On the Faith

Translation of the relics of the Venerable Sergius the Wonderworker of Valaam

Translation of the relics of the Venerable Sergius the Wonderworker of Valaam

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.

ON THE FAITH
(Source: Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives. The life and teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)

Some say that they are atheists, but there is no such thing as an atheist...No such thing. Even the devil believes and trembles (cf. St. James 2:19), but he refuses to do good. There is no such thing as a person who does not believe in God, and there is no rational being on earth that does not long after life with all his heart. We will give anything to live eternally, and we all long after perfect love, love that never changes but lasts forever. God is life, He is love, peace, and joy. There are those who oppose Him, but they can do nothing to hurt Him. It is we who complicate our own lives with our negative thoughts.

No one can save us except the One Who created us. The Lord could have chosen to save us in a different manner, for He is Almighty and All-powerful. Instead, He took upon Himself our human nature and showed us by His own example the way of righteousness. Had He chosen to save us in any other way, we could say to Him, "You are the Almighty God. You were never a man as I am; You were never hungry or thirsty, sad or sorrowful." This is why God took upon Himself all of human nature. The Apostles write in the Holy Scriptures that the Lord's earthly life had many more sorrowful moments than joyous ones. No one ever saw Him laugh as we do when we are joyful; He was always sorrowful because of our sins, He took everything upon Himself. Even today, He bears the burden of our sins. And we have not accepted Him, although He was a man just like us in all things except, of course, in sin.

In this life each of us has his job to do. When we, the little people, know how to go about our tasks and put things in their appropriate places, imagine how much He--Who is All-encompassing and Who provides for the whole world--knows about each thing, great or small, that is in the world. The Lord is God not only of great things but also of the small, even of those things smaller than atoms. He is God and the Creator of all. He knows how to rule over all things. Our job is to conform to Him and become of one mind with Him, for He wants His rational flock, which has wandered away from His and His love, to return to Him. But this is very difficult for us.

Nothing ever happens either in the world or in the universe without the will of God or His permission. All that is good and noble is God's will, and all that is negative and bad happens because He allows it. He knows why He allows these things to happen and for how long. If the incorporeal Angelic powers or we men were allowed to do as we please, there would be total chaos in the world and in the entire universe. But God is present everywhere and