COMING HOME – ORTHODOXY
Fools for Christ – Fr. Rick’s Sermons
St George Greek Orthodox Church in St Paul, Minnesota, USA
Someone once said, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt”. Another person said, “The mouth is the grocer’s friend, the dentist’s fortune, the orator’s pride and the fool’s trap”. The dictionary defines a “fool” as: “a silly or stupid person; a person who lacks judgment or sense”. Psalm 14:1 & 53:1 “A fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God'”. Proverbs 12:15 “The way of the fool is right in his own eyes (but he who heeds counsel is wise)”.
So what does St. Paul mean when he says in today’s Epistle Reading from the 10th Sunday of Matthew (1Corinthians 4:9-16), “We are fools for Christ’s sake? (v.10)”. After all he is referring to himself and the rest of the “apostles” (v.9). The same men who were chosen by Jesus to be His closest disciples and were responsible for spreading the Good News of His Resurrection beyond Jerusalem into Europe, Africa and Asia. Are the apostles fools because they were condemned to death (v.9), weak, dishonored (v.10), hungry, thirsty, poorly clothed, beaten, homeless (v.11), reviled, persecuted (v.12), defamed, and filthy (v.13)? A person would have to be a stupid to endure all those indignities, right? Who, in their right mind, would put up with all that? Then, to top all off, St. Paul closes with a plea to the Corinthians, “I urge you, imitate me?” (v.16). Yeah, right!
Did anyone know that there is a class of saints known as “Fools for Christ”? Just like there are prophets, apostles, hierarchs, martyrs, confessors, ascetics and healers, there are approximately 45 saints with a special title “Fool for Christ”. What are the characteristics, qualities and accomplishments of a person who is called a “Fool for Christ”?
The fool-for-Christ set for himself the task of battling within himself the root of all sin, pride. In order to accomplish this he took on an unusual style of life, appearing as someone bereft of his mental faculties, thus bringing upon himself the ridicule of others. In addition he exposed the evil in the world through metaphorical and symbolic words and actions. He took this ascetic endeavor upon himself in order to humble himself and to also more effectively influence others, since most people respond to the usual ordinary sermon with Continue reading “Fools for Christ – Fr. Rick’s Sermons, Minnesota, USA”