“Delos, if you would be willing to be the abode of my son Phoebus Apollo and make him a rich temple –; for no other will touch you, as you will find: and I think you will never be rich in oxen and sheep, nor bear vintage nor yet produce plants abundantly. But if you have the temple of far-shooting Apollo, all men will bring you hecatombs and gather here, and incessant savour of rich sacrifice will always arise, and you will feed those who dwell in you from the hand of strangers; for truly your own soil is not rich.”
Leto ~ The Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo
Many of us spend much of our time challenging our own self worth. We put ourselves down, thinking that our current skills in any particular thing are below some level that has been lauded by society or community. We look at the things we accomplish and compare them to the accomplishments of others. We take our shortcomings into ourselves in such a way that they begin to harm us, rather than provide a starting-place for improvement. I too am guilty of this. Although I am able to keep it together most of the time, some days just do not seem like I am getting much of anything substantial done, in regards to the facilitation of my Lord’s worship.
This is because, like Delos Island, I am not rich in the things which are commonly desired by society, nor am I exceptionally skilled in any areas of societal worth. However, also like Delos Island, I have agreed joyously to host the temple of Apollon. But, as I am not myself an island or a plot of land, I must keep my Lord’s temple safely within my heart.
And this is the secret of Apollon’s attention and love; those who keep Him always within the core of their being will never be abandoned, for He takes care of His own. When you shine outwardly the light of Apollon from within, you will naturally attract that which is needed for your day to day care. Trust in Him is the key. He is the Provider, and you are the one He provides for, out of love, and the duty to protect.
Like Delos Island, we need not be beautiful in a traditional sense, for our Lord sees the beauty of our souls, and the unique ways in which we all express our inner selves. His love is not always predicated upon what we can do for Him, but sometimes is given simply because He wishes to see us prosper, in His name. Because we all have jobs to do for Him, whether those jobs are related to spiritual facilitation, or are of a more domestic association, our first priority will be to keep our own hearts happy, and filled with the love He has shown us. All else comes later, and in many ways, is superfluous.
When we are truly joyous in our worship of Him, we no longer worry about how we are seen by those standing on the outside of our relationships. We no longer waste our time with comparisons or jealousies. With trust in Apollon comes freedom from the pettiness which so frequently inhabits our minds, and the world around us.
Within the Hymn itself, we see these thoughts, and others, echoed by Delos Island, as She speaks:
“Leto, most glorious daughter of great Coeus, joyfully would I receive your child the far-shooting lord; for it is all too true that I am ill-spoken of among men, whereas thus I should become very greatly honoured. But this saying I fear, and I will not hide it from you, Leto. They say that Apollo will be one that is very haughty and will greatly lord it among gods and men all over the fruitful earth. Therefore, I greatly fear in heart and spirit that as soon as he sets the light of the sun, he will scorn this island — for truly I have but a hard, rocky soil…”
It is true that our Lord Apollon is very haughty. It is true that He often lords Himself over us mightily. Yet, those traits that He possesses are the same traits which inspire Him to defend those who are His, without question, and without fail. The insecurities of Delos Island are highlighted here, as well. She fears that He will scorn and abandon Her once He has seen what the world has to offer Him, in comparison to what She Herself can give.
But, the Island has nothing to fear, even without Leto’s pledge that Her Son would hold Delos as the heart of His future cult sites. She need fear nothing because Apollon always accepts the sincere gift of oneself generously. If you would only love Him, He will return your love a thousand fold.
Delos was the first to honor Him thus, with a place to call home, a place to rest and to administer to His people. Delos was the first to open Her heart to Him completely, and the first to be held up in honor, as an example of the devotion that we too must display. Delos Island is truly a marvel of selflessness, trust and compassion for all Apollonians to emulate.
By the example of Delos, we see that we are enough, that our contributions to Apollon’s honor are enough, that our skills, though always improvable, are enough at the current time, in their current state. Improvements should be made not because we believe that we are presently unworthy, but because we strive to be better. Knowing that one may always improve upon their life and situation does not mean that one should first consider themselves lowly, because the truth is that we are enough. Indeed, you are enough.