Friday, September 4, 2015

Part Twelve
 Benefits, Good Effects In A Christian Community

     When individuals change for the better they likely will gradually influence others to do the same; this could become the initial beginning of a community society formed of like-minded men.  In a society composed of those who practice righteousness and good behavior according to Christ’s laws.  Among the few first occurs homogeneity, second concord, third friendliness, fourth equality, fifth freedom. These attributes taken together define the well being of the resultant society. Such a community will by it nature be a free and good society. Brethren who are of the same mind or unanimous have a natural friendship toward each other, always seeking to do good to one another, being equal in honor nor will one brother exalt himself over another. Under such conditions genuine freedom exists for no brother will attempt to tyrannize another and seek to deprive him of his freedom, but will prefer to live with him in harmony and peace. Christian society or community alone is perfectly true because it abounds in all social attributes. All other societies are pseudo-societies and are by nature wicked, vicious and self-destructive.

     The rule of Christian society or community is that it works in accordance with Christian justice which prevails among its members. Christian society is righteousness and demands that each member conduct himself righteously towards the brethren of Christ, just as Christ did towards each one of us. By what He suffered, and in His great goodness Christ bestowed on each of us the greatest benefactions possible. 

     Thus each of us are obliged to return these benefactions with like deeds and sufferings to Christ in the person of His brethren. Christ will judge us in the last day as He said: “Come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him. saying, Lord when did we see you hungry and fed you?  Or thirsty and gave you to drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in? or naked and clothed you?  Or when did we see you sick or in prison and came and you?  And the King will answer, and say unto them, Amen, I say unto you, inasmuch as you have done it unto one of these least of my brethren, you have done it to me. And these shall go away to everlasting punishment; but the righteous will go into everlasting life.” 

     Christian justice expects us to do good to all the brethren of Christ, just as each of us enjoys the  goodness of Christ. Remember, insofar as we have done it to the brethren of Christ, we do it to Christ and failing to do good to one’s benefactor is an injustice. That is why they are called just who do good to Christ in the person of His brethren, and unjust those who slight them. But who are the brethren of Christ that are under the protection of Christian justice? There are some who erroneously say that it is the poverty-stricken persons and beggars of the streets, which refer to the words of Christ, but this is not so, for Christ never suggested that such persons were His brethren and equal with His disciples.

     He clearly identified the identity of His brethren while he was teaching in a certain house. "At that time, disciples came and informed Christ that His Mother and brethren were outside waiting to see Him. Here is the Scriptural account:  “Your mother and your brethren stand outside desiring to see you. And He answered  and said unto them: My mother and brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it.”  And the will of the Father is this: That people recognize Christ  as His beloved Son and listen to His voice.  According to this condition all who keep the fundamental law of the Church, whether rich or poor, all being members of the Christian society who believe in Christ hearken to His words and do them are brethren of Christ. And everyone that wishes to listen to Christ is told by Him: “Inasmuch as you did it to one of these my brethren you did it to me." It is a false teaching, contradicting the teaching of  Christ helped by all who claims, that all men in the word are equal brothers.  

     In a Christian society or community, all members are equal with one another, and the first thing necessary in such a community is to satisfy the physical needs of all its members that there will be none of them in want of anything. Everyone will work not only to take care of himself but also to help the brethren where necessary.  The Lord himself will also add His  blessings to such work by increasing the supplies available to the community. Owing to accidents such as wrecks, fires, diseases, deaths of relatives or acquaintances and the like, during such times who among the well-to-do will scornfully tolerate seeing in their brethren, Christ hungry or thirsty, naked or suffering any other such ill? All will hasten gladly and eagerly to take care of Christ in the person of His suffering brother. In doing good they will be grateful to the one they have favored with an opportunity to do good to Christ in the person of His brethren.

     No one will tolerate seeing Christ hungry or thirsty or naked or suffering or any other such ill. Christian justice does not tolerate, some who wallow in luxury while others are in need, but it wishes all to be in self-sufficiency. It attains this aim, first by obliging all Christians to be industrious and sober, second, the well-to-do should help out the needy, not under compulsion, but out of love for Christ and His brethren. A rich Christian will not use his wealth for the purpose of illicit pleasures and revels, because a Christian life finds true pleasure and delight in the Lord and the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, after supplying his own needs according to what is just and proper, he will give his surplus towards the deficiency of other, that there might be equality in all things amongst all.  All the brethren, seeing these actions, will rejoice and glorify God who inspires them.            

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Part Eleven


       The Eucharist is the divin living food so beneficial to our souls, it also makes our bodies noble and beneficial, doing only good works to others. Our body is the inseparable companion of the soul and is necessary for our various functions of both soul and body. If the body has a wicked disposition it can do harm to the soul, but if it has a good disposition, it will prove beneficial to the soul. Thus the body can be the cause of much distress or of great benefit to the soul. The old man sinned and submitted to the desires of the body resulting in mortality instead of immortality. For sin entered the world through eating what was forbidden by the divine law. Now the divine food gives man the strength to avoid sin and keep the entire law of God which results in eternal life. Sin also brought on fear of death, and it is this fear of death that Christ has changed into the death of death or immortality.  Adam and Eve hid from Lord because of sins, but eating the divine food and doing the divine work, we approach the Father with a new hope and love.

