“Philotimo is the reverent distillation of goodness, the love shown by humble people, from which every trace of self has been filtered out.
Saint Sophia Cathedral
Online Resources for our Religious Edification
TOPIC OF THE WEEK:
Unfortunately, in our day, words and books have multiplied and experiences have diminished, because the worldly spirit, which pursues all conveniences and avoids all bodily effort, influences people. Most of us find rest in much reading but little or no implementation. We simply marvel at the holy athletes of our Church without realizing how much they’ve labored, for we have not toiled so as to be able to understand their toil, to love them and to struggle out of philotimo in order to imitate them….”
Read this story narrated by the mother of a nun concerning her own family; A Wonderful Family.
If we are suffering from lack, is it our tendency to share with others or to try to gather the little we have for ourselves? What was so extraordinary about this piece of chocolate in the time of German occupation when this family had little food but many tragedies, unfulfilled needs and hardships? What would have happened to this piece of chocolate in our families?
In this time of global hardship and need, like the narrator exhorts us: “Let us wonder at [this family], but let us also imitate them.” What ways can you and your family come up with each day to imitate this family in their ‘ethos, love and self-denial’?
When dividing up money, material objects or even food, often people fight over who gets the biggest share for themselves. The mother overheard her sons arguing and regretted that they did not have their uncle stand in as mediator. Then she came into the room and found out what the problem was. What were they arguing over? What had she expected they were arguing over? How did the children get to be this way? How might we use this example in our own lives when we are faced with sharing either blessings or trials?
“…It’s hard to translate or even describe in one word what philotimo means. It’s a Greek word without a proper definition. The word comes from the Greek words “filos” meaning friend and “timi” meaning honor. The meaning of philotimo extends far beyond the words friend and honor. It encompasses the concepts of pride in self, pride in family, pride in community, and doing the right thing. It’s a behavior and you really have to experience it to understand it. Philotimo gives a meaning to life itself that stretches beyond ourselves. It’s an awareness in our hearts that motivates the good deeds that a person does. Nowadays people rarely do things for others without expecting something of equal or greater value in return…”
While this story shows how some travelers met current day people with philotimo, read also at the end about how the Bishop and Mayor of Zakynthos in World War II acted with philotimo and risked their own lives in order to save the lives of the town’s 275 Jewish people who otherwise would have been killed by the soldiers.
They could have turned the list of names in with no threat to their own well being. Why did they choose to submit a list with only their 2 names on it when they weren’t even Jewish? Have there been times in your life when you were faced with a choice of doing the easy thing as opposed to the right thing? What might compel you to make your decision? What things should you consider?
A Message from Maria Spanos
I am passionate about our Orthodox Christian faith and seek to help others learn as much as they can about it. My purpose here is to share online resources that help strengthen our relationship with Christ and bind us closer to His Church. I believe they are invaluable in learning about our precious Orthodox Tradition, and are a great aid for teaching family members, friends and others about Orthodoxy. ~Maria
Two of my favorite quotes:
“A true Christian behaves in this life so that it may be a preparation for the future one and not only a life here below. In his actions, he does not think what will be said of him here but of what will be said there in heaven; he represents to himself that he is always in the presence of God, of the angels and all the saints, and remembers that someday they will bear witness of his thoughts, words, and deeds.” — Saint John of Kronstadt
“Of all the holy works, the education of children is the most holy.”
— St. Theophan the Recluse