My Beloved the benevolent
Blessing and peace, wishing you every goodness and blessing.
We are approaching the end of 2021, thanking our good God for He has “Covered us, helped us, guarded us, accepted us, supported us and brought us to this hour.”
The end of a year is an opportunity for self-examination. Man needs to examine himself periodically. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the Bible says, “But when he came to himself, he said, “How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants. And he arose and came to his father.’” Lu. 15:17:20
We note the importance of self-examination in the following ways:
1.The younger son asked for his share of the money, left his father’s house, travelled to a far land, spent his money on an extravagant life, and spent everything he had; a famine came, and he went to work at a swine farm. All these events did not alert him to his sin, but he moved from one mistake to another without any guilt. But when he “came to himself”, he felt that he had made a mistake and said to himself, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.”
How can a person know his mistakes if he does not examine himself? So, a person needs to devote time every day to self-examination. A careful person who is keenly aware of his salvation constantly examines himself.
2-The younger son did not feel his condition worsen until he “came to himself” and compared his situation to that of his father’s servants. Sin places man in a bad condition, but it also distracts man and does not make him feel badly until he returns to himself and realizes his bad condition.
3.The younger son asked for his share of the money and travelled to a far land, believing that he had gained his freedom and acted as he wanted without accountability to anyone. He felt that being in his father’s house was a restriction on his freedom. Then he discovered that what he thought was freedom was slavery which at one point made him less than swine; he noticed that swine are free to eat when they want, “and he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.” Lu 15:16 How could the younger son have realized that he is in bitter slavery and not freedom, without coming to himself?
A man is dominated by thoughts that lead to his actions, and without examining these thoughts, his actions cannot be properly managed. Therefore, a man needs to examine himself not only regarding his actions, but also regarding his principles and thoughts. The younger son realized that true freedom was in his father’s house, not away from his father.
Many believe that God’s commandments restrict their freedom and that man’s behavior according to what he sees is best for himself, without going back to God’s commandments, is freedom; but when they faithfully examine themselves, they discover that true freedom is in obedience to God and his commandments, because God created us free and always wants us to be free from the power of sin. “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” Jn. 8: 36.
4.The younger son faced difficulties, but he did not know how to solve them until he came to himself. When he ran out of money, he thought of working and didn’t think of returning to his father. His work in taking care of swine did not solve his problems, but rather revealed to him his bad condition; but when he came to himself, he made the right decision and carried it out: repentance and returning to his father, confident that his father will accept him even as one of the servants.
Self-examination is not only for man to discover his mistakes and his bad condition, but to come forward with confidence to God, asking for forgiveness. Judas returned to himself and regretted his actions and said, “I betrayed innocent blood”, but he made the wrong decision, so he went and hung himself. He had no hope nor confidence in God’s acceptance of him; unlike St. Peter, who denied knowing Christ three times, but returned to himself and regretted and cried bitterly, so Christ accepted him and returned him to his apostolic status after the Resurrection.
We pray that God, as we approach the end of the year, grant us to return to ourselves and examine our lives and move forward with repentant hearts with confidence in the love of our good God and in His endless mercy, as we sing of His many mercies during the month of Kiahk. May the Lord bless your lives and grant us a blessed new year and bless your gifts to support Santa Verena Charity’s programs.