Photo from the Orthodox Holy Liturgy (from here)
Οrthodox Archbishopric of Zimbabwe & Angola
“…because, if I rebuild that, which I demolished, it is as though I admit that I made a mistake when I was demolishing it.”
This, beloved Christians, is the phrase Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians, and is full of tragedy.
T h e y s a w t h e l i g h t !
- In these few words lies the whole spiritual drama that many Christians live, those who have the good fortune to have seen the light of the Faith, who have known the Word of Christ, who have repented and renounced their previous way of life, which was dark and sinful, who have managed to cleanse their soul and mind of all the remnants of their sinful life.
They, then, felt the deep and moving joy, which Christ grants to his faithful followers. They have taken the beautiful and productive path in life and have felt the truth of the Word of God: “Come unto me all of you who are tired and bear heavy loads, and I shall give you rest. Take up your yoke and follow my example, because I am meek and humble at heart and your souls will find rest, because my yoke is gentle and my load is light.” (Matthew. 11΄ 28-30)
- In short, beloved brothers and sisters, the souls of these people have succeeded in triumphing over evil and sin and have inwardly raised the flag of spiritual virtue. They have ‘demolished’ and renounced sinful and harmful passions, they have stopped living the life of vice and villainy and they felt the joy of being delivered from the fatal clutches of sin. They had stopped drinking, playing cards and other such games, stopped wasting away their lives and their fortunes and they had forgotten the disgrace and all those things that destroyed their health and self-esteem.
B a c k t o t h e o l d w a y o f l i f e !
- The phrase of the Apostle Paul refers to those people who have seen and have known the light of truth and suddenly, as if caught up in a terrible storm, have been drawn back down the slope of sin, blind and deaf to the tears and supplications of their families and genuine and sincere friends. These are the people who begin to rebuild their old way of life which they lived before they knew the light of Christ, and in so doing, say: “We acknowledge that the difficult battle that we have fought, in order to see the light, was our mistake. Now we prefer to return to our old way of life and to rebuild that, which we painstakingly demolished.”
Back in prison Again !
- My God! How did these souls become this way? Until now, one would look at them and admire them. Enlightened, they lived the life of peace, considerate and dynamic in their good works.
And today! In a short period of time, they have totally changed. Their virtue and decency was lost. They have chosen the way of darkness over light. They decided to choose the chains of the devil over the ‘gentle yoke ’ of Christ. They decided to exchange the freedom of their Christian life with the prison of sin.
- Here beloved Christians, we are not referring to the people who make mistakes as a result of human weakness, who slipped in an unguarded moment.
These types of mistakes are human, and God forgives them when He sees sincere repentance, because the powers of evil exist inside us and lead us to sin. The devil is our eternal enemy who tempts us and plans and rejoices at our downfall.
We all sin, we all make mistakes. A Christian is not he who does not succumb to sin. A Christian is he who, having sinned, lifts himself up and does not lie in the mud forever.
- The Apostle Paul does not refer to those who have fallen into sin, but those who insist on living the life of sin. Those who willingly become slaves of the devil, who consciously exchange the love of the light of Christ for the love of sin.
Even the Apostle Peter fell into the clutches of sin and denied Christ. When he heard the cock crow, he remembered the word of Christ, he repented and ‘wept bitterly’ and he therefore received forgiveness.
- Many are not able to escape from the clutches of sin and repent.
Unfortunately it is so, beloved brothers and sisters. Those who, after serious contemplation, consciously betrayed the Christian Faith, will later find great difficulty in repenting again. This is the greatest misfortune which can befall man. It would have been better if they had not been born at all. If these people had never known the law of God, they would have the excuse that they did not know any better. But those who came to know Christian life and the law of God and subsequently rejected it, what excuse can they give?
How terrible! How these souls began and where they have ended up! From being blessed to being accursed.
“Lord, do not allow us to abandon your path! Help us remain close to you steadfastly, sincere, faithful, until the end!”Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, the Christian life is one of safety, of joy, of true productivity. In contrast, the life of sin, which is often opted for over the life of faith, is similar to certain pits of quicksand in Brittany, where, if one steps into it, it is impossible to be saved, because first the sand swallows the man until the knees, and no matter how much he tries to escape and be saved, he sinks further down, with the result that the sand becomes his frightful grave.
- Let us therefore follow the path of Christ. It is the safest path that leads to happiness and to immortality…
"THE WAY" - An Introduction to the Orthodox Faith
Travelers on the Way to the Light
Spiritual Travels in Greece
LOVERS OF TRUTH: THE LIFE OF HIEROMONK SERAPHIM ROSE