Advent December 5th: Saint Justinian’s Day
not all our labors are appreciated
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus came into the world, and “the world did not know him.” God incarnate came to earth to heal, to save, and to bring deliverance, but in the process of doing so would be rejected. He was not recognized, and even beyond that He would be unappreciated, and then betrayed. Not all of our labors are going to be received and appreciated. The level of acceptance we experience is in no way a gauge of the truth values or power of our labors. Some of history’s most valuable leaders have been rejected in their own generation, only to be venerated after they die – perhaps, even after they are killed. Sometimes, people who are the most dishonest, the most deceived, or have the least integrity are celebrated and become successful during their lives. The capitalistic gauge of success: numbers, finances, and influence over masses cannot always be accurate gauges of our true spirituality. Many people will express these same thoughts, but seem to betray their own sensibilities when they begin to ask why you do the things you do. They will ask for a list of your accomplishments as evidence that you are doing good. Do not let people gauge your spirituality solely by these capitalistic standards of success.
December 5th is Saint Justinian’s Day. The 5th Century Welsh hermit Saint Justinian was confessor to David, the patron Saint of Wales, and Abbot at Saint David’s Cathedral. It is said, that he was disillusioned by the lack of devotion at the monastery at Saint David’s, and took up residence at the nearby, but remote Ramsey Island. Some of the more loyal monks followed him, and supposedly he was beheaded by a few of the monks fed up with his strict regime. Legend says, he picked up his own head, and walked across the water to where his body is supposedly buried in a small ruined chapel.
Prayer: Lord, I am thankful for Your labors among us, and I am sorry of the times I have forgotten to appreciate all You have done. I am also sorry for my grumbling tendencies, when I feel as though I have not received the appreciation due to me for my own work. Help me to be a simple servant, thankful for Your labors, and willing to follow in Your footsteps. Your crucifixion, and saints of the past show me the patient path of well doing. Help me to work, whether or not I experience the temporal gratification of acceptance and appreciation during my lifetime.