Beloved brothers and sisters,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!
O Lord, make me worthy to know You and love You, not in knowledge arising from mental exercise and the dispersion of the mind, but make me worthy of that knowledge whereby the mind, in beholding You, glorifies Your Nature in this vision which steals from the mind the awareness of the world. Account me worthy to rise above the vision of the will which begets fantasies and to behold You in the constraint of the bond of the Cross, in the second part of the crucifixion of the intellect, which rests free from the activity of its thoughts by abiding in Your continuous vision, which is beyond nature. Instill in me the growth of Your love, that I may come forth from this world and follow after Your fervent love. Raise up in me understanding of Your humility, wherewith you did sojourn in the world, in the tenement composed of our members, which You put on through the mediation of the Holy Virgin; may I, in the unceasing memory of this humility of my nature. Amen.
THE HOLY GERONDES [ELDERS] AND SAINTS SPEAK
HOLD ON TO OUR FAITH WHICH IS ETERNAL AND DEFINITE
by Saint Luke Archbishop of Crimea
...the spiritual world cannot be investigated using the same methods as the material world. Those methods are completely unsuitable for investigating the spiritual world...There are phenomena that science will never be able to explain because it does not use the appropriate methods...
Can scientific study tell us how the great prophet Isaiah foretold the most important events in Christ's life 700 years before His Birth? Can it explain the Saints' gift of clairvoyance and tell us through which natural methods they acquired this grace and how they were able, as soon as they saw someone, to understand their heart and read their mind? Without waiting for a question from their visitor, they would give them an answer to what was troubling them. Let them explain to us how the Saints foretold great historical events that later took place exactly the way they had prophesied...
...Do not be scandalized when you hear what is said against our faith, since the ones that say these things do not comprehend its essence...Always remember the fundamental principle that the first Christians knew well. They considered miserable the man who had knowledge of all the sciences but had no knowledge of God. Contrarily, they considered the one who knew God blessed, even if he knew nothing of what pertains to man.
Guard over this truth as if it were the greatest of your heart's treasures. Proceed forward and do not look to the right or to the left. Let not what is heard against our faith make us lose our way. Let us keep our faith which is an Eternal and definite truth. Amen.
WHICH TEACHINGS DO WE FOLLOW?
"May the Lord help us always follow the way of justice..."
"...We accept only those teachings that nourish our self-love and ego and help us follow our own way of sin. We fight against anything that comes in contrast with our goals, anything that rebukes the futility of our erroneous path. We fight truth because we follow the teachings that we ourselves have created or that we have heard from others. The ones that are in agreement with our desire, to live well in this temporary life.
Whatever is in agreement with our goals and the path that we have chosen we regard as true. We unquestionably accept it and project it as grounds for defending our own convictions and the mistaken teachings we follow, which do not agree with what Christ taught and for which we know deep in our heart are incorrect...May the Lord help always follow the way of justice within Christ's Light. Amen.
HOW GOD CAN BE INSIDE MAN
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovic
(A letter to a soldier of a student's brigade who asks how God can be inside man)
You asked somebody, "where is God?" And you got an answer that God is inside you. And you marvel at this answer. How can that be?
It's kind like a light in a room, or like fire in a stove. When you are able to feel God within you, you will feel and know that He is inside you, but you will not be able to explain it to someone else. But you will look for images in nature and then you will speak to the other person as I speak to you: God is within me like light in a room, or a like fire in a stove, or like air in the lungs, or like life in every creature, or like force and love and thought inside of man. Of course, these are just images and likenesses, and they cannot express what man feels when God dwells within him in His fullness. God's Apostles, our spiritual Father Paul, wishes for the faithful to be filled with all fullness in God (Ephesians 3:19). God works from within a man in two ways: by helping and by governing.
When helping, God works within a man of medium or weak faith, who only occasionally remembers God and only keeps His Commandments partially. God does not abandon him because he also does not completely abandon God. However, God acts through governing in a man of great faith, who has opened wide the doors of his soul to his Creator. And it is written, "He who opens the door I will enter to him" (Revelation 3:20). Such a man does not rely on himself at all but only on the Almighty God. He feels the presence and the working of the Spirit of God within himself and has great love toward his Lord. And Christ has promised to the one who loves God that God will come and dwell within him. "He who loves me will keep my word and my Father will love him. And we will come to him and will make our abode within him." You will not be able to understand this, if you forget that God is a spirit, Who can enter everything and be everywhere, according to His power, and will. He is high above the earth but its light can enter every open thing. As the Apostle says: "one God and the Father of all Who is above all and through all" (Ephesians 4:6). He writes this about the holy and the faithful.
But when someone rejects God, starts thinking ugly thoughts and speaking against God, God also leads him. It is the same as if somebody would close off the windows of a room and prevent the light from coming in and illuminating everything. For God's Prophet Samuel said to the self-willed king Saul, "You have rejected the word of the Lord and for this the Lord has rejected you...and the Spirit of the Lord abandoned Saul." But even though God abandons a soul of stubborn man, He does not stop working on him from without, the way He works on water and stone and wood. But if a man remains stubborn and resists God until the end and refuses to repent, then God allows an evil spirit to enter in. Like it is written about Saul when the Spirit of the Lord abandoned him: "and an evil spirit disturbed him from the Lord." Or as it is written, even worse, about Judas the betrayer: "Satan entered into him".
Such people, who rise against God, of course, can never feel God within themselves or say, "God is inside of us." And those who love God, and desire Him, as see Him, and entreat Him to come they feel God within themselves and they can say, "God is within us by His Holy Spirit". Blessed are such bright souls, for they will always reign in the Kingdom of Christ. As the Lord has promised to those who love Him saying, "I will take you to Myself so that you may be where I am."
(to be continued)
With sincere agape in Our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God