Spiritual words

We Need to Have the Courage to Be Ourselves

    • Photo: Bogdan Zamfirescu

      Photo: Bogdan Zamfirescu

Nun, I love colours and I love beautiful and elegant clothes, but I feel embarrassed when I see around me, in the church, women with old clothes, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable to be like them. What should I do?

We need to have the courage to be ourselves… Sometimes we lack this courage, even if we are fair before God and our conscience. Some lack the courage to be surrounded by people, because they are not like the others. These are obsessions: be as the others, not being excluded, not being different… Some, however, more rebel, want to be special: for instance wear a green crest, just to fulfil their need of being somebody else, someone different.

We need courage to be ourselves, if we do not harm the others through our personality. You need to find the courage to be yourself, to look in the mirror and be as you are. Be careful not to fall in the sin of pride or vainglory. Here you need to ask advice from your spiritual father, and if he says that the way you dress is not harmful for the others then you should have the courage to be different.

Have the courage to express yourself as a person through clothes. Clothes are important for man after his fall from Heaven. Though this fall we have lost our personal bodily expressivity and we are left only with our hands and face. No one can tell one man apart from the other judging by their scapula. This is why we cover it. But the cover we choose is an expression of our personality.

Do not judge anyone. If the majority wears black, praised be the Lord, for there are plenty of reasons for which we should grieve. Maybe they want to cover a beauty that may trouble the others around.

Everyone has their reasons to do this. We, the monks, wear black because this is how the brides of Christ dress, in black. But if you are elegant and nicely dressed, praise the Lord. Of course that there could be someone to envy you, but that is the sin of the person who envies. But only if you pray you will be in peace with yourself and will have the approval of your spiritual father, who is the eye of God. Yes, God is watching through the eyes of the others, but the true teaching will come from our spiritual father – if we see him as a father, who has the last word.

A modest scarf may be useful for you from once in a while, but this can only be known by your spiritual father. But otherwise I think that as elegant as you are, if you put on your head an ugly scarf or a handkerchief, thinking that you will be more obedient, the only result will be that people will laugh at you…

Thus, merge your courage with the obedience to your spiritual father and everything will be alright.

(Translation from: Monahia Siluana Vlad, Deschide cerul cu lucrul mărunt, Editura Doxologia, 2013, p. 40)