Thursday, October 17, 2013




St. Cyprian writes concerning immortality:


"Whenever any famous person promises you something, you trust in his promise, not thinking that he will prove to be deceptive, since he is always true to his word. But behold, O distrustful man, God himself speaks to you and you vacillate in doubt! God has promised you immortality when you leave this world, and do you impudently doubt and ignore His promise? This means that you do not recognize God at all; it means that you insult Christ our Lord and Teacher with your lack of faith."

      Nothing in this world lasts including our short sojourn here. One day, often without knowing, we will each sit down to our last meal, we will lay down for our final night’s sleep. We will see our family and those we love and friends for the last time, for everything here in this world has a beginning and an end. We are born as infants and we die, possibly before old age. Death is often sudden and without warning, so action must be quick and meaningful. But beyond death we will encounter whatever we have chosen, either eternal life or the second death, from which there is no return. If we have not with faith, entered the struggle for life, it is not possible to enter eternal life.

      Our choice doesn’t mean that we will go to Church, perform acts of mercy, or help the poor, all being good, but our choice means, changing our life, beginning with sincere repentance. To be Orthodox Christians is to live for Christ, to love Christ above everything, to recognize Him as the first and most important and center of everything in our lives. True love cannot be lukewarm but must be hot, lively and sacrificial. Our Lord testifies to this, saying: "I would that you were either hot or cold, but because you are lukewarm, I will spew you out of my mouth."

      We need to plan here and now for eternity where there is no yesterday or tomorrow, no day or night, but only today without end. Sooner or later, we will all depart yet we give it little thought, even though it involves the most important decision of our lives. We make many decisions every day, but this decision is the most important that we will ever make, for it will determine either our eternal life or eternal death. How can we escape if we ignore the Logos of God who became incarnate to save us? How can we hope for a future life of rest and eternal happiness, if we do not obey and love Him in return? How can we escape if we do not have firm and absolute faith in the Son of God, for if we fail to have faith, it means that we reject Him and His blessed offer to us. We need to at least make a beginning and put forth the effort to do what He teaches us, beginning with our personal repentance and confession of our sins.


      He confirms His perfect love for us, and whether we love Him or not, He will always love us, for God is love. By His descending and taking on our humanity, and becoming one of us, although being God, He humbled himself even to the Cross and death, but arose on the third day never to die again. He did this to grant us eternal life in return for keeping His commandments and by sincerely loving Him in return for His love and great mercy to us.


      Jesus Christ is the God that never changes, and every word He spoke affects every one of us. Have we even listened to His words? Have we even begun to fulfill His commandments? He made it clear that He alone is the path that leads from earth to heaven, from temporary life to eternal life. What will happen to those who are disinterested and refuse to be saved?


      We trust in others about our cares in life, why do we fail to trust the one who brought us into existence and who will be our judge, for He will come in glory to judge the living and the dead. We trust others, and believe so many other things about life; we get medical help and trust our doctors and pharmacists, our pilots, why do we not trust the one who gives us our lives and everything else gratuitously? We trust others who do not love us; why do we not trust the one who loves us conditionally whose name is Love?


     Moses the Great told Israel that there were two paths, that of life and that of death saying: "Choose life that you may live." Christ, whom Moses prophesied would come, says: "I am the resurrection and the life!" This present temporary life is really our battleground, and God the Father, through the Prophets and Jesus Christ battled against the Devil and His authority over man. Christ stripped him of that authority concerning those who follow Him. But without Christ, we are simply playthings in the hands of the Devil who hates and despises us and seeks our condemnation so that we end up being like him in eternal torment. He convinces men that there is no future life, no judgment, and when you die you dissolve into nothing. Enjoy this life! So eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die!" This is the venom from the serpent that poisons men who do not seek to acquire faith, refusing to trust God. There is no choice, for if we do not place our trust in God, we certainly place it in our worst enemy, the Devil.


      If we choose death ignoring the promise of life, we will have chosen to suffer and be tormented. We cannot change after death and whatever we have trusted in this world will be ours in the next life. Even if we were offered the kingdom of heaven, we would refuse it, for we will be aware of our own condemnation and cannot change. If we now choose life, we shall avoid the second death and live for ever in the kingdom of Christ. There we will rejoice and be glad and leap about happily being filled with divine energy and love, and every moment will be blissful and behold beauty such as we could never begin to dream about. There will be no tears or sighing but life everlasting, for God will wipe away every tear, and His perfect love will continuously refresh and surround us.