Some Thoughts: The Meeting of the Lord, Fidelity and Friendship.

 What is this Feast about?

She has brought Him to the Priest and righteous Elder
whose appointed lot it was to see Christ the Lord.
Simeon, receiving Him in his arms, rejoiced greatly and cried aloud:
“This is God Who is co-eternal with the Father!
He is the Redeemer of our souls!”

(From the Aposticha, The Meeting of the Lord Vespers)

According to the scriptures, on the fortieth day after the birth, the Virgin Mary brought the Lord to the Temple in Jerusalem. At the same time, the righteous elder Simeon was living in Jerusalem. It was revealed to him that he would not die until he sees Christ with his own two eyes and his heart accepts the truth that the Savor of the world will be born from a virgin. According to the Holy Tradition, Simeon was one of the translators and writers of the Septuagint, which is a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into the Greek Language. While translating the book of Isaiah, Simeon came across the words “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel”. He wanted to change the word “virgin” to “young woman” but was stopped by the appearance of an angel, who proceeded to tell him that he would not die until he sees the prophecy come true.

Also, at the temple was an 84-year-old widow by the name of Anna the Prophetess, who gave thanks and glorified God, when she saw that Christ was brought to the temple.

Faithful to God

The Meeting of Our Lord is a feast of hopes, and promises that have come true. The Feast of encounters. It is not just the feast of the meeting between elder Simeon and the Godchild, not only a crossroad between the Old and New Testament but a feast day when each person meets God. It is that precious moment when a person has found God, has found the true faith that we can call a true encounter or meeting.
Saint Silouan the Athonite saw Christ but after that had to live for quite some time, experiencing a certain abandonment. However, during this time he continued to be faithful to God and to the meeting that he had. This is the period of his life when he said the following words “Keep Thy Mind in Hell and Despair Not.”

Why does the encounter happen?

Most likely because somewhere deep inside, subconsciously, every person is looking for the truth. The person is looking for something bigger then himself and can not compare to anything human. One must also seek the uncontainable because only when a person attempts to grasp the uncontainable, can he finally begin to feel the fullness of life.

We constantly feel and go through various spiritual periods where our moods and desires constantly shift. Perhaps this is the moment where our faith to God is truly tested.

Many people have said that after their first encounter with God, they go through a period that is less bright and life seems to be sad and unpleasant. Everything becomes a burden including going to church, trying to pray, the sins begin to weigh you down, altogether everything appears gloomy and hopeless. It is at these moments we must reach out to God, to the Holy Scriptures, Traditions and to the Church, which is the body of Christ. In other words, we must remain faithful and we must keep our faith. Moreover, the Lord will not abandon those who are faithful to him. After someone dies, you ask yourself if the same encounter will occur for that person after the body dies. I think by keeping the faith in Christ we can attest that the encounter will occur. We must remember His words “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me”.

Our entire life – Is an Encounter.

If we look at our entire life, it becomes clear that it consists of encounters. It is not just a meeting of man and God, as stated above but the “meetings” that happen every day, and if we look closely and patiently then we will never miss it.

An excerpt from the story Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery comes to mind – what does it mean to tame?

“I am looking for friends. What does that mean -- tame?"

"It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. "It means to establish ties." 

"To establish ties?" 

"Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world....” 

From this story, “tame” could also mean to meet, encounter. Meet someone and accept him or her for who they are. Become a part of one’s life, one’s soul, even if for a mere second. To meet on such a depth where words are no longer necessary, when a person does not need to resist the truth or pretend to be something he is not. We should never forget how beautiful people could be. And if during our “meeting” we begin to forget about ourselves, we can direct more attention to other people and hopefully do so with an open heart. This can allow us to be engulfed by another’s world which in turn can lead to opening up to compassion and understanding others. It is important to truly understand a person instead of careless nodding and paying attention to everything but the other person.

But in the end we still choose the people who we want to be friends with?

How come we can not be friends with everyone?

Could be because the souls are not moving in the same direction and the feelings of inner closeness are much stronger than the conclusions of the mind. As scientific and intellectually advanced our age may be, we still live and follow our heart. And you can not commend the heart, you can not lie to the heart. A real friend -  is a gift from God. He accepts you for who you are. A true friend will be honest and true, even is not the most “attractive”. You are more valuable to a real friend than someone who attempts to make sure you like them. Sometimes a person can leave a friend. They go on to new experiences, new friends and a new life. Then suddenly you reconnect, meet again, and a certain spark and moment returns and through your heart you begin to understand how much you value that person. It is as if you find a toy you have long forgotten about and suddenly all the warm memories and comfort returns.
Real friendship is a prefiguration of God’s love towards us. The Love that can withstand anything, the Love that believes everything, the Love that never ends. Love without which nothing real can ever be.

Sister Daria