We’re off to a start. Time will tell if we are off to a good start. The most challenging part is meeting our financial responsibilities and trying to find faithful benefactors so we can support more men in our community. Some say it is because of the economy that we are unable to get the help we had hoped to find. At least three good candidates are interested in joining us on this journey and we need, of course, to have more income to support more men.
The past weeks have been frustrating in trying to get out the word and raise funds. I never wanted to be involved in this part. I wanted to live a life of prayer. We don’t always get to choose what responsibilities fall to us though and I accept that.
The other evening, in praying vespers, I was suddenly struck by a particular part of this prayer:
“O Lord our God, who bowed the heavens and came down for the salvation of the human race, look down on Your servants and on Your inheritance. For Your servants have bowed their heads and bent their necks to You, the Judge both awesome and loving. They do not await the help that is from man, but look for Your mercy and are ready to receive Your salvation. Guard them at all times, this evening and tonight, against all enemies, against the devil’s assaults, against vain thoughts and evil dreams. May the might of Your Kingdom be blessed and exalted, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.”
I hear this line every evening, as the priest prays it – They do not await the help that is from man . . . – but tonight there was such a resonance to it.
I begin to see that our only hope in all of this is Him. Only Him.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth . . . his plans perish.
May I never forget the words of Psalm 146, may they always be in my heart:
Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have being.
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help. When his breath departs he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish.
Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith for ever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the sojourners, he upholds the widow and the fatherless; but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The LORD will reign for ever, thy God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!