August 20, 2014

"The Seer: The Life of the Prophet Samuel and its Relevance Today" (New Book by Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

The Seer describes the life and work of the Prophet Samuel, called ‘the Seer’ and ‘the man of God’ by his contemporaries, who lived in the period of the Old Testament and is a saint of our Church (Aug. 20).

The author examines the fascinating life of the Prophet and uses events from it to illustrate the relationships between parents and children, spiritual fathers and their disciples, and rulers and those they rule from a theological perspective.

Early chapters focus on Hannah and her prayer, and discusses prayer of the heart. The Prophet was a son born by God’s good pleasure and sanctified from his mother’s womb. The miraculous nature of his birth demonstrates that the conception of a human being is the action of God’s grace, and that children are God’s gifts. There are practical comments about bringing up children in the Church, prompted by the account of Samuel as a child in the Temple. Later in the book there is a specific chapter about Samuel’s sons and the reasons why children from devout families sometimes rebel and take the wrong path, as they did.

The Prophet Samuel received revelations from God and possessed the spiritual gifts of clear sight and seeing into the future. There is a detailed discussion of what exactly these charismas are and for what purpose they are bestowed by God.

The Holy Spirit was at work in the Old Testament, and there is a compelling account of how Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit when anointed by Samuel, although he later lost this gift completely. The chapters on Saul’s sins, which seem superficially not to be serious, but were in fact so grave that they caused God to ‘change His mind’ about him, are thought-provoking. As a spiritual father, the author is able to understand Samuel’s profound grief over Saul’s fall and to describe it.

The book draws to a close with the anointing of David as king and Samuel’s death. The final pages look at the Prophet Samuel and the Church and include extracts from the service sung in his honour.

The author summarizes Samuel’s four great virtues, such as his purity, his obedience to God’s will, his lack of resentment, and his love for the people, which also found expression through his grief at their mistakes. Samuel never grieved God at any point.

You can order the book here.