Archive for March 12th, 2008

Now Enoch lived one hundred and sixty-five years, and begot Methusaleh. After he begot Methusaleh, Enoch was well-pleasing to God for two hundred years, and begot sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Thus Enoch was well-pleasing to God, and was not found, for God translated him. (Genesis 5.21-24)

Enoch pleased the Lord and was translated
As an example of repentance for all generations (Sirach 44.16)

There was once a man pleasing to God and loved by Him,
And while living among sinners he was taken up.
He was caught up lest evil change his understanding
Or deceit deceive his soul.
For envy arising from lack of judgment obscures what is good,
And a whirling of desire undermines an innocent heart.
He was made perfect,
For in a short time he fulfilled long years,
For his soul was pleasing to the Lord;
Therefore, He took him early from the midst of evil.
Yet peoples saw this but did not understand,
Nor take such a thing to heart,
That the Lord’s grace and mercy are with His elect
And that He watches over His holy ones. (Wisdom 4.10-15)

By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him“; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11.5-6)

Our priest, Father Patrick, preached on the Sirach text at Forgiveness Vespers on Sunday, emphasizing that Enoch knew far less than we do, this side of Pentecost: that God is, and that he rewards those who diligently seek him. Such was his diligent search for God, such was his faith, and trust in God, that God took him out of our sinful world.

This sort of trust has struck me today, especially in this present time of the start of Lent. I have been confronted by these texts, and Father’s sermon, as well as my own introspection this week, and made to know how little I really trust God. I pray to God and ask his blessing for this or that, to make this or that change and answer this or that request. But then I go out and act as though I never brought these matters to God, trying to control events and to achieve the very blessing for which I asked God. Or, in making my requests, I do so with anxiety instead of assurance; my persistence arising from the feeling of needing to control rather than persisting because of my need and my assurance of God’s love and goodwill for me.

And that is, I think, really what God wants. He wants me to cast myself into the unfathomable depths of his love and mercy; not standing on the precipice of doubt and control, wanting his love and mercy, but unwilling to have it except on my terms. No, unless I am mistaken, my task is to fling myself out into the darkness of his love, crying “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” as I descend into the depths.

Lord, have mercy.


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