And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, they were about two thousand; and were choked in the sea.
The Miracle of the Gadarene Swine
And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.
And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. This story is many-faceted; one can approach it from many sides. And suddenly here, as in a whole series of other occurrences, He forgets about everything, it seems, because in front of Him is a specific need, one specific suffering person: this is enough for Him to turn all His divine and human attention to that person.
This is a remarkable trait in Christ; this is a remarkable trait in God.
We often think that there are great and worthwhile things, and things that are small and hardly worth our attention. But it is not so with God. There is no suffering, no pain, no need, no joy that God cannot relate to completely, with all His Being, and sometimes introduce a new element into a hopeless situation — open, as it were, a door, which makes a way out of this situation where there was no way out before. And here Christ, God of the universe, as if forgetting everything in the world, focuses all His attention on this man, because this man is suffering, because he needs help, because he is in grief.
It is worth thinking about this, because we do not behave thus with people in need. When poverty encompasses hundreds or thousands of people, we suddenly wake up and begin to act, but when there is one lone person before us suffering, while round about us are the cares of life, our own needs—everything that makes up our private and public life—we pass by. Well yes, he is suffering, but that is a small, private matter—can we possibly compare it with world history or with world events?
And we forget that each person is infinitely precious, that no one quite like him exists or will ever exist, that he is unique in all the universe and unto all ages. And we need to pay attention to him at any moment, exclusively, even when circumstances and life call us to something else, to what seems to us to be broader and deeper. At one time I was a doctor, a surgeon in the war, and it was terribly difficult for me when I saw how the war was swallowing everything up, how frightfully the war was advancing—and yet my sole care had to be the man who lay before me on the operating table.
There was nothing else in the whole world—even if they opened fire on the hospital or medical post where we happened to be, it was not my concern. Only one man existed: that man—there was no other. And it seems to me that here Christ gives us an example, because if we were that attentive to and observant of all the people around us, then life would be altogether different. We would not sacrifice everything for the sake of some cause; we would not even sacrifice the cause, because with the right approach to the matter at hand, possibilities would open up that otherwise would not have existed.
A certain priest comes to mind… He came to me and said that his wife had asked him to speak with me. Their life had become dismal ever since his activity as a priest had expanded: he was occupied only with other people, while he hardly saw his wife and children.
I could go to hell for this! But his pastoral work has been totally transformed. Your family life is a shining example in our parish. Is it not an example, is it not a parable in action and in real life? Fresco at the Orthodox monastery on Mt. A demoniac is a person who is possessed, who does not have control over himself, who is as it were a laughingstock and plaything of other powers.
These other powers—I am deeply convinced of this, as the Holy Scriptures and the life and teaching of the Holy Fathers of the Church teach us—can be actually demonic, but do not always act on such a scale and with such vividness as they are portrayed here. It can be chertovschina, in our Russian sense of the word.
It can be a person incapable of refraining from anger; it can be a person who is uncontrollably drawn to theft; it can be a person who burns with hatred, envy, jealousy or whatever it may be. Take a good look at your own soul, as in a mirror, and you will see how many passions there are in it—maybe small, maybe not so tragic as outright demon possession—how many such passions there are in each of us, which do not let us have the freedom to be fully worthy of ourselves. Oh, yes, I would do it with such eagerness…!
But these demons remain demons. Leave us, go away! And what lies in us? How many little devils, how many lesser demons possess us: envy, and jealousy, and lasciviousness, and cowardice, and falsehood, and greed, and avarice, and hatred, and malice, and refusing to forgive when someone offends us, and so on and so on.
One may say that a legion lies in us, as well. The Healing of the Gadarene Demoniac. He met him face to face. He did not run away from Calvary. He met death face to face. Of course, he was afraid! Read the account of his agonizing prayers in Gethsemane! But courageous people are not those who have not experienced fear, but rather those who know it intimately and who do not let it rule them.
We are invited to meet our fears head-on with faith and hope in God who will never forsake us. If we do, we will discover that the monster we so feared is not so fearful after all. A Tibetan Lama and his disciples once came upon a ferocious dog chained in the yard of a villager. The dog snarled and barked to beat the band and then broke free of his chains, like the demoniac, and rushed at them. All began to run in fear, except the lama who gathered up his robes and rushed straight at the dog looking him straight in the eye.
Vegan Restaurant the Gadarene Swine Is Calling it Quits
The dog stopped in his tracks, turned and ran away in fear. Antony was like the Gadarene demoniac with an important difference. Antony went, like the demoniac, to live in the tombs, but he did so not because he was driven there by fear, but in order to meet his fears and overcome them. I think all the stories about his battling demons in the guise of animals and other things are mostly symbolic of the battles he fought with his own fears than with supernatural creatures. But whatever the case, Antony did not win his struggles by running away from the tombs, he won it by staying put, by prayer and meditation, by fasting, in other words by facing all that he had to face with courage and with faith in God who promised to be always near.
We all have problems we need to face, fears that need to be admitted, sins that need reconciling and this cannot be done by hiding from them or pretending that they do not exist. Instead of running away we need to stop and look deeply at what it is that troubles us.
We need to let go, to relax, to welcome the opportunity to face these things when they arise. I often tell the children at Antiochian Village before they come to confession, often for the very first time, that all God asks of us is to be as honest as we can be about who we really are. I think the Church, as you have heard me say before, is the place where we should be able to be completely honest without fear of judgment, or consequence. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Source: St. Mary Orthodox Church. The Gadarene Demoniac. Archpriest Antony Hughes. More and more people visit Orthodoxy and the World website.
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Image of a True Disciple: The Gadarene Demoniac
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Myth: Christianity, which recognizes only one God, engenders intolerance, conflicts and fanaticism,…. Yet another Texas town has outlawed abortion in its entirety, becoming a…. A homily of the abbot of the Great and Holy Monastery of…. Developed by Hamburg Church Studio. Design by —. Fasting Feasts. The Gadarene Demoniac Our national discourse seems to have revolved almost entirely around fear.
Archpriest Antony Hughes 12 November Luke Then they sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee. Glory to Jesus Christ! But today I want us to look at a detail of the story that is near to all of us. That is fear. The Lord invites us to leave our fears behind and come to him as we are.
The Gadarene Swine
Do you see a mistake in the text? The Gadarene Demoniac Archpriest Antony Hughes Our national discourse seems to have revolved almost entirely around fear. Since you are here…. But What Does the Bible Say?