Although most days are spent by many Americans worshipping themselves in some measure (just spend a few minutes listening to ‘right wing’ talk radio, and you’ll see what we mean), July the 4th is probably the worst in this regard. This is inexcusable, especially for the Christian communities there. For what is it that really makes Americans ‘exceptional’? Aside from their self-love, there is their money-lust, penchant for starting unnecessary wars, and heresies, along with a host of social maladies like addictions (to drugs, pornography, and gambling), violence in the streets, legalizing child murder in the womb, outlawing Christian prayers and teachings in public schools, and widespread divorce (amongst others).
America is not the greatest country the world has ever known or will ever know. Yes, there are some economic opportunities here, but what does it matter if we gain a big income but lose our souls?
There have been many good countries in the world throughout history. It would greatly behoove those in the South and elsewhere in the Union to humble themselves and study a little bit about them that they might know better how to live themselves.
The desert dwellers in Orthodox Egypt are one such people that have always provided great inspiration for the Church, wherever she has gone in the world. Let us take a brief look at what some have said about them:
St. John Chrysostom
Commenting on the verse, “Take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt” (Mt. 2:13), St. John Chrysostom wrote about Egypt:
The mother of poets and wise men and magicians, the inventor of every kind of sorcery, but now taking pride in the fishermen and protecting herself with the cross; and not in the cities only, but in the desert even more than in the cities, since everywhere in that land may be seen the camp of Christ. Heaven is not more glorious with its encampment of shining stars than the wilderness of Egypt, studded with the tents of monks.
I have seen, really seen, the treasury of Christ, concealed in human vessels! . . . Yes, I saw in Egypt fathers who lived on the earth, but who led lives in heaven, and certain new prophets, inspired by virtues of the soul, and also the gift of prophecy, whose worthiness was attested to by gifts of signs and wonders . . . some of them were so free of any thought of vice that they had forgotten that there was any evil in the world. . . .
. . .
. . . It was not uncommon for these African deserts to miraculously bring forth springs and begin to vegetate—surely this was a reflection of the action of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the righteous ones who lived there. As these holy ones purified their hearts, they purified their nations and their land. Lay people began to hear about this spiritual dynamism and transformation and, desirous of connecting to these life-giving streams, began to make pilgrimages to these communities (Fr Paisius Altschul, ‘African Monasticism: Its Influence on the Rest of the World’, An Unbroken Circle, Fr Paisius Altschul, edr., St Louis, Mo., Brotherhood of St Moses the Black, 1997, pgs. 28, 30-1).
It is unseemly for those in the States to be as prideful as they are. But God is always waiting in the Orthodox Church, as the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, to receive us when we repent.
Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð!
Anathema to the Union!