MEDITATIONS AND REFLECTIONS
by Rev. L. D. Ervin
Reviewed by E.L.S.E.
You can pick up a copy at the online bookstore:
This e-book was provided by Dorrance Book Review Team.
The book is published by Dorrance Publishing.
I was searching in the vast library of Dorrance Publishing online store when a title a little sad but also intriguing caught my attention: “Meditations and reflections”. Reading this title a sort of tranquility was produced in my soul together with a need to see what was in there. It was like discovering and old and hidden English garden you feel the need to open the door, to enter and explore the mysteries.
Into the book the author unveils the meanings of the biblical names. Also the Saint Maxim the Confessor, in Philokalia, vol. 3, shows us the translation of such names like Jerusalem which means the place from where the peace is seen.
The author quotes a Hebrew writer who said: “looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (pg.2). In this respect we consider that the great tragedy of Israel is that among them has born the Son of God, they being the chosen people, and they can believe in Him, even they are trying. Like Jesus said: “Nobody is a prophet in his country”, or like the Israelis said, quoted in the Bible: “Isn`t Him the son of Jacob?”, or “It may come out something good from Nazareth?!”. Also, it must be said here that the anti-Semitism is so wrong. How we can say that we love Jesus Christ, being in hate with the people among it Jesus was born?! Or, like Jesus said: “How somebody can love anybody, but hate his mother?” – and this is a very wrong position of some Christians who don`t respect the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus…
The author describes how the path toward God it is accompanied by doubt, uncertainty, concerns and challenges.
The writing is sometime inspirational, full of conviction energy: “Look at the witnesses, the heroes of your life—your spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents—and countless others inducted in “God’s hall of fame.” Even more, they are standing in the “great arena” cheering and applauding your every step. They are saying run, child, run!”
“He completed extensive training under our Lord. He constantly talked and walked with the Master.” (pg.4) – very interesting formula… In the same time an occasion to discuss about the knowledge of God. The most profound knowledge of God can be named “apostolic knowledge”, because the apostles knew Jesus Christ face to face, talking Him, hearing directly from Him, being taught by Him.
I`m not agree with how the author consider the fear. In orthodox Christian writings the fear it is divided in two kinds: the god fear, the fear of God – “the fear of God is god, it makes the children sage”, and there is also a bad fear, the fear produced by our attachment to material things, our lack of faith in God`s help. Jesus Himself told us to not be worried, like the birds of the land, which do not seed and do not thresh, but God give them the food that they need. Also the lilies do not weave but they are dressed more beautiful then King Solomon of his peak of splendor. Also Jesus warns us saying: “There they feared, where was nothing not fear”.
It is important to highlight that the good fear is the second stage in Gnostic evolution, the first being the faith in God. Also, the believer who reaches the ultimate stages of Gnosticism transforms also the good fear, the fear of God. In this respect must be said that there are two kind of good fear: the first, in which we fear God like a servant fears his master to not be punished, and the second kind, in which the believer become through Jesus Christ a son of God, and fears to not upset his Father like a son loving his father wants to make his father will. In the end, the author says that the fear can be over passed only with the help of God, which is true: “You can do nothing without me.”
It may be mentioned here the saying of a great Christian author: “The material things are an illusion, but the bonds who attach us to them are very real!”
In the book there is a story with a father, his son and a friend of his son, capsizing with a boat in the middle of a storm. The father thrown the only line to be grabbed by the friend of his son, not by his son, reasoning that his son is already a Christian and the son`s friend isn`t. It is a very touching story which makes us humble.
In the Philokalia, one of the holly fathers explains the parable of the un-fruitful fig, treated also in this book, that the full of leafs three illustrated the Pharisees. They have all the exterior characteristics of fruitful threes, but they do not make fruits.
About judging each-other there is a very nice story about a monk who was a little indulged to food and wine and approaching his death he was not so worried. His brothers ask him why he felt no fear and he answered: “It is true that I wasn`t so attentive fulfilling God`s commandments, but this a know: I never judged somebody. So, I believe that God do not lied to me, when he said: “Do not judge, to not be judged!”
Father Nicolae Dela Rohia (a Jewish man converted in communist a prison to orthodox Christian religion) is telling us about the levels of forgiveness: to forgive somebody who has done a bad think to you; to forgive yourself to being done something wrong; to forgive somebody for you have done something bed to him.
Related to forgiveness, there is a special pray that a hermit who built a monastery in remote Romanian Mountains, used to escape by the secret police members who were searching for him to get him in prison: “Torn back God, to the kindness of the pray, all my enemies!”.
The author said: “We have the words of our Lord contained within the pages of the New Testament” (pg. 24). We want to emphasize this, by adding a commentary of a holly father who warns us: “Every time we read the words of Jesus, He is there watching on us”. And even Jesus said: “Anywhere will be two or three gathered in my name, I will be there”.
In the battle against the evil, the holly fathers show us there are some degrees of sin ascension. First is the bait, the only action that is in the evil`s power. This is the phase in which we must reject with all our will the bad thoughts. If we are weak, the next phase appear, the phase in which we accompany the bad thought. After that, in the next phase we consent to the sin, and, in the last phase we will sin. The sooner we reject the bait, the safer we will be in the fight with the evil.
The author speaks in a minute way about rejection and teaches us how to relate us to this. Orthodox theology teaches the believers to be humble, to renounce at our need to like our self. When you get rid of false fame, you will be no more disturbed by the rejection. Even more, hollies fathers teach us about how to enjoy the unfairness don’t against us. To thanks to God for the sufferance that He gave to us, considering it like a medicine for our soul (but not searching for sufferance…).
But all we can say about this subject was said by Jesus Christ Himself, proclaiming the condition of happiness: “Happy you will be when they will rebuke you, will oppress you and they will say all bad word against you, lying for Me”.
Mister L. D. Ervin is teaching us about searching excuses. God do not Wants from us excuses. He wants from us to recognize sincerely our guilt, to repent from the bottom of our heart and to try to sin no more.
The style of the writing is clear, convincing, accessible to the large public, but it is also well documented and very well illustrated.
You can pick up a copy at the online bookstore: