Monday, March 17, 2014



      A revolution takes place and the legitimate government under which the people were living contentedly is overthrown as a brutal tyrant seizes  power. How did it happen, and where were the soldiers to prevent this? It does not matter. No one is quite sure, but they were well-armed and succeeded in helping the tyrant to seize the reigns of power.  As time passes, the tyrant rule over them became unbearable, as he  heaped upon them greater injustices and increased imprisonments.  The populace begins to groan under the heavy  weight of his iron rule, but he kept increasing their taxes and  cutting services, wreaking havoc everywhere. As the tyrant becomes more and more overbearing, people groaned and grumbled under his heavy hand.  In the minds of most of them, the idea  grew stronger, we must rid ourselves of this tyrant or life will not be worth living.

   There is a tyrant much more fierce than the aforementioned, whom few people know or even care to know.

He is invisible to the human eye, but highly visible to  people, who through Christ had escaped his tyranny. This Tyrant is called the Devil, Satan, and the Dragon. He is ruthless, and  never speaks truth,  deceiving most people, by convincing them that there is no Devil.  He rules over mankind and few are aware of his malignancy or even think of resistance, even though they are held in captivity with no possible means of escape. He encourages and teaches men to commit theft, lies, revenge, murder, cheat, fornicate and commit adultery. He disparages prayer, fasting, church services and Bible reading, and this enables him to tighten his tyrannical grip on people.  

Love of money, and the acquisition of  luxuries is another item that he highly recommends, for “ love of money is the root of all evil,” as St. Paul says. Sadly, people often choose the Devil as their friend and treat Christ as a stranger or even as an enemy. But the truth remains, that Christ is the only Lover of mankind, who wants to save man, while Satan’s is the hater of man, whose  chief desire is to destroy man.

     How did this malevolent tyrant enter in among us and captivate us when we are free and living the United States, a free country! The one who knows everything gives the same answer as He did to the Jews:  “Jesus said to those Jews who believed on Him, If you continue in my word, then you are truly my disciples; and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. They answered ,we are Abraham’s children, and were never in bondage to any man; how do you say, You shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Amen, Amen, I say unto you, Whoever commits sin is the slave of sin, and the slave does not abide in the house forever. If the Son therefore shall make you free you shall indeed be free”  (John 8:31-36).

   In our time, 2014, almost two-thousand years later, the Lord says to all Americans especially Orthodox Americans: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”  And Americans might respond like the Jews saying:  We are children of the brave men of the revolution against British tyranny. We inherited our the Constitution and the famous Bill of rights, and we enjoy living in freedom in this land of the free and home of the brave, and we spread this freedom everywhere,  so how do you say to us: “You shall be made free?”  Our Lord gives  same response: “Whoever commits sin is the slave of sin.” 

      Every sin from the smallest to the greatest, places us under the dominion of the tyrannical Devil, whose only source of power is in men who choose to live in sin and do evil works. If all men stopped sinning, it would make the Devil impotent and helpless, causing evil to decline.  When a single  person  abandons sin, this takes some power away from the tyrant and as more good replaces evil the more his power wanes, and his tyranny is reduced.  Whenever we lie, steal, or gossip, or commit any sin, we  do his will and become enslaved, and sin is his only source of power.  But what is worse is when we voluntarily place ourselves under the authority of such a ruthless tyrant, by sinning knowingly and willfully.  Sins which are repeated over an over evolve into passions, from which it is very difficult to escape, for passions become multiple tyrants over us.

   How does the tyrant over us acquire power? By encouraging sins, and urging us to go ahead, assuring us that no one will know, then sugar coating them, he arouses in us thoughts of pleasure and delights. But when the sin is completed, the pleasure immediately disappears, leaving us weakened and imprisoned under his tyrannical yoke. This process repeats over and over, for the deceiver seeks to conquer everyone.  The Lord reminds us: “Whoever commits sin is the slave of sin.” The tyrant accomplished something else to keep us in sin, he shuts out the light of life, leaving the soul in darkness and less able to distinguish right from wrong. Each time  we sin causes the soul to be increasingly darkened.  Thus Christ says: “If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness.”

  The light and darkness we speak about is moral or ethical light and moral or ethical  darkness. Christ proclaims this light saying: “I am the light of the world; whoever follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.”  This darkness and light is similar to the light that is in our eyes. If we have  healthy physical eyes, and if there was pitch darkness around us, no one could see where he was going.  And if we move about we will be obstacles to each other. Nor can we do any work, cook any food or perform useful tasks, because light is absolutely necessary. How much more necessary is moral light which dispels moral darkness, and is the delightful light that shines down from above.  For without moral light, men walk in deep darkness, without distinguishing right from wrong or for good from bad.  Evil multiples in moral darkness and the tight grip of the tyrannical Devil  increases greatly.

    We are now going through the period of the Great Fast leading us to glorious Feast of feasts – Pascha. During this period the grace of God abounds around us seeking those who wish to escape captivity and enter into the freedom which the Lord alone can offer. This is the best time to rid ourselves of the burden of our sins, by looking inward and being honest with ourselves. This inward search will enable us, with the Lord’s help, to confess and receive forgiveness, as we throw off the heavy yoke of the tyrant and deceiver. Then we can turn to the source of our life, who is also the fountain of everything good, and be submit to His benevolent and easy yoke, for He says: “Come unto me all you that labor and are heavily laden, and I will give you rest; For I am meek and humble in my heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”    (Mat. 11:28-30).

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