When I think of the theme of the Nativity Fast — finding light in the darkness — I have to ask myself: What is my darkness?
Pride, of course.
Pride, the root of all evil, has me wrapped around its little finger. My self-assured, know-it-all boldness leads me to destruction every time. It is self-righteous, hard, and tempestuous.* Pride is both the victim and the aggressor, an expert in blame and denial. Pride is always right.
Humility, on the other hand, is the light. It is known as the “mother of all virtues.”
Humility is not to be confused with behaviors of degradation** or remorse. Humble people do not consider themselves to be vile, loathsome*** creatures – it is not self-hate. It is the ability “to see reality as it actually is in God. It means to know oneself and others as known by God – a power, according to Saint Isaac, greater than that of raising the dead!”
Humility is the ability to act with honor and dignity while knowing the truth: “Of all sinners, I am the first.”
Humility is caring about others – particularly the quiet and forgotten – with kindness and compassion. Our ability to associate with the least and the lowly – the poor, sick, elderly, and incarcerated – emphasizes our humility. There, amongst the weak and the oppressed, we find God, for all creation is His imagination.
Pride is both wickedness and darkness. Pride lies at the root of every sin. The Lord began His mission on earth with a call to repentance.
The Greek word for repentance, metanoia, betokens a radical change in our attitude to the whole of life – a transition from our previous philosophy to a converse iconographic perspective – through humility ascent to the All-high, since through pride we fell into the darkness of hell. Thus does our repentance begin, which has no end on earth – the end is perfect likeness to the Christ-God ascended to the Father.
Our divinization lies in perfect God-like humility.
– Elder Sophrony, of blessed memory
Humility changes the narrative. Metanoia leaves behind hurt and pain, radically transforming us. What happened 100 hundred pages ago remains 100 pages ago. The grace of humility allows us to move on, saying, “Thank you. I am grateful for all I have and all that has happened to me. It is enough. I am enough.”
Metanoia is the ability to see the same people and places as if they were new because you now view the world through a new lens.
Make good use of the remaining 26 days of the Nativity Fast. Change your perspective. Challenge yourself to let go and begin anew.
There are no shadows in the light. It is either dark or light. Which do you choose?
1 characterized by strong and turbulent or conflicting emotion: he had a reckless and tempestuous streak.
2 very stormy: a tempestuous wind.
1 causing a loss of self-respect; humiliating.
1 extremely unpleasant: he has a vile temper | vile smells.
2 morally bad; wicked.
1 causing hatred or disgust; repulsive.