Virtue of the Week: Innocence

posted Nov 5, 2012, 8:11 AM by rthompson@stjohnsacademysf.org   [ updated Nov 5, 2012, 9:52 AM by swinslow@stjohnsacademysf.org ]
Virtue of the Week: Innocence

Like humility, the power of innocence - our virtue of the week - can not really be known until the moment we realize that we have lost it and desire that it be restored to us. The scriptures and the liturgy of the Orthodox Church often speak of this innocence as "virginity" which can include, though is not limited to, sexual purity at the most primal level of awareness, but which ultimately includes and transcends the flesh altogether so that innocence, in its most refined state, encompasses any and all aspects of life that renounce the desire to do harm, as well as those habitual patterns of inner defense - all of our programs for emotional satisfaction - by which we seek to avoid or diminish the harm that has been done or may be done to us. In general, any virtue is a spiritual force - a power wielded by the soul for the purpose of performing acts of righteousness.  Paradoxically, then, humility and innocence are characterized as the power of powerlessness, the force of energetic passivity, the thrust of luminous detachment from the passions which is the engine of creative non-violence.

No matter how perversely or judgmentally we may look upon the people with whom we live and work every day, each and every one of them can be seen from the perspective of innocence.  Try this exercise that next time that you are upset, annoyed, disgusted or otherwise repelled by another person. Imagine that person as they were when they were an infant - a sweet, innocent baby needing care and protection.  Without exception, we all had this innocence at one time. Project that innate innocence with which we all began this life before all the hurt, the pain, the damage and the harm of the world was inflicted on our bodies and souls, damaging the filaments of faith that connect us to the Spirit.  See others as pure and innocent and thereby begin to heal those aspects of the soul which have lost innocence. This is the innocence of "virginity" or spiritual purity which, no matter whom we have hurt or been hurt by, can always be restored to us through the work of repentance by the Grace of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, through the prayers of his own perfectly innocent, ever-virgin Mother, Mary the Theotokos, whose feast day we celebrate on Tuesday.


Comments