“Help Other People By Thinking Good About Them”
Sounds easy enough.
Yet is it?
Elder Thaddeus reminds us how much the world can effect those efforts of trying to
think “good”….turning those best efforts upside down as the world works
to cloud all thoughts of goodness, kindness, benevolence and graciousness.
Just turn on the news as any and all thoughts of anything good quickly dissipate.
“A person who is entrapped in the vicious cycle of chaotic thoughts,
in the atmosphere of hades, or has only so much as touched it, feels the torments of hell.
For example, we read the newspapers or take a walk in the streets,
and afterwards we suddenly feel that something is not quite right in our souls;
we feel an atmosphere; we feel sadness.
That is because by reading all sorts of things, our mind becomes distracted and the
atmosphere of hades has free access to our minds.”
Thaddeus (born Tomislav Štrbulović) of Vitovnica, was both a Serbian and Orthodox monk.
Born in 1914 to humble working class parents, Tomislav was a sickly child who was not
expected to live much past the age of 15.
It was shortly after doctors made their grim prognosis of his supposed short earthly life,
that Tomislav entered an Orthodox monastery.
In 1935 Tomislav made his final vows and became known as Fr Thaddeus.
Thaddeus served dutifully the spiritual needs of the Serbian faithful as heirmonk,
or what is known as both priest and monk during the 1930’s and 40’s.
As a priest Thaddeus would conduct services, administer communion, hear confessions, etc.
As a monk, he would be more prone to the life of a hermit, a life of solitude and prayer
within a monastery.
During WWII the Serbs suffered grievously at the hands of both the Nazi regime as well as
the Ustaše, otherwise known as the Croatian Revolutionary Regime—
a fascist National Terrorist organization which became a puppet state of Nazi Germany
The Ustaše was responsible for the heinous barbaric treatment and the mass murders of
hundreds of thousands of Jews, ethnic Serbs, Romas and all those living in Yugoslavia
who were not considered “ethically pure.”
It is estimated that upwards of 500,000 Serbs and Croats living within the borders of
Yugoslavia, those in Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia, were systematically murdered in what
became known as the Serbian Genocide.
With the infamous Jasenovac Concentration Camp being known as the Auschwitz of the Balkans.
Fr Thaddeus was arrested and imprisoned by the Gestapo for refusing to stop
practicing his faith and for refusing to cease administering his office of priest.
Following the war and his eventual release,
Fr Thaddeus became the hegumen, or acting abbot, of St. Michael’s Cathedral in Belgrade.
He served at the church and several monasteries in and around Belgrade until his death in 2003.
He is both revered and respected by Serbs, Croats and Bosnians alike and many
Muslims who converted to Christianity hold Elder Thaddeus in special high esteem.
Elder Thaddeus is “credited for proposing the idea that our thoughts determine the
outcome of our lives.”
I am always amazed by the wisdom of those who have suffered so grievously at the
hands of monsters…
those who have witnessed unspeakable horrors and yet have found the resolve and
eventually the peace to not only forgive and pardon those offenders,
but who actually go forward, teaching and reminding the rest of us what it is
that we must do in order to save not only ourselves but our sick and ailing world….
Elder Thaddeus is one such individual…
“We can keep guard over the whole world by keeping guard over the
atmosphere of heaven within us,
for if we lose the Kingdom of Heaven, we will save neither ourselves nor others.
He who has the Kingdom of God in himself will imperceptibly pass it on to others.
People will be attracted by the peace and warmth in us;
they will want to be near us, and the atmosphere of heaven will gradually pass on to them.
It is not even necessary to speak to people about this.
The atmosphere of heaven will radiate from us even when we keep silence or talk about
It will radiate from us even though we may not be aware of it.”
I love these thoughts, Julie. We can’t live in a bubble, even as much as we’d like to sometimes, but we can radiate goodness by walking in God’s path. We become a reflection of Him by doing so. Have a great weekend my friend.
I am struck by the seemingly assumed ease yet the profound difficulty of which we the faithful must work to truly “think good”–
We start out with this compassion and love then we meet the protesters, the opposition, the angry non believer who riles against everything we hold dear. We face a growing general backlash to our faith and our ability to hold onto and practice our beliefs as we are now seen as the opposition to progress and all that is worldly. Our very ways are now threatened and thus our tender hearts become angry and hard, we want to retaliate….and in so we lose the ability to radiate the love of God in our thinking toward our tormentors….
talk about hard….
and here we have the example who watched and lived things you and I will prayerful not experience in our lives, yet he could rise about it all because his soul focus was the Kingdom of God living within his heart and he knew that it was truly a do or die issue to be able to share such…amazing….
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 – Jesus alone makes it possible for us to forget.
“The kingdom of God is within you.” (Matthew 17:21) What an amazing statement!! And what a great responsibility! Thanks for sharing Fr. Thaddeus with us.
I think we often fail to realize the implications and do not live accordingly!
Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.
Thank Andy– we can learn so much from those who have gone before us and who persevered in the Faith during some of humanity’s darkest days
Such a magnificent man to bring our attention to this morning. His life shows what the “handwork of God” can do. I love the way you weave his story into his words. Beautiful and effective blog. Hope I don’t forget his philosophy, especially his ending that it is possible to show his radiance even when unaware. I guess, in truth, that is the only way we can show his radiance. As soon as we think we have it, it disappears and leaves us only showing “us.”
I love discovering the wisdom of those I normally would not cross paths with–and what wisdom Elder Thaddeus imparts!
The apostle Paul was echoing the kingdom and the wisdom of our Lord when he said, “Whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of virtue and worthy of praise, think on these things.”
Philippians 4:8 He also told the church at Corinth, “Though we live in the world, we are not carrying on a worldly war, but we have divine power to destroy strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every though captive in obedience to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). It is the stronghold of the mind through which Satan continues to rule, and which Jesus came to destroy. Through HIs Word and His Holy Spirit, He is at work today.
Let us acknowledge, accept the work of HIs kingdom in us, and follow diligently in His footsteps in the victory He has prepared for us. Others will see a difference, as night and day. Blessings for the week-end.
following diligently…and they will know we are Christians by our love and by our examples…that we may radiate with our mere beings even if our voices are silent…. 🙂
YES! Praying this for all His people.
We may not contain or change the media but we have voices too and we can speak in many ways. 🙂 ❤
I suspect The Book of Philippians contains guidance that Elder Thaddeus took to heart far better than most of us.
If focus our minds on gratitude — for what is good and beautiful — we will be more easily be contented. We can go further still. We can create contentment in others. Doesn’t how we react to other people tends to depend upon how those other people react to us? if someone sees something positive in us, we tend to find it easier to love them. If someone sees only our faults, we shun them. If we see others as better than ourselves, we can draw others to us and to Christ to whom we belong.
Just to remember such a mindset!