by Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky
from The Word, February 1967
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” (St. Matthew 6:34)
How many of us spend precious time on this earth inside a dark cloud of anxiety, worrying about things over which we have no control? Do we really believe in God?
If we say we believe that God exists, we should know that He is in command of our destiny. True believers live with an inner peace, because they know that God is the Ultimate Lord of history. If we doubt God’s Plan, we begin relying on our own scheme for the future.
Too many of the brief days of our lives we spend in worrying and planning. It is enough to be afraid of what we have really to fear. Anxiety is a nebulous fear, an irrational state of mind, leading to more serious mental breakdown.
If it were told us that we are trying to be little gods, doing what only God can do, we would deny it. Yet, that is what we do when we put our trust in our own ideas. Even more, when what we had desired doesn’t come about, when we have to abandon our own ideas, we blame God for rejecting us, or else we deny His Omnipotence.
Our age is an age of anxiety, because nearly all people in our world are agnostics. We cannot see God at work in our world, so we do God’s worrying and planning for Him. Only because we have no faith, can we ask all the fruitless “What if” questions that lead eventually to alcoholism, depression, or worse. Such questions are:
“What will happen if I should become ill for a long time?”
(Then the worrier thinks through the details of losing his job, facing medical and other expenses. Meditating long enough on this possibility, he sees it as if it is really happening.)
“What if my wife (or children, or parents) becomes sick?”
“What will become of my family if I should die early?”
Each of us has our own “What if” to disturb us. But the solutions to these problems are not in our control.
It doesn’t mean we are not to plan our futures. We cannot be human and have no patterns for our lives. It means we must make all our plans conditionally.
The person who believes in God knows that his personal plans will be achieved only if they accord with His Master Plan. Every action and deed he prefaces with the words, “If it be Thy will.” He knows what Jesus Christ meant by the words “THY will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”
St. Xenia the Fool for Christ of St. Petersburg - January 24
Christ the Lord has shown forth in thee a new mediatress and intercessor for our race; thou didst will to endure evil in thy life and didst lovingly serve both God and man. We zealously run to thee in misfortune and sorrow; we hope in thee and cry from our hearts: Put not our hope to shame, O blessed Xenia.
Kontakion of St. Xenia, Tone 4
Thou didst give thy wealth to the poor, O Xenia, and accept poverty out of love for Christ; and having lived in a manner rivalling the Angels thou wast counted worthy of glory on high.