St. Nikolai Velimirovich on Faith/Works
- St. Nikolai Velimirovich on
From Is God Anonymous?<http://anongd.blogspot.com/2010/01/st-nikolai-velimirovich-on-faithworks.html><http://anongd.blogspot.com/2010/01/st-nikolai-velimirovich-on-faithworks.html>
*Prayers by the Lake, *LXXXIII
People carry on foolish conversations as soon as they move away from Your
presence, my Wisdom. Those without faith speak about works, and those
without works speak about faith.
Each disparages what he does not have, and what he does have he proclaims
throughout the marketplace.
While You, O Lord, are filling my home with Your life-creating breath, I
always forget to ask which is more important -- faith or works? As soon as I
offend You and feel abandoned by You, I angrily enter into people's
discussions, and support one side or the other.
For without You I am like a weather vane on a chimney that rattles in the
direction of the wind. When the wind of faith rises in my soul, I stand with
those who have abandoned works and championed faith; when the wind of
activity rises in my soul, I support the side of those who have abandoned
faith and championed works.
But in Your all-calming presence there is no wind, no swaying, no "doing
things." I neither feel faith nor see works; instead I feel and see only
You, the living God. In truth, You are not my faith but my vision. And You
are not my doing, but I am Your doing. And again I say: You are not my faith
but I am Your faith, and Your trust.
And so I teach those around me who are carrying on the debate: whoever has
true faith in the Living God prefers to remain silent. And whoever performs
a true work of God, prefers to remain silent. But whoever shuts up his faith
with his mind, gladly squabbles about faith. And whoever does his own work
and not God's gladly boasts of his works.
Deep is the tranquility of the soul in a man of faith, deeper than the
tranquility at the bottom of the sea. For God's Wisdom is born and resides
in deep tranquility.
Deep is the tranquility in the tongue of one who does God's work, deeper
than the tranquility of the iron in the heart of a mountain. For whoever
does the work of another listens to instructions and carries them out,
moreover he listens, and has no time to speak.
I speak believing in works: Is not my prayer a working and reworking of my
very self? Is not the whole world within me, from beginning to end, together
with all the world's poverty and impurity? Truly I am not without works,
when I sweat and weep in prayer, but am immersed in the weighty task of
helping the poor in my soul -- healing the sick and casting out the unclean
spirits from my soul.
I speak believing in faith: Do I not awaken faith in my neighbors through
the good works that I do?
Is not my work in the world the song of my faith, the psalm of one saved
among the unsaved? Who would stop the song in the throat of a brimming soul?
Who would stop a brimming spring from flowing? Would the nymphs who guard
the spring quarrel with the nymphs in the spring's stream over which water
is more beneficial? Truly, if there were no spring, there would be no
O my Lord, do not go far away from me, lest my soul succumb to meaningless
quarrels. Silence in Your presence expands my soul; discussions in Your
absence shrink her and expend her to the thinness of a boon of flax.
I listened last time to the people squabbling, and You waved your hands and
went far away. Indeed, those who truly have faith do not squabble with those
who are true doers of Your work. This is the quarrel of servants with little
faith and much ill will. Those who are of little faith squabble with the
errand boys of the world. They are a dried-up spring quarrelling with a
While they were full, they both used to sing a true song of joy, and
joyfully used to hail each other.
But this is a malicious believer quarrelling with a malicious doer. What do
I have in common with them? What ties me to them except compassion, which
flows forth from Your radiance?
Fill the house of my soul, O Life-Creating Spirit, so that I may become
blind and not see angry squabbling people, and so that I may be deaf to
their foolish discussion.
They have slipped away from You, my Joy, therefore they engage in foolish
I bow down and beseech You, tie my soul across the thousands of sunbeams to
You, lest she slip away from You, and plunge into the cold abyss.
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