Saturday, May 16, 2009

Metropolitan Anthony on the Sunday of the Samaritan

Here is my translation of a brief word by Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev and Galacia (+1936) on the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman:
The Lord variously revealed His Divine origin to people, but rarely stated this terrible news explicitly. The Samaritan woman, in spite of all her sins, was found worthy to receive it from the Savior’s mouth: I that speak unto thee am He [Jn 4:26]. How had she earned such an honor? One can reply to this question conjecturally, but it is most likely because she awaited the Messiah rightly: I know the Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will tell us all things [Jn 4:25]. Seeing in Christ not an ordinary person, but a seer and a prophet, she first began to speak of prayer and then of the Messiah; and not as a king who would give everyone bread and earthly goods, but as one who would tell all things, bringing revelation of God. If she sinned in having doubts of faith, nonetheless she was not as far from God as the Jews were, who had to be brought to understanding in order that they could begin to understand things even in part.

The Savior clearly rejoiced to see one awaiting the Messiah rightly, and revealed to her the great news: I that speak unto thee am He.

She was excited by this news, relating to it with the simplicity and directness of a woman’s integral nature: she dropped everything and ran to the city to relate what had happened.

Every one of us, at one time or another in life, has grieved over God’s unknowability, and has himself been guilty of this blindness. Let everyone ask themselves if they have done everything necessary for a seeker of truth. The conscience’s answer will be negative. Among those who have heard the Truth without heeding it are those theologians who have strayed from truth, which the soul should have absorbed and asked for since childhood. Their hearts have become embittered and hardened from pride and self-love.

May the Lord save our souls from such embitterment and from these passions, and then it will hear and recognize truth with the simplicity of the Samaritan woman.
Icon: 16th-century Greek; originally from Mylos, now in Adamontos.

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