Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Spiritual Father

     Spiritual Fatherhood or Motherhood is one of those great mysteries that we find to be an essential aspect of our tradition. However, it's rare to see these essential relationships that reflect our spiritual heritage, especially among lay people. There are many reasons for this but there are those times when God brings people together. I was fortunate at the beginning of my walk with the Lord to meet such a person. It's been two years now since my spiritual father fell asleep in the Lord. Looking back I know I would not be the man of God that I am today if it were not for him.
     As some of you know I came into the Church through the back door. There was no sacramental experience or association with a church of any kind. It was just a desire I had in my heart as a youth that I latter sought out when I became an adult. At that time the only real access that I had to Christianity was a bible in my grandma's house. When I took the leap of faith to accept the teaching of that bible as the word of God I in many ways became a loose cannon. It was then that I encountered the presence of Jesus Christ for the first time and I didn't really know what to do next. For example, I went into my work the day after this experience and told my colleagues that I planned on quitting at the end of the day to travel the world telling others about Christ. Fortunately, my boss told me the bad news that I was going to be laid off that day. So I was later able to get my job back---talk about God's providence.
     It was in this state of loose cannoness that I had met my spiritual father. His son just so happened to be a friend that I had gone to school with and I was over his house trying to see if my friend would let me baptize him in his bathtub. Instead of letting me baptize him my friend told me that I needed to talk to his dad, which I eventually did. When I met him it was as if he knew me and everything he spoke to me uplifted my heart to God. From that point we begin to meet regularly and we both developed a bond for each other. It was out of this bond that he shared his spiritual wealth with me and helped me to develop a sense of mission.
     There is so much I learned from my spiritual father. Among the things I learned is that God will never give up on me. Countless times I felt the weight of sin and when I met with my spiritual father he showed me that God was always pleased with my desire to continue the journey. There were those times of course that I was not always so charitable to him but he would always make them teachable moments. For instance, I remember asking about a flaw that I noticed he had and his response to me was, "God knows my heart's not pure". It was moments like that which showed me a side of God that I failed to see.
     One of things that I regret was a time that we had a falling out. He warned me about a path that I was on but I ignored him and went my own way. What is unfortunate is that we had little time to reconcile before he fell asleep. If I had the chance I would have told him that he was right about many things and I should have heeded his wisdom. However, I know that he hears me now and I believe my failure was necessary to see the way that he did. In fact, I remember him praying for me about my failure in one of our first meetings many years ago. The content of the prayer had nothing to do with what was going on at the time and I had asked him the meaning of the prayer. He explained that the prayer had to do with events that had yet to come, which when they took place I had recalled the prayer. It seems that God gave him a gift to foresee a time in which I would need his fatherly mediation.
     Having a spiritual Father or Mother is a an essential gift from God. In fact, many of the saints that I have venerated have all had spiritual Fathers or Mothers. We need to be open to the opportunity of receiving this gift in our lives no matter what vocation they have received. It might not be a priest. It might not be the monk. It might be that old guy in the back of the parish who faithfully prays with his chotki before each liturgy. Be on the lookout for this blessing and keep asking God that you would be worthy of this great gift.

Christ our eternal King and God, You have destroyed death and the devil by Your Cross and have restored man to life by Your Resurrection; give rest, Lord, to the soul of Your servant Brian Robinson who has fallen asleep, in Your Kingdom, where there is no pain, sorrow or suffering. In Your goodness and love for all men, pardon all the sins he has committed in thought word or deed, for there is no man or woman who lives and sins not, You only are without sin.
For You are the Resurrection, the Life, and Repose of Your servant Brian Robinson, departed this life, O Christ our God; and to You do we send up glory with Your Eternal Father and Your All-holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit; both now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen


  1. One of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard was "listen to the man who listens to God." This quote has come back to me over and over again through the years and has saved me from making some bad decisions. Particularly in this day and age when there are so many 'voices' competing for our attention, it is good to seek out the counsel of holy people. And like you said, sometimes it's the old person praying at the back of the church who has the wisest advice.

  2. thanks you for this post!

  3. Yes this is a lovely post and so true. I was lucky enough to have a Spiritual Mother for 21 years, and learnt so much.