Thursday, June 14, 2012

In his early years Alexander Elchaninov was involved in the cultural and religious movements which transformed Russia's literature and art during the period 1900-1910. He was ordained comparatively late in life, after passing through the harrowing experience of the 1917 revolution. While deeply rooted in the spiritual and ascetic tradition of the Orthodox Church, Father Alexander remained close to the intellectual movements of his day. Because he came to the priesthood through the gates of secular culture, Fr Alexander's teachings are "practical" and of increasing relevance today when we have to live the Christian life in an increasingly secular and materialistic environment. Fr Alexander died from a tragic illness in 1934, at the age of fifty-three. The following is from his Diary of a Russian Priest p.157: 

Our continual mistake is that we do not concentrate upon the present day, the actual hour, of our life; we live in the past or in the future; we are continually expecting the coming of some special moment when our life will unfold itself in its full significance. And we do not notice that life is flowing like water through our fingers, sifting like precious grain from a loosely fastened bag. 

Constantly, each day, each hour God is sending us people, circumstances, tasks, which should mark the beginning of our renewal; yet we pay them no attention, and thus continually we resist God’s will for us. Indeed, how can God help us? Only by sending us in our daily life certain people, and certain coincidences of circumstance. If we accepted every hour of our life as the hour of God’s will for us, as the decisive, most important, unique hour of our life – what sources of joy, love, strength, as yet hidden from us, would spring from the depths of our soul! 

Let us then be serious in our attitude towards each person we meet in our life, towards every opportunity of performing a good deed; be sure that you will then fulfill God’s will for you in these very circumstances, on that very day, in that very hour.


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