Saturday, November 2, 2013




    When unbelief exists in a man, he  knows nothing of his true destination, why he exists, or that he is the image of God. Unbelief causes the  heart to be cold, lacking the inner warmth derived from genuine faith. The unbeliever becomes a victim and prisoner of the evil one, and though his body may be free, his soul languishes in unbelief. Lacking the ability to genuinely love, the only love he knows is self centered  which can deceive  him to see himself as a good person who does not harm anyone.  His mind is occupied with mundane things,  destitute of  the beauty and the joy of true faith.  Not drinking from the Orthodox fountain of youth and eternal life; the unbeliever  does not experience the delight of praising  the Theotokos and the Saints. He misses out on the joyful  sadness of praising the martyrs.  He has not seen the light of Christ, nor hear  His words of eternal life.  He has not  smelled the incense, or heard the melodious hymns of praise to our God and Savior. He has not felt the nearness of God because he turns his spiritual eyes away in unbelief. This causes him to be self- righteous.  His heart become smaller,  harder, and empty of faith, hope, and love  becomes filled with evil.  Thus, our Lord says: “For where your treasure is there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34). “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things; an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Mat. 12:35).

  The unbeliever is not evil by nature, but when he abuses his freedom with bad choices, he renders himself susceptible to evil, causing him to walk in moral darkness, and the Devil rules imprisons him. The only escape is to turn with faith to the benevolent Savior Jesus Christ and acquire His  assistance.    It is sad to see an unbeliever living without joy and the fervent hope of eternal life. For we all love life and seek to avoid deadly  sickness and avoid the relentless specter of death which threatens us  like a two-edged sword.  Unbelief causes the conscience to be like a weak voice, and the callous spirit of the world causes him to think that he will never give an account for immoral thoughts, words and deeds. This deep and crushing darkness prevents him from seeing anything  correctly. Christ warns:  “If the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness.” 

     Unbelief also can become false belief,  the evil one is the source of the four evils, false belief, false religion, false philosophy and false morality. When false belief rules over the soul of a man, his life becomes distorted as he imagines his false belief  to be true, he rejects  criticism,  and by accepting falsehood as truth, thinking that his uncertainty will somehow render him happy. He seeks material goods, money, riches, as the source of happiness, and thinking his false belief to be the source of his prosperity.  He defends his lifestyle against  opponents, and  endeavors to win others to his point of view.  A characteristic of false belief is lack of humility and piety, and the false belief that they will “go to heaven.”  Some even says when an unbeliever dies: “He is so much better off!”  However, it is impossible to gain the kingdom of heaven without the true Christ and the true Church, for He is its Head and dwells therein.  False belief, spawns hypocrisy,  pride, and intolerance toward whoever attempts to guide them to come to true belief.

     Unbelief causes the development of the idea that death is the end of everything, so they believe, let us  eat, drink, enjoy life while it lasts, accumulate goods and money for security,  however false belief assures its adherents of a place of happiness in heaven, even if their lives are corrupt and sinful.  Not keeping God’s commandments, the false believers live a life of delusion, never investing time or effort, but expecting a promised reward, but  Christ, who will be the Judge of all, says: “Whoever breaks one point of the law, breaks them all.”      

   Does a small child know any other path to happiness than that of faith in its mother and obedience to her? The bond of love draws the mother and child toward each other, rousing joy in their hearts.  Is there anything more monstrous than a child that has no faith in its mother, and continuously rebels refusing to obey her, love being non-existent? The bond of love draws us upward into the arms of God, but lack of this bond, draws us downward by the evil one to  disobedience and rebellion against God, which is a great evil.
     Where there is faith there is counsel, (with God and His Saints) where there is no faith, counsel is not available. Where there is faith there is dialogue, where faith is lacking, dialogue is lacking, then doubt and temptation take the place of dialogue. Faith in Jesus Christ opens the doors to real life and dialogue begins with reading the Scriptures wherein God speaks to us, and praying regularly  we speak to God – beginning the dialogue.  Without faith there can be no dialogue. The dialogue begins with the cry: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me a sinner!”

   A stranger has no faith in a stranger; a kinsman has faith in a kinsman. When faith appears between strangers, they become kinsmen to one another, when it is lost to kinsmen, they become strangers.

     It is the responsibility of all who have received the gift of faith and become kinsmen of Christ, to reach out to strangers and  others who lack true faith and lead them to that  great treasure.  When we help others to acquire true faith, we have gained a kinsman. Unbelief is escapable by true belief, and false belief can be replaced with true belief. There is always hope for the unbeliever and the false believer. The unbeliever is outside of the Church, while the false believer can embrace the true Christ in His true Church.

   Credulous faith begins by opening a person’s eyes, to see Jesus as the object of our faith, who became the sacrifice for our sins and iniquities. As faith increases in the soul, it gradually becomes experiential and much stronger than credulous faith. Feast days become filled with happiness and joy, while fast days are filled with the joy of repentance.  Then when the annual Feast of feasts comes every Pascha, the absolute  joy of Christ’s  Resurrection overwhelms our being and fills us with delight. Our hearts  jump with the joy of this great event, because  we know that if Christ arose from the dead, we too shall arise into everlasting life and endless happiness. 

      The more we fast and feast,  the more we repent and rejoice, the stronger our faith becomes.  For we acquire the highest form of faith – logical faith - which understands many of the mysteries of God, especially that Christ is our  prototype, and we must struggle to become holy like Him, who is  the perfect image and likeness of God! With exultation we celebrate Pascha and rejoice in the Author and Creator of our lives and sing: 
“Christ is risen from the dead!  We celebrate the death of death, the destruction of hades. The beginning of  an eternal life; and leaping for joy, we hymn the cause: the only blessed and most glorious God of our fathers.”

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