Humility, Love and the Incarnation

I am so humbled by the number of you who have sent cards and letters, emails, left comments, prayed. I feel like there’s some sort of misconception that I’m this nice person, a prayerful, holy person, and I’m so definitely not. I joke that I’m so far from being on the bottom rung of the ladder of St. John, I haven’t even found the ladder yet. I know you all are my betters. But if pitiful, sinful people weren’t here on Earth then there would be no one for the rest of you to pray for. It’s hard for me to let people do for me, even to pray for me, but I have no choice right now. There are a few times in our lives when we are so beaten down that we have no choice but to let others lift us back up. It’s humiliating, in the theological sense.

This is tangential, but read Nonna’s latest post please. She’s so much more eloquent than I and she expresses things so well. An excerpt:

Christ’s Love is a suffering love… it is compassionate – with passion (in the ancient sense) – it suffers with others, and so bears their burdens. I’ve said it before… Love hurts. It hurts to see people hungry, to see them in pain, to see them dying… When we love someone our hearts are laid bare for them. They will hurt us – whether by words, or deeds (or non-deeds) – by dying, or by suffering in front of us – by misunderstandings, or disagreements – by joys unshared, or expectations unmet… in some way we will be hurt. And that is when we can become more like Christ… it is then our life can live out the truth, “I must decrease, and He must increase.” Real love remembers the Truth beyond the pain… and it realizes the pain is an integral part of the joy. Love is the ultimate “bright-sadness” – as the times of the Fasts teach us…

So, how do we learn this love? We don’t… we live it. And we take the time to stop, to remember… we are to love everyone. Not just those who love us… We are to love the cold-hearted, the uncaring… we must remember that we need them. They are the ones who make us more and more like the One Who is Love.

Thinking about Christmas, the baby in the manger, has made me bitter a few times in the last week. My baby will be in the cold ground by then. But the honest reality of that incarnation is terrible. One of the gifts of the magi was myrrh. The Theotokos, in all of the icons depicting her with the infant Christ, is sad. The spear has already pierced her heart. As mothers we must remember that spear any time a child is conceived. Because on this earth, all life ends in death. But all death ends in life everlasting.

5 thoughts on “Humility, Love and the Incarnation

  1. Mat. Anna… talk about feeling humbled! My blog is such a small corner (fitting for such a small soul)… but I'm thankful you found words there that in some way brought encouragement… and I'm so humbled to see a few of those words here in your corner – this place that has built such a sense of community.

    God-willing, we're all searching for St. John's ladder together… 🙂


  2. re: “I feel like there's some sort of misconception that I'm this nice person, a prayerful, holy person, and I'm so definitely not.”

    Speaking for myself, dear Matushka, what has drawn my interest in your blog generally and my prayers in your struggles and grief, is how real you come across. You are a woman who loves God and her family with intensity.

    Then add to it any areas of overlap and identification (my own miscarriages)and it's impossible not to relate, to watch with wonder how you travel this terrible path and remembering my own pain and despair, wishing there was a way to ease that for you…

    Maybe it's all part of the wonder of Christian community, of belonging to the body of Christ.

    (another) Elizabeth


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