afraid she might be fired if she returned the next day. The monk asked her, "Is your job more important than the boy?" Is your job more important than your life? Is your job more important than your relationship with God? There are so many worldly considerations that often drown men and women into worldly sorrows, not knowing that it is God who provides for His beloved in his sleep. Are we to be lazy then? No, we work hard but God is greater than our jobs. We work hard but we know the fruits of our labour are a gift from the Lord. Praise be to Thee, Lord (repeated often in the movie).

The second incident was an admiral whose daughter was mentally ill. The father thought her daughter was insane and brought her to the island for rest and recovery, hearing that there was an elder that could heal madness. But the monk told the father that his daughter was demon-possessed. After much prayers when the monk and the young woman were left alone, the demon left the woman and she was normal again. All happened through simple prayers, prayed in faith.

But the most important thing about the movie is about love and forgiveness, forgiving others whom have sinned against us, and forgiving ourselves as the Lord has forgiven us. One poignant scene was when his brother monk sent him a message from his superior. The monk asked why his brother monk did not love him whereas the superior loved him and had asked the monk to leave solitary living and to stay with his superior in the monastery. Why does one brother show love but another seems to hate or not love? Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, says John the apostle. Like Cain who killed his brother because he hated Abel. Before the murder, God confronted Cain and warned him that sin was crouching at the door. That short conversation in the early chapters of Genesis tells us that each man or woman is given a choice; given free will; given freedom to choose to love or to hate. Hatred leads to murder in fact in the NT hatred itself is murder just as lusting after another woman is adultery. We can choose to love and to forgive. We can live quietly and alone if necessary with God as our only friend.

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