VANITY OF VANITIES
ALL IS VANITY
Human lives begin and end sooner or later and many do not have an idea of life’s great importance and what really happens to all of us after death which always follows life and is serious and inevitable. The world and its various things and many occupations occupy the entire lives of many people, many having heard of God and His laws, but pay little or no serious attention to them. However, after death instead of being unaware and asleep in death which they expected, their whole attention will be on the sins of their lives and their failure to repent. Man was created by God for a very important purpose, created in His image, he must during his time on earth, become also His likeness, and by fulfilling this purpose of the Creator leads man to eternal life. The Creator equipped him well for his struggling journey into the kingdom of heaven, for God endowed man with intellect, affection and the full freedom of his will to choose and decide his ideas, actions and how he would conduct his earthly life.
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes) “What advantage is there to a man, in all his labor that he takes under the sun. A generation comes and a generation goes, but the earth stands forever. And the sun arises, and the sun goes down” (Ecclesiastes1:3-4).
Everything on this earth can be summed up as large bundles of repetitions. Each day is similar to previous days and offers little that is new and different. Everything that is seen outside of God, cut off from God and done without the fear of God is vanity.
It is vanity to live out our present lives, when not in accordance with God’s laws, but by our own imaginative and pointless thoughts and desires. Why do men remain in captivity to such vanity? It is due to stoniness of their hearts and the many attractions of this world, which stifle a man in ignorance. A stony heart is empty of the love of God, it is filled with vanity and the fear of everything that threatens carnal gratification.
What does the fruit of a stony heart produce? Ignorance, complete ignorance of all divine things, divine ways and divine laws. Such a heart is completely blunted where spiritual life and spiritual thoughts are concerned. A stony heart cannot see the eternal good nor realize anything about God or the potential of his divine destination.
What is the ultimate end of stoniness of heart and ignorance of divine truth? It is an understanding, which is darkened and alienated from the life of God. Darkened understanding causes the mind to become as dark as the inner workings of the body. The light that is in man becomes darkness, and such great darkness! A man whose mind is in darkness is unable to evaluate the meaning of anything. Such are the pagans and the impious and such are false Christians and those who have little faith. Their lives only concern this world and its desires and truly are just vanity.
Christ, the divine Logos, came into the world and is the great light of the world, for His light dispels all vanity and darkness and illumines the hearts of men. Christ came with a specific purpose, for being the perfect image and likeness of God, He teaches men and women to become like Him through His commandments and the Holy Mysteries of Baptism and the Eucharist. The light which radiates from Christ causes vanity to completely vanish from the hearts of believers. Our entire lives always change drastically as faith in Christ causes gladness and hope to envelop our hearts and His divine wisdom to enter and illumine the mind. Soon everything changes as joy and gladness in the lives of the faithful which becomes the path leading into the kingdom of heaven.