Who You Really Are.

Will Ferrell offers in one of his stand-up routines, “Before you marry a person you should first make them use a computer with slow internet to see who they really are”.

There is a story told of St. Macarius of Optina, taken from a correspondence he had with a rich merchant. The man wrote to the holy elder, “My maid has left me and my friends have recommended another young lady to take her place. What do you think I should do? Should I hire her or not?”

The elder answered, “Yes”, in return.

After awhile the merchant wrote again to Macarius, “Father, bless me to dismiss her, she is a real demon, since she has come I spend my time in rage and fury and have lost all control over myself!”

And the elder replied, “Take care not to dismiss her, she is an angel whom God has sent to you to make you see how much anger was hidden in you, which the previous maid had never been able to reveal in you”.

Dearest faithful, this morning and throughout the Lenten season we must take a look at ourselves and beg the questions, what is the true reflection of my soul? How does God see it? What work needs to be done? What weight needs to be shed?

So often, when taking an inventory of ourselves, we consider only the things we like while all the things that are ugly or difficult to assess are only accidental (not actually us). We think along the lines— probably without realizing, that “I am pretty good, as is, current circumstances are simply distorting my best intentions and thereby damaging my most perfect impulses”.

It is with a similar mindset that we approach the sacramentof confession, saying, “father, here are my sins”, then stopping for a moment of breath, before spouting the most dreaded and almighty, “BUT”.

Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) remarks he has offered more than once, before reading the prayer of absolution at confession, “that peace between God and man is a two-way traffic”. He would then ask the penitent “are you willing to forgive God all His misdeeds, all the wrong He has done, all the circumstances which prevented you, good Christian from being a saint”.

This is not a question we would wish to have begged of us. But, it is necessary to consider, especially on this day of Forgiveness, as we gaze the Lenten Fast approaching at sun-down. In the next forty-eight days, we must take full responsibility for who we are, our heredity, our situation, our God and ourselves, otherwise, we will never see the reflection of our entire soul.

As St. Paul shared with us this morning, “Do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11).

So we stand now, at the dawn of the new day, it is time dearest faithful to put on Christ and to stop making provisions for the flesh (Romans 13:14). There is no more time for exceptions, excuses, changes of scenery, or waiting until tomorrow.

Brothers and sisters, during this Lenten Fast let us dig deep in order to find the real us, exposing the sickness in our souls to the light, the passions which we struggle with most often and place them truly and honestly at the feet of Jesus Christ, confessing them and seeking real change of heart.

If you lose yourself in this season, in the fasting, the divine services and the introspection of your soul; you are promised that the real you is not going to be found perfect, but (and this is a good “but”)! It can be transformed if we look honestly at ourselves admitting to our faults, difficulties, and struggles; offering forgiveness to others, forgiveness to God for the struggles of our life, and then seek forgiveness of our compassionate and loving God.