St. Herman of Alaska

 

Saint Herman lived from 1756 to Dec. 25, 1837.  He was born near Moscow, Russia and died on Spruce Island, Alaska.  He was one of 10 monks sent on a mission to Northwest America in 1793.

On one occasion Herman was invited aboard a frigate which came from Saint Petersburg.

Father Herman asked the men a question: ‘Gentlemen, What do you love above all, and what will each of you wish for your happiness?’ Various answers were offered … Some desired wealth, others glory, some a beautiful wife, and still others a beautiful ship he would captain; and so forth in the same vein. ‘It is not true,’ Father Herman said to them, “each of you desires that which in his own understanding he considers the best, and which is most worthy of his love?’ They all answered, ‘Yes, that is so!’ He then continued, “Is not that which is best, above all, and surpassing all, most worthy of love, the Very Lord, our Jesus Christ? Should we not then love God above every thing, desire Him more than anything, and search Him out?’

“All said, ‘Why, yes! That’s self-evident!’ Then Herman asked, ‘But do you love God?’ They all answered, ‘Certainly, we love God. How can we not love God?’  ‘If we love someone,’ Herman said, ‘we always remember them; we try to please them. Day and night our heart is concerned with the subject. Is that the way you gentlemen love God? Do you turn to Him often? Do you always remember Him? Do you always pray to Him and fulfill His holy commandments?’ They had to admit that they had not! ‘For our own good, and for our own fortune,’ concluded the Elder, ‘let us at least promise ourselves that from this very minute we will try to love God more than anything and to fulfill His Holy Will!’  This conversation was imprinted on the heart of the sailors.

 

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