October 26, 2014

In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit!

We often do not meditate on that Gift which the Lord Jesus Christ gave to us.  This is His priceless Gift – the Gospel, written by the Apostles, the people who heard Jesus Himself, God in the flesh.

His Word has always been a powerful tool, which, like the scalpel of a surgeon, was implemented in the souls of people and carried out its doctoral action.

But even He, the Word of the all-powerful God, could not always fix anybody’s life.  We remember that crowds of people followed Christ, but who of all these people stood at the Cross?

This seemed to be a paradox – the Lord, all-powerful, having created the world by His Word, could not change every man…

Of course, for God everything is possible.  But He does nothing by force with respect to man, because then a man would cease to be a man.

How many people there are all around, but so few are saved.  How is it possible to render such a judgment?  Of course, it is not absolute and applicable in every particular case, inasmuch as only God has the right to judge, and only He knows, in what condition the soul is when it leaves the body at the moment of death.  But, nevertheless, we can ask that, based on one simple observation.  How can a man be saved who is disobedient to the Word of God, meaning to God Himself?  How many people are there around who make the Gospel the law of their lives?  As the Lord Himself said:  “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”.  This is how someone can obtain eternal life, if he strives to make the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word his very own life and his own truth?

If we would not have had His Word, then we really would have been like grains of sand in the Universe or like moths, flying to the light of a lamp only to be burned up in a single moment.  But the Lord, in His love for us, gave over His Word to us, Who shows us the right direction and has the power to give life.  We are dead without God and His blessings, although we are still living…

Yes, the Word of God has the power to resurrect souls from the dead, but He does not accomplish this by Himself.  And the Lord clearly explains this to us in today’s parable of the sower.

In order that the Word of God would bear fruit and could grow into a beautiful plant and bear spiritual fruit, it was necessary for It to fall on productive and well-kept soil.  What does this mean?

Here are the words of the Lord about the seed fallen on good soil:  “but the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and pure heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience”.

The Lord directs our attention to 2 important points:  patience and the condition of the heart (noble and pure).

It is not enough to simply hear the Word of God or to accept Him for some short period of time.  The Lord speaks to us not just once about the necessity for patience not.  Remember, “by your patience gain your soul”?

Our salvation is not possible without a grasp of the lesson of patience.  If we want to be saved, then we need to learn patience.  Patience in tribulation and sickness.  Patience with those close to us.  Patience with ourselves.  Patience in good works.  And possessing this, to strive with all of our strength to guard a kind and pure heart.

A kind heart is one that does not wish evil on those near to use, always forgives.  It is always prepared to respond with joy to any need and to have no patience with any gossip or condemnation.

A pure heart diligently guards itself from every kind of temptation.  It is chaste and simple and does not see the shortcomings of those dear to it.  Lord says this Himself in the Sermon on the Mount.

Here are the 3 conditions for everyone who wishes to obtain the Kingdom of God:  patience, kindness and purity.

These qualities do not just come by themselves.  We need to work in order to obtain them.  And how we do not love to labor!  We all look for the easy path.  And then we are surprised at why it is so hard on our souls, where our faith is, and why everything comes with such difficulty.

Listen here to how holy people reacted to labor for the sake of Christ.

“Abba Pimen said:  Abba Isidore, the presbyter of Skete, once said this to brothers in his monastery: “Haven’t we come to this place for a labor(spiritual)? But now there is not labor anymore. Now I’m going to take my clothes and go to a place where there will be a labor for me. And in this labor I’ll find my rest…”

This holy man says that we need to work (spiritually) if we want to have a peaceful rest with God.  “With the saints give rest…”  Everyone who is considered worthy of the Kingdom of God labored extremely hard during the time of his earthly life.  Let us also strive to labor for the sake of Christ and the salvation of our souls.  We will labor with patience, sensibly tilling the soil of our souls, on which the Lord will cultivate His garden.  In the end, we will belong to Him.  Amen.