Unbelief is the air we breathe

by abbamoses

This post is a bit more personal and confessional than usual, but maybe it will be useful to some.

A few nights ago, one of my teeth started to hurt, and by bedtime it was very painful and sensitive; pushing down on it caused intense pain. I thought to myself, “most likely an abscess, which means a few days of pain, a trip to the dentist, and probably a root canal.” As we were going to bed, I mentioned it to my wife, who suggested I take some holy water. I did, and while at the icon table I also took a little oil blessed at the shrine of St John Maximovitch and rubbed it on the tooth, asking St John to intercede for my health and salvation.

The next morning I woke up to find that the pain was completely gone; the tooth hasn’t bothered me again. It seems clear to me (now) that this was a small miracle of healing through the prayers of Vladika John. Glory be to God!

What strikes me in retrospect, though, is that my very first thought, when I found that I was healed, was not thanks to God, but a purely rational, unbelieving response: “I guess I must have just banged that tooth.” (without noticing?). Unbelief was the automatic, ‘default’ response, which I needed to correct on second thought. I reflected that in our day, unbelief is a kind of toxic cloud that we live in and breathe every moment of our lives; a response of thanksgiving and praise that would once have been the most obvious and natural one has for many of us come to require a little internal struggle. Lord, have mercy!

Through the prayers of our Holy Father John, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us!

The icon of St John Maximovitch is from Uncut Mountain Supply.