Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Message of Good Tidings

I think blessings are grace filled and later I will have to blog
about the widow on the bus in NYC who blessed me with
"all your heart desires"...  the four words that changed my life.

When I was ten years old our parish women's organization, the Hellenic Mother's Club, gifted each fourth grader with a Bible of their own.  I loved that it wasn't a kid's Bible.  I loved that the priest signed it.  I loved that it was my very own. 
Although I didn't read the Bible all the time, I did read it.   I found it to be very comforting and challenging.  I would read it as if Jesus were talking directly to me.   I was the one in danger of being a goat and not a sheep (Mtt 25:31-46.)  I was one of the workers who were few in a harvest that was plentiful. (Mtt 9:37.)  And I was the branch who feared pruning (John 15:2.)  Since then I've acquired several other publications and translations of the Bible and have filled their margins with notes and deep thoughts but my first Bible has always been dear to me.
Last night, I opened my fourth grade Bible and read the inscription again.

"May the reading of this
Holy Bible open the eyes
of your mind to always
perceive the message of
good tidings." 
Father Constantine N Mitsos

To be honest I didn't understand this message when I was ten nor last night, at first.  I actually was surprised he didn't write some thing like " your heart..." or " your life..."  But because I knew Fr. Mitsos to be a wise and prayerful man, I thought about it a bit more.

What did he mean by "eyes of your mind"?

What did he mean by "always perceive"?

What did he mean by "message of good tidings"?

Maybe he didn't mean for this blessing to be analyzed so deeply.  :)

He was very good at asking us questions that really made us think things through.  He wanted us to take ownership of our beliefs.  I really appreciated that as a kid.  And since he opened our minds to inquire, this is what I came up with. 
 I think he was tying to prepare us for a complicated world- a world where things don't always make sense on the surface - a world where there aren't happy endings outside of the knowledge of Christ and His Saving Grace.  I think he wanted us to be careful not to misquote the Bible, to use it in a way that would hurt people or manipulate a situation with fear.  I think he wanted us to be able to control our thoughts and not let our imagination get the better of us, especially if/when we feel hopeless or we despair.  And I think he wanted us to know that our faith isn't only an emotional reality but one that our whole being (mind, body and soul) participates in. 

Thank you Fr. Mitsos for all that you have taught us and for your blessing so many years ago.  May you find rest among the saints where there is no pain, no sorrow nor suffering, but life everlasting.


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