According to his annalists, Saint John of Rila was born in the village of Skrino, Bulgaria, probably in 876 AD, and he died in 946. He lived in the time of Prince Boris I, King Simeon the Great and King Peter I.
He realizes he needs God deep in his soul, which makes him go to the mountains of Rila. He makes a decision to live a solitary life there to escape from the corruption in the world, to find the answers to his questions, to cleanse and lift his soul up and find salvation. He does all that, having faith that God would provide all of his needs. Life in the mountains teaches him to be thankful for everything. He goes through hunger, thirst and great struggles and hardships.
Get inspired by the words he has spoken in the wilderness…
I, John, a humble and sinful man, who has done nothing good on earth, when I came into this wilderness in the mountains of Rila, could not find any human being in it, but only wild beasts and impenetrable recesses. As I settled there, I was alone amongst the beasts, without having food and shelter. But the sky was my canopy, the earth was my bed and herbs were my food. But the gentle God, because of my love for Him, I despised everything, going through hunger, thirst, cold and heat, as well as nakedness; He did not abandon me, but met all my needs like a compassionate and loving father.
What should I give the Lord for everything He has given to me? His good deeds to me are so many, because He looked at my humility from His highest place above, and He helped me go through everything (not me), but the power of Christ, who lives in me. Because every good gift is from Him, and every perfect gift comes from above.
Since I see you gathered here today, for the Lord, where so far no man has ever dwelled but wild beasts; and besides, feeling that soon the end of my current life would come; because of this I thought to leave to you with my going away from my current life, my current will as your father, like fathers in the flesh leave for their children an earthly will in silver and gold and other possessions. And when you mention your Father through the Holy Spirit, do not forget His will.
It is inspiring to read about such people. Annalists also tell us about his miracles helping people and healing them by the power of God. This is a man who counts everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege of knowing Jesus.
He also learns how to be satisfied in whatever state he is – alone amongst the beasts, without having food and shelter, but having the power of the Holy Spirit in his life. This is a man who reminds us that we have strength for all things in Christ, Who empowers us. He also tells us to remember that no one can separate us from God’s love. Neither suffering, and tribulation, nor persecution and hunger can separate us from His love.
The life St. John of Rila inspires us to live a holy way of life. We have to take the sin away from our hearts and minds and receive God’s holiness. We should hear God’s calling upon our lives and share the Gospel with people all over the world, telling them the Good News, healing their diseases and helping them in their needs. This is what a Christian lifestyle really is.
You may also like: