He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. (St. Luke 1:52-54)All too often, I find myself embattled and in total disaster mode this time of year; it is the perfect storm, really. The weather is nice; the post-Paschal laxity is refreshing; annual depression from sad events some years past revisits. And to top it off, this year, I am dealing with the extremely trying and wrenching illness of a loved one. After the deaths of so many family and friends last year (19 at final count in 2009), it is particularly difficult.
So on top of all of that, I decided to fall off the wagon. The longer I am Orthodox, the more I realize that even though the cure is there waiting, it sure doesn't work unless you take it. Does that make me a Pelagian? Some of my fundagelical friends and family think so (although not too many of them would say "Pelagian"). Regardless, I think it's a fundamental truth: you can believe all you want, but unless you suck it up and do as you ought, all the belief in the world won't save you.
Ah-ha, I hear you say, but didn't the Lord say that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed we could move mountains? Indeed He did; but Faith is more than just belief--it is belief perfected by right-actions, by living in conformity with what you profess. As it turns out, that is so very difficult that I see how, by comparison, moving mountains would be a simple enterprise.
Like the father of the demoniac child, I say "I do believe, Lord: help my unbelief" and hope that He will answer the weakest of prayers--because as it turns out, they are the most necessary ones after all. Especially if one does not wish to be sent empty away.