THE GREAT INVITATION
I published this over 60 years ago and it has even more pertinence today.
“Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hear my voice, and open the door, I will come unto him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20.)
SICKNESS OF THE BODY
There are many minor and major sicknesses of the body. Major sicknesses or accidental injury can cause the greatest pain and make our lives gloomy, which motivates us to do something about it. Before undergoing examination, diagnosis and treatment by a doctor, the prudent patient knows that he must disclose everything to him about his condition, leaving nothing out. The wise physician, after diligent investigation, usually arrives at a diagnosis and method of treatment. The physician also seeks to determine how the sickness or illness was contracted. Sometimes the patient harms himself by overindulging or bad actions. Eating, drinking, carelessly as well as lack of diligent care of his body.
The good physician hides nothing, but tells the patient the truth, and prescribes proper remedies, so that he can start on the path of recovery. This may involve avoiding some activities or foods and drinks that may prove harmful. The patient who follows the doctor’s instruction rejoices as he walks on the path of recovery.
SICKNESS OF THE SOUL
While sickness of the body is apparent and the body is visible, sickness of the soul is not so apparent, and many are they who are in complete denial of sickness of the soul, not acknowledging that man is more than just a body. The human soul or ego is subject to many sicknesses, affecting body and soul. Various types of misconduct and vices, disregard of God’s commandments, breaking His laws, which are called sins. As bodily pain induces pain in the heart, so sickness of the soul causes grief and misery to the soul of the one suffering. Added to the grief felt is the fear of eventual punishment for the illicit actions contrary to God’s laws. If we keep the laws of God and fear His just judgment, all other fears will evaporate before our eyes.
THE FRUITS OF SIN
The health of the soul is beneficial not only to the soul but also to the body. The Bible says: “Piety is of benefit to everyone affording as it does the promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Tim. 4:8). Beyond any doubt, most sicknesses and diseases are due to sins. The Lord points this our saying to the paralytic whom He had cured: “Behold you are made well; sin no more, lest a worse thing befall you” (1 John 5:14). Living a godless life of iniquity affects the health and the countenance of a man. It leaves him susceptible to many diseases and ailments and darkens his mind and intellect.
Gluttony is forbidden by God’s law and is punishable, and we see that those who are slaves to their stomachs with diets of rich foods, cause the upset of the entire organism. Sin is the underlying cause of many ailments and causes grief, pain and death. Obesity is causes by a person who fails to respect both his soul and body, and is curable by the Lord.
We can witness in our own souls the fruits of sin. The drunkard see liquor destroying him yet he will not leave the bottle alone. The gambler sees that he is squandering his money by card playing, and will not give up the game. The man living in debauchery continuously suffers from certain diseases and much pain, yet he will not cease his vice. That is why the Lord says: “Amen, amen, I say unto you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.
With many dangers and threats to the body and soul, a consolatory voice can be heard, saying: “Come, all of you" who have stolen. Slandered, intrigued, back bitten. Undermined the reputation of your neighbor. You that have opened your mouth widely to blaspheme my holy name, come with all others that are burdened and wearied with sins, and I will have you rest from the turbulence of sin. What invitation is superior to this for the one guilty of sin? Your voice gives me great courage and great consolation, enabling me to approach you and be saved. For you have said: “Him that comes to me I will in no way cast out”.
Let us then arise and not delay. Let us hasten as the prodigal son and imitate others who have sinned and repented, as did the Prophet-king David, St. Peter, the fallen woman who anointed the Lord with aromatics, St. Mary the Egyptian and so many others. Just as we bring our body to the physician of bodies, so let us bring our souls to the Physician of our souls, through repentance and sincere confession.
Remember that the matter is a grave one. This very day may decide our entire future; pray that the Lord helps our efforts, so that in the future we may struggle to obey all His laws, and worship Him in spirit an truth.
This qualifies us to receive at Divine Liturgy the sacred Mystery of His Body and Blood, which provides us with the divine strength and source of all goodness, which is Jesus Christ himself! We will enter a path from which we will never desire to turn back as it is the only correct path for man which leads to eternal life. If we receive the sacred mystery and fail to live a holy life, we will not acquire the kingdom.
Happy and blissful are they who admit the words of Christ into their hearts and accept His “Great Invitation.” For they will dine with the King of king and Lord of lords, through whose benevolence, love and mercy they will receive light and serenity that extinguish darkness, wipe away tears, cultivate and impart perfect joy, and cure every distressed soul and every wounded body.