I have to tell this story while it is fresh in my mind and straight off the high I am on from the youth Spring Retreat our diocese sponsored this past weekend. Although this trip was for our teens I was full of anticipation as the theme would be St. John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco. I had just recently heard of his miracles and little about his life this past April and was intrigued to hear more.
Here is the link to his entire story and the Holy Virgin Cathedral you can read it there as I just want to point out some of the facts about his life and who he was that inspired me while we sat in sessions over the weekend. We were blessed by Heiromonk James who is assigned at the Old Cathedral in San Francisco where the relics of St. John reside.
He came with many stories of St. Johns life and a passion to encourage us to learn about him and in turn develop a relationship with this blessed Saint. How fortunate we are as Orthodox Christians to have a 20th century Saint; a man who drove in cars and flew in plans, he experienced our court systems. He knew a modern day life as we do today. This in itself allows us to connect with him as he really is a part of our today.
St. John did not relive the past or struggle to anticipate the future. He didn’t waste time or stress about what could happen or longing for what has happened. He was only able to do this because he was present via prayer.
This life, just as St. Johns life is full of distractions. We are drawn away from the present, from the path God has for us in the now by living in the past or longing for the future. This leads us away from God through stress, or longing. We miss the opportunities and the joy that comes from the now. We were encouraged by HM James to practice as St. John did and to remember that “prayer is above all thought”.
The goal of this life is not to be loved but to love.
This is the moto St. John lived by. My heart was so deeply moved to hear of his love for orphans in Shanghai, China. As my God daughter was adopted from China it resonated with me even more the provision God has always had for his children who have been cast offs of society. St. John, with help cared for 2000 orphans. “With the end of World War II and the coming to power of the Communists in China, Bp. John led the exodus of his community from Shanghai in 1949. Initially, he helped some 5,000 refugees to a camp on the island of Tubabao in the Philippines, while he travelled successfully to Washington, D.C., to lobby to amending the law to allow these refugees to enter the United States.”
I thank God for the lives of each of these orphans! We watched a movie and heard story after story by them and others who were loved deeply by St John. Many of whom are still alive today.
There are as many miracles that occurred during his life and still many more that are occurring now in his death.
The list goes on and on at those who have asked St. John to pray to God for them and many, many miracles have occurred and still are occurring today. Here is a link why we ask the Saint for their intercessions (Prayer to the Saints I’d love to relay their stories here but I would not do them justice. Google miracles by St. John the Wonderworker if you are interested. You will absolutely be inspired to ask for his intersessions.
I pray this little bit of information about his life has inspired you to make him a friend. He waits to hear your needs and take them to God on our behalf.