Anthony Bloom on Weakness & Humility

I’ve started reading Beginning to Pray by Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh and I’m really enjoying what he has to say. Most Protestant books on prayer that I’ve read seem too mechanistic as if what we do or say will somehow invoke God’s presence or response. Not so with this book. So far, this book is about plowing the soil of our own hearts, learning to become true pray-ers. Two quotes stand out, one about weakness and the other about humility.

Here’s the one on weakness:

“Weakness is not the kind of weakness which we show by sinning and forgetting God, but the kind of weakness which means being completely supple, completely transparent, completely abandoned in the hands of God… You could think of that [weakness] also in terms of a sail. A sail can catch the wind and be used to maneuver a boat only because it is so frail. If instead of a sail you put a solid board, it would not work; it is the weakness of the sail that makes it sensitive to the wind.”

And here’s the one on humility:

“The word ‘humility’ comes from the Latin word ‘humus’ which means fertile ground… Humility is the situation of the earth. The earth is always there, always taken for granted, never remembered, always trodden on by everyone, somewhere we cast and pour out all the refuse, all we don’t need. It’s there, silent and accepting everything and in a miraculous way making out of all the refuse new richness in spite of corruption, transforming corruption itself into a power of life and a new possibility of creativeness, open to the sunshine, open to the rain, ready to receive any seed we sow and capable of bringing thirtyfold, sixtyfold, a hundredfold out of every seed.”

There used to be a saying about prayer, “Prayer changes things.” Nowadays, I’m hoping prayer changes me as well. I hope I learn to embrace the proper weakness in which God’s power is manifested by making me humble.

Lord, may my life become like the dirt and soil of the earth; an ordinary, unobtrusive place where the pain and poison of this broken world silently fall, are absorbed, and miraculously transformed into new life.

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