Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: Saint Herman of Alaska

“From this day, from this hour, from this minute, let us strive to love God above all, and fulfill His holy will.”

“The true Christian is a warrior fighting his way through the regiments of the unseen enemy to his heavenly homeland” (Saint Herman of Alaska).

Back in the day, I read a book called The Dynamics of the Spiritual Life by Richard Lovelace. Also back in the day, after I finished reading it, I loaned it to someone and never got it back, so I don’t have the book to refer to. I remember being vividly impressed with a chapter, might even have been chapter 7, about the enculturation of Christianity. He wrote that it can be protective or destructive. This was a brand new idea for me, that the enculturation of Christianity could be destructive.
I was also reminded of my embrace, somewhat further back in the day, of the counter-culture. Not so much the sex and drugs part, but the part that held a mirror up to my society and didn’t like the reflection. We need to do that to the Church and to our own Christian lives.
St. Herman invites us “let us strive to love God above all, and fulfill His holy will.” It really doesn’t get more counter-cultural than this. We must each of us challenge our comfort zones, cease to live an easy Christian life, but embrace the actual Gospel which requires us to love our neighbor, and be involved in the messiness that creates privilege and stand against it.

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