Not “kind grandfather” of why St. Nicholas is closer to us all mercy

He finds lost things, shows the way, restores health and, of course, gives gifts, and we say he is merciful. In this the Holiness and service of St. Nicholas – thinks the priest Sergei Kruglov.

Photo: the Simbirsk Metropolia / Vk

  • The Church celebrates the memory of Sainted Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia, the Wonderworker
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  • What do you know about Saint Nicholas the miracle worker? (test)
  • Nicholas, save!
  • When St. Nicholas grabs the sword

He, we say, have mercy on

Priest Sergei Kruglov

Who is for us, that is, in the mass consciousness, Nicholas the Wonderworker? We all know by heart the troparion “Rule of faith and image of meekness, temperance teachers…”, but still the first word we apply with you to St. Nicholas, is grace.

He, we say, is merciful.

Ozelci three gold filed… Innocent from execution saved… saved Sailors from a storm And… what? This universal good grandfather?..

Well, good, yeah, who can argue. Evil saints did not happen.

And mercy, of course. Just what it is – grace?..

Mercy is long and widespread and are treated in our culture the concept: “mercy for the fallen”… Oh mercy, we with you, well, or many of us, usually (so as not to write “automatically”) start speech, when you hear about a particular punishment for those whom we would prefer to declare innocent (as often, by the way – that’s us, darling!.. Like the hare in the fable, who was first nasty and then fell to the ground and squeal: “Lying is not beaten!..”). True mercy, the truth is, a helluva lot in our lives is not enough, it is a rare thing (who reads what I have said to the end, maybe will think why…).

Every century and every generation of Christian civilization creates its own nuances, its own priorities on who should be considered worthy of the mercy of the fallen (the list of “challenges of this age” is obvious, everyone can be himself). Under the exercise of Christian mercy, we, in the whirlwind of our hectic modern life mean first of all, mercy to the obvious sinners, to those who are clearly guilty of violating this and that.

It is interesting in this aspect, incidentally, that those who, judging by the conversation, saved Nicholas the Wonderworker, the sinners just, and was not: the three poor daughters of a poor man was preparing to go to the panel not because they were loose and obsessed with sex with the first comer, but because the father and the need to force; those from whom the Saint took the sword, was convicted of the innocent; in no way guilty and miserable, lost at sea, the sailors…

Of course, few of us here will remember the words of the gospel: “I desire Mercy, not sacrifice”! Good words and correct, Christ Himself said. How easily and routinely we quoted them on occasion and for no reason!..

Misha Maslennikov/flickr.com

Imagine Christ, Who sat at the table with MPs and businessmen

Let’s look at them closer?

Tells us that Matthew, himself, one of the participants described: “Passing from there, Jesus saw a man sitting at the receipt of custom, named Matthew, and saith to him: follow Me. And he arose and followed Him. And when Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and ate with Him and His disciples. Seeing that the Pharisees said to His disciples, why does your Teacher eat and drink with publicans and sinners?

Jesus, hearing this, said to them: not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick but go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice”? For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matt. 9:9-13). Translation Kuznetsova – it is easier and more accurate: “…there were a great number of tax collectors and other sinners…”

Not with the poor homeless under a fence Jesus scraps collected as sentimental at times we see in this case, not at all. He ate at the same table with a pretty powerful – with the tax collectors. With the bulls in crimson jackets.

With collectors, one of which yesterday, perhaps, for debts thrown into the street your an old lady and robbed her apartment. Ate at quite richly laid, as you can guess, the table.

What is the attitude to such people was the majority of Jews? Yes it is clear what. Imagine Christ, who in the sight of pensioners sat down with deputies and businessmen, stripped to the skin population. And these retirees fairly and with tears of resentment blame Him, Christ quoted from the book of the prophet Hosea: “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hos. 6:6).

Not your rituals and yourself

Why – “not victims”?

Do not correct your behavior, even the religious right, God says (which – Yes, Yes, hundred times Yes! – I told you and commanded, but not the point!).

A – mercy. How do the roots of this “mercy”? Out of simple human compassion of “humanism” or even some of the more important of the depths?

Read the whole sixth Chapter of the prophet Hosea:

“In their affliction they in the early morning will look for Me and say: “come, and let us return unto the Lord! for He has torn and He will heal us, struck and will bind up our wounds; revive us after two days, the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. Let us know, let us strive to know the Lord; as the dawn – phenomenon, and He will come to us like rain, like latter rain to the earth.” What do you, Ephraim? what do you, Judas? for your goodness is as a morning cloud and as the early dew it goeth away.

Therefore I have hewed by the prophets and beat them with the words of My mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth. For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings. But they like Adam have transgressed the Covenant: there have they dealt treacherously with Me. Gilead is a city of evildoers, stained with blood. As the robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness. In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing; there is the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled. And you, Judah, a harvest appointed, when I shall bring again the captivity of My people”.

Oh, scary words (Yes, of the prophets, they often – all of these, and the prophets)!..

Addressed to believers, to the “right” to “their”.

Bastard you actually, My beloved Israel, saith the Lord. But I love you and I want to believe that after My punishment to Me, and also come, and something in your head finally clears, and then make peace…

And the essence of the words of God: communion with God want, not sacrifice. Not your rituals, and you.

Misha Maslennikov/flickr.com

The same repeats devout Jews and Christ, sitting at the table not quite a reasonable tradition of “widow and orphan” (although He had been with them, as we know), but with an obvious wicked-fast (and this situation is even more “breaks the mold”, creates the Pharisees “cognitive dissonance” and carve a living spark of truth): learn God closer, be with Him for real, and not nominal, and understand how, what and why I do.

Keep His spirit in yourself and you will understand what true mercy is and why these sinners – then you will know and see and really, without blinders or prejudice – may well be on the way to the Kingdom of God ahead of all, externally, it is a “kosher”.

Philanthropy is measured not by sanctity

Why am I still talking? Not to somehow belittle the importance of grace, of course. And to pay attention to the simple and ugly fact is, the perception among us very often: how easy, cheap, mindlessly we, especially the Church, sometimes to this concept of mercy are. How we do anything sometimes not at risk, calling for a “mercy of the fallen”. How do sometimes completely of this one do not have, when the situation calls for mercy, had not God and His Holy, namely, and personally, we…

To offer sacrifice to God, learned by rote how to perform the traditional religious ceremony, even tear the best from myself and to give to God (“God – willing! But this?!!..”) – much simpler, easier, more comfortable mentally than to show mercy to obvious the wicked, the sinner, the enemy.

And here’s what. In the troparion to St. Nicholas (I know it’s a common “hierarchical” troparion, but still), in fact, no word for “mercy,” in our present humanistic and sentimental understanding. The main thing that happened with St. Nicholas, and for that we sing praise to him: you, father, rule of faith and image of meekness and a teacher of abstinence, did not so much you, so much, “show thee thy flock, which the Truth of things” that is so revealed to you people the Truth, the Essence of things, God Himself.

The main essence of the Ministry of St. Nicholas – to know the Living God and connect with Him and his congregation, to feel God and all the inhabitants of Myra, and the poor and those in power, and those sailors, and those saved from execution.

Not humanism and “welcome three Golden” (though they need, of course), not philanthropy is primarily measured by the Holiness and living life with God as He is.

I think that’s about it and the first thing to ask of St. Nicholas, though the Winter, though the Springtime, help me to learn to know God as you know!

And to ask “three uselow”… well, you can ask them, because, as I said, loving God everything spospeshestvovat in good.

Not worth it only to see Saint Nicholas only a kind grandfather who only knows that to find the lost things, the road without a Navigator or lost health.

Especially to see him as a secular Santa Claus.

Even though Santa Claus, who by tradition, asks: “Well, children, how you behave during the year?”

The text was first published on 19 December 2017

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