WHAT A PITIABLE CONDITION!
“When the Son of Man comes will He find any faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8)
Christ our God came upon earth being the Godman, and through His zealous and faithful Apostles, His Church spread His Gospel throughout the world, as men believed and hastened to be baptized. Severe persecution made the Church grow more rapidly and the Jews, and Roman Empire were defeated in their attempts to destroy the Church. Cities and countries in the east and west and the Slavs embraced Orthodoxy and the faith overthrew the ancient world of idolatry. Mankind was gradually brought into the Church and as it increased daily. But almost two-thousand years later we have come to a pitiable condition that cntinues to grow worse. This is expressed as follows:
“Among Christians both the sciences and literature have now become almost wholly worldly. The Gospel and religion are neglected, the lives of saints are being scoffed at, in general there is a kind of feverish worldly activity, while no one is thinking of pleasing God and the salvation of their souls. What a pitiable condition!” (St. John of Kronstadt +1908).
It is 107 years since St. John wrote these things and conditions have become even worse. We must realize that we are living in this age of idolatry and disinterest in anything beneficial to our souls. We even have many who claim that we have no soul and are just matter. They are unable to sing: “Bless the Lord O my soul; ad all that is within me bless His holy name.” The bitter truth is that many of us have become materialists assuming that we and everything else comes from matter and returns back to matter for we are born and die and that’s ends everything.
However, faith in Jesus Christ did not only begin yesterday but began 2,000 years ago. Devoted Christians kept this torch of the Orthodox Faith burning brightly by their sacrifices and generous contribution to the Church. Highly intelligent, faithful and well educated Church Fathers have made enormous contributions, and have, over centuries, established without doubt that Jesus Christ is the God man and Head of His Church actively protecting His Body the Church. Fathers of Seven Ecumenical Synods accurately defended and defined the Faith.
The author of the quotation above mentions “ a feverishly worldly captivity, with no one thinking of God or the salvation of their souls.” If we take no thought of God we are no different than the dumb animals and have become like them. If we take no thought about God or our salvation, we will perish in our sins and in the general judgment we will be cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. What a pitiable condition!
If we would stop all action and think for a few moments, tearing ourselves away from the “feverish activity” we will see that there is no future if we struggle to gain only material things of this world, for when we depart they will be left behind, and whoever gets them will also leave them behind for someone else. The ancient Epicureans lived the same kind of empty an d useless life saying: “Eat, drink, and be merry; tomorrow we die.” They were greatly in error and wrong in their immorality and empty philosophy for both this life and eternal life was not held to be precious in their sight. Are not their beliefs the same as those of modern man? What a pitiable condition!
Today it is even worse with materialistic man who is firmly gripped by entertainment, toys, automobiles, motorcycles, fancy homes, TV and radio, telephones, trains and airplanes, electric lights, and hundreds of newly produced gadgets. All useful for life in this world, but useless and even harmful for the salvation of our souls. If we live a life without purpose or destination what good does it mean to be born and exist?
God the Creator of all did not create the universe, the earth, plants and trees, animals and birds, fish and creeping things without a purpose and their usefulness is apparent and obvious to all. For everything plays some part in providing the physical and spiritual needs of man. What are we men and why are we so very special? The fact is that God has destined us to become kings and queens, and rulers of this world. It is our firm struggle, prayer and final hope to become worthy of eternal life in the heavenly kingdom with our Creator. We must remember that we are His servants and He is our Creator and God and it is on his terms that we must choose our lifestyle, for choosing our own way can only lead to disaster.
For this reason the divine Logos became a man and dwelled among us full of grace and truth. He spoke to each of us the greatest commandment of all which we are under obligation to keep, which is to love the Lord our God with all our minds and souls and being. He gave another commandment concerning how to show that we love Him, “If you love me keep my commandments” The commandments of Christ should become a great and brilliant light in our minds, fully satisfy our hearts and fill our entire being with joy. They call upon us to harm no one and behave well, to do no evil but only good and love our neighbor as ourselves. We can choose to go on living a wasted and useless life or we can respond to Christ, and enter the joy of our Lord. Only the Lord can teach us the proper use of our freedom.
Without Christ, what a pitiable condition we are in! Nor is there is any other way out of this condition except, for Christ alone declares that He is the way and the life. The Gospel contains the greatest good news that man can ever hear, for it is about true happiness, joy, eternal life and the perfect glory of the kingdom of God followed by the glory of man by God! With faith in Christ and having Him in our life, everything immediately changes for the better. Sadness turns into joy, and sorrow into gladness. Despondency is transformed into hope and hope is filled with firm promises of God.