Spiritual Freedom or Spiritual Slavery?

"Everything is superficial. Beneath the outward appearance that is elegant and smooth is concealed an entirely different spirit, which, if it were to be brought to light, would be found to be neither elegant nor even tolerable. So, it turns out that when we gather together, we are a collection of hypocritical actors and actresses. What a comedy! Furthermore, what I find most astonishing is the coldness coming from everyone. How could this be?...Indeed, everyone seems to be everyone else's friend, ready to give them the shirt off their back, but there is an underlying coldness."

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The Sunday of the Last Judgment

The two past Sundays spoke to us of God's patience and limitless compassion, of His readiness to accept every sinner who returns to Him. On this third Sunday, we are powerfully reminded of a complementary truth: no one is so patient and so merciful as God, but even He does not forgive those who do not repent. The God of agape (love) is also a God of righteousness, and when Christ comes again in glory, He will come as our judge. 'Behold the goodness and severity of God' (Romans 11:22). Such is the message of holy Lent to each of us: turn back while there is still time, repent before the end comes. In the words of the Great Canon:

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The Saturday Before Meatfare Sunday is the First Saturday of Souls

Through the Apostolic Constitutions (Book VIII, ch. 42), the Church of Christ has received the tradition to make commemorations for the departed on the third, ninth, and fortieth days after their repose. Since many throughout the ages, because of untimely death in a faraway place, or other adverse circumstances, have died without being deemed worthy of the appointed memorial services, the divine Fathers, being so moved in their love for man, have decreed that a common memorial be made this day for all pious Orthodox Christians who have reposed from all ages past, so that those who did not have particular memorial services may be included in this common one for all. Also, the Church of Christ teaches us that alms (charity) should be given to the poor by the departed one's kinsmen as a memorial for him.

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The Struggle for Virtue

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this, you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming; and is now already in the world" (1 John 4:1-3).

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On Happiness

There are conflicting ideas about happiness; some think it is a sum of earthly good things, a kind of social welfare package that makes a person's life comfortable and carefree. Each to his own, but nevertheless, in this case, you either got lucky and are happy, or you are left to drag out the pitiful existence of the luckless. This idea of happiness is primitive and over-simplified.

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