     Adam the first man was told to eat everything except from a certain tree, “for if you eat from that tree you will certainly die.”  But Jesus Christ commands the new men to eat: “Take and eat my body and drink my blood and you will never die.”  Eating and drinking contrary to the divine law arouses in the soul fear, shame, flight, condemnation and death. But eating according to the divine law is results happiness in the soul who is living in righteousness, courage, propriety, frankness, justification, and thus gaining eternal life. When a sinner changes and does right he does not remain a sinner but becomes a son. The Eucharist is offered to sons and daughters with the words “take eat”; and all who eat lawfully and keep the commandments enter the path of life everlasting.              
    The power in the mystery of the Eucharist is best comprehended by remembrance of Christ, who He is and all that He did out of love for us, for He emptied himself and became obedient to death even death on the Cross. The remembrance of how Christ, being by nature God, descended to earth and became also a man, that I being by nature a man, might ascend to heaven and become a god.  Christ suffered the greatest of all things evil that I might enjoy the greatest good of all things good, which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man. He humbled himself so that I might be exalted.  He suffered dishonor that I might be honored. He underwent hardships, afflictions, sorrows and pain, that I might find relaxation, joy, exhilaration and happiness. He died that I might live. He became a poor man without figure or beauty, that I might become a blissful god invested with honor and glory.

     But I am mentioning what He did for me, and should remember Christ not only for what He did for me, but for himself for He is exceedingly good and worthy of our love. The love of Jesus Christ is similar to a wound in the heart of those who love him. The salve and dressing  applicable to this wound is to heed every word and keep every commandment, for He alone is worthy of our love. Christ says: “All things whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets. Let us accept Christ’s commandments with enthusiasm for they will help us to achieve our goal of deification.


Part TEN


      We have mentioned that the work of faith and that of God are one, the beginning of faith being the recognition of Christ as Son of the Living God, and the end is  obedience to His voice. But work cannot be accomplished without food, and no one can do the work of God, which is the law of righteousness, without the food that is bestowed upon them for this purpose by God himself.  Work and food in both the ordinary and Christian mode of living are in the same way and depend on the same law. Work is done for the sake of food. Food further strengthens the man for the sake of accomplishing work.

     For our food the Lord feeds us with the Body and Blood of Christ as He has instructed, available only in the Divine Eucharist of our precious Orthodox Faith. He who eats the food of God receive strength to execute the Father’s will which is the law of righteousness. Without the divine food performance of the divine work is not possible.  However, He who eats the food of God can quite easily perform the task of fulfilling righteousness. This is what Christ says: “He who eats by body and drinks my blood abides in me and I in Him. And he who abides in me and I in Him bears much fruit and  “without me you can do nothing” 

     It is Christ’s desire that we become holy as He is holy and perfect as His Father in heaven is perfect, and He makes this apparent difficult task very possible, for this constitutes the work and Christ supplies himself as the necessary perfect food and drink. As if He has said: I expect all those who believe in me to achieve a great task, and to become righteous and perfect just as my heavenly Father is righteous and perfect; but great is the power also with which I will strengthen them, and make them able to do what is commanded. I will afford them my Body and Blood for him to eat and drink. That when they have been strengthened by the divine power residing therein, they shall be able to perform the will of my Father and fulfill all righteousness just as I have done. I will be in them and they with me, they will be enabled to do all things.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Part Nine


     “You have heard that it has been said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say unto you, love your enemies; bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you.  That you may be children of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and unjust. For if you love them that love you what reward do you have? Do not publicans do the same? You, therefore, be perfect even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.”  God’s negative laws inflict punishment on transgressors, but His positive laws rewards and recompenses those who serve them. So while violations, without repentance, will result in punishment, doing good according the Christ’s commandments will results in rewards.

     Christ first laid down the negative laws which inflict punishment, such as Be not angry without good cause, do not use vituperation, do not blaspheme, do not commit adultery, either by looking or in illicit marriage, do not swear at all. Do not resist evil, neither have recourse to courts of law. Then Christ lays down the law of goodness, commanding Christians to do good even to their enemies, imitating the heavenly Father, who causes His sun to shine on good and evil alike, and rains upon the just and the unjust. Loving those who loves  us will gain no reward, for it is only paying back what is equal and just.

     A perfect penalty and a perfect reward are not possible in this present life, so they are provided for in the future, the present time is the time to conform to the teaching of the Gospel and look to a reward. It is therefore wise for every man who has good sense to live in conformity with the Gospel law.  Some will say the fulfillment of the perfect law is impossible to man, and what is impossible should not be attempted. This is absurd and false because it traduces God as acting absurdly and will only come from the mouth of fools. God cannot make a law that is absurd or not possible as this would foolish in our judgment and God is not foolish nor can He be, for He is our Lord and Creator, who establishes only what is to our benefit.