Reflections with Morning Coffee with Sister Vassa by Vassa Larin
This book of daily devotions is intended as an aid to anyone interested in making contemplation or meditation a part of daily life. Each reflection, based on a passage from Scripture and, occasionally, on the liturgical calendar of Byzantine-Rite Christianity, is brief, so that it can fit into a busy schedule. The reflections are meant to be read only one per day, perhaps with one's morning-coffee, on the train-ride to work, or whenever one has five minutes. The brief daily reflection is also meant to be combined with some daily prayer and a bit of daily self-examination. That's the way these reflections were written, - just one a day, throughout the course of a very busy year in Vienna, Austria.
The Scriptural passages used here are based on the New Revised Standard Version, sometimes modified by the author according to her reading of the Greek text. The Old-Testament passages are translated based on the Septuagint.
Here's a sample of what you can expect:
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." (Mt 5:7)
The word "mercy" is so often mentioned in Byzantine church-services, particularly in the brief prayer, "Lord, have mercy" (Kyrie eleison). The Greek word for "mercy" (eleos) means much more than some external "withholding of punishment" (which is what we usually understand it to mean in English). It is a divine energy; that is to say, its source is God-so we constantly ask Him for it. In our terms it is an internal disposition; an overflowing of the heart with compassionate, self-giving love. So, when I ask God for "mercy," I am asking not only to receive it, but to carry it on; to be a vessel of His "mercy" in this world.
I often don't notice the small opportunities I have, on a daily basis, to "have mercy" or "show mercy." There may be a person or people dependent on me in some way, looking to me, in some small way, for compassion or at least recognition. Today I can take my demands and expectations of them a notch down; it might make their day to hear an encouraging word from me, rather than criticism.
And I myself fall into this category, of people in need of my "mercy" I can be gentler with myself today, letting go of unreasonable demands and expectations, and remembering to take care of myself, with God's nourishing word, and in the Spirit of His divine "mercy.""
Copyright Sister Vassa Larin 2016