St. Acacius and Love

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On July 7th, one Saint commemorated in the Byzantine Christian Calendar is St. Acacius, who is mentioned in the Ladder of Divine Ascent.

The OCA website has a short but beautiful summary of his life, here is the link:

http://oca.org/saints/lives/2016/07/07/101951-venerable-acacius-of-sinai-who-is-mentioned-in-the-ladder

 

In our world there is a focus on offending others, which can be beneficial from one perspective. We do not want to hurt our neighbors, after all! But I would ask-do we hurt ourselves when we continuously find reasons for offense? Have we missed forgiveness in this sensitivity to offense? Does it make us unable to love when we are wounded? If so, we may have missed an even deeper opportunity to love than in the world where no one offends another (assuming such world would even be possible).

With St. Acacius, we may have an example to consider. We may find his life shocking. He was mistreated by his spiritual father to the point of death without complaining. He was  miraculously raised from the dead to continue to show respect to the same monk who mistreated him, saying that he could not be silent if he was called upon. And so his dead body spoke to continue a life of love, despite no love shown to him.

This led to a beautiful remorse and repentance by his spiritual father, and his life of love brought a reconciliation to all of the hurts that Acacius endured.

The persistent love and obedience in the face of such offense is scandalous. We could consider him quite masochistic for enduring this. But I think that scandal is the exact place where we see his love, which was not contingent on his surroundings. As the love of God is present even as we turn away from Him, St. Acacius continued to love regardless of how he was treated.

May we seek to revel in this love! May God grant it to us when minuscule trials come our way. So often we speak out and react to the smallest things, and yet St. Acacius’ obedient silence in life and his obedient words in death can still our worries and heal not only our own wounds, but the wounds of those who have hurt us. That may be the deepest therapeutic, far above any feelings of justice that come from retribution.

 

I pray that deep love of St. Acacius fill our hearts to love no matter what we face. It is, I would argue, the surest way to be kept safe from the spirit of retaliation and frustration that seems ubiquitous in our world today.

 

Glory to Jesus Christ!

 

 

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