Love is greater than prayer

An audio snippet appeared on a website which has an unfavorable reputation within our Church and one I will not link to. The point of posting this on there, as everything on there is, was to show the flaws of a certain hierarch. Oftentimes however I think the point of the story is missed and too much focus is put on the letter of the law.

The following is a translated transcript of that audio snippet, taken from a talk given by Bishop Grigorije:

“…I’ll tell you a little story…. but now people can abuse everything. We were with Bishop Atanasije on Palm Sunday in Konjice (in Bosnia and Hercegovina) in 1996. The first time after the war. In Konjica they killed our Serbian people, God forbid. There were 6,000, now there are 450 souls. Some 2,000 were in the concentration camps. And there was a fratar [Catholic monk] there. Now I forget his name. Ivan, I think, Ivo. And he helped the remaining Serbs greatly, he gave them food… And they tell us to go see him. For them it was Easter, on our Palm Sunday. And he gives us each an Easter egg, […] he doesn’t know that we fast [from dairy]. And he takes an egg with us and I see Bishop Atanasije peels his egg and eat it. This was Great Lent. [….] I saw this, I kept quiet, I thought maybe the guy forgot… He didn’t forget but he wanted to thank the man for his concern, love, suffering […] and this is much greater than the fast. You know that the holy fathers say that when you are praying and your brother comes, what should you do? To say, excuse me but I’m praying now? No, to leave your prayer. For love is greater than prayer. And from fasting. Now of course this doesn’t mean that out of our love we should never fast. It can’t become an excuse. But there is also that, you know that fasts are a requirement for communion. There was a woman, from the village, who fasted seven days and on Theodore Saturday they’re all in line waiting for communion, pushing, and the one lady says to the other You just wait until I take communion. …. Somehow we’ve mixed things up….”

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3 thoughts on “Love is greater than prayer

  1. Love and receiving Holy Communion should resonate from a person’s conscience as it relates to God. Love can transcend fasting (but not usually) — especially when the person fasting does not want to hurt the feelings of another person.

    Flexibility that is truly justified, then, is an important factor. In other words, one cannot generalize with respect to love, fasting, and prayer, but rather, each situation must be determined on a case-by-case basis.

  2. Ваистину Васкрсе!

    First off I have a hard time believing anyone would go anywhere on Good Friday. But in the event they do, by all means eat steak since Good Friday clearly has no significance for the person anyway.

    Secondly, fasting at someone’s Slava is definitely a form of witness, while fasting in the presence of a heterodox might not be the same thing. It all depends on the situation. In the above cited case (and anyone can interpret it in their own way) I believe it was a sign of love. (Notice that Bp. Grigorije doesn’t mention that after seeing Bp. Atanasije eat his egg he ate his too.)

  3. Христос Воскресе!

    Fr. Bless! Nice story. Is Konjice the same as Konjic? That’s where Mladen is from! While I’ve never heard of a single example of a Fratar there helping a Serb out, I would like to think that such things did happen. This is a tricky subject, with the fasting. I have heard both sides of the argument. From personal experience, I have been advised that we politely turn мрсно things down when fasting, because in doing so, that is our witness. However, I have been in situations, on славе and such, wherever I have tried to go unnoticed in the corner and eat salad. When the people find out, they feel so bad that I am fasting and they have not prepared посно food. It’s quite uncomfortable. The other extreme, I have read things from other priests who say, “if you go to your friends house on Holy Friday, and they serve you steak, you keep your mouth shut and eat the steak”. I have a hard time with this. If only there existed a happy medium…

    In Christ,
    T

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