by Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky
from The Word, November 1969
The master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master . . . For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ (Matt. 25:21, 29)
Have you ever looked into the eyes of a saint in our icons? They are always direct, responsive, piercing. Never are the saints portrayed in profile. A saint is one who responds to God’s demands on him, accepting the challenge to be a responsible being.
In a parish, the responsibility for getting things done always falls on the shoulders of just a few people. Periodically, we look around for talent, hoping to get others, as many as possible, involved in planning and carrying out decisions.
What happens is that several projects won’t be accomplished, or else just half finished, thrown together at the last minute. The end result is giving the duties back to the old reliables, all of them having five or six activities going on simultaneously, proving once more the old maxim: “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”
We know quite well why it is that the busy ones are always burdened, while the rest just fill in the ranks. Because those who allocate responsibility seek out the precious few who can be relied on to take a job and see it through. They think about every aspect of the assignment before hand, plan a strategy, then carry it out. When asked for results, they don’t offer excuses.
Like the saints in the icons, they aren’t looking over their shoulders at their neighbors; their eyes meet yours directly. They don’t tell you what can’t be done, or who’s not doing his share, or why they weren’t able to fulfill their task. You know by their eyes they’ll do their best.
What God wants, what the Church and the world need, are responsible beings, capable of responding to the challenges given to them.
Although we don’t know what heaven is like, the Christian idea of heaven never has been, (as in Islam, for example), a place of eternal earthly delights, nor is it a continual welfare state.
We might infer that since our Lord calls us to account for our lives, perhaps the Kingdom of God will be a place of even greater opportunity to use the responsibility and maturity acquired here on earth.
Synaxis Of Archangel Michael And The Heavenly Bodiless Powers - November 8
Supreme Leaders of the Heavenly Hosts, we implore you that by your prayers you will encircle us, unworthy as we are, with the protection of the wings of your immaterial glory and guard us who fall down before you and fervently cry: deliver us from dangers, for you are the commanders of the powers above.
Another Troparion of the Angels, Tone 1
Let us praise Cherubim, Seraphim, Thrones, Powers, Authorities and Principalities, Dominions, Archangels and Angels, for they are the Bodiless ministers of the Unoriginate Trinity and revealers of incomprehensible mysteries. Glory to Him Who has given you being; glory to Him Who has given you light; glory to Him Who is praised by you in thrice-holy hymns.
Kontakion of the Angels, Tone 2
Supreme Leaders of God's armies and ministers of the divine glory, princes of the bodiless Angels and guides of men, ask what is good for us and great mercy, as Supreme Leaders of the Bodiless Hosts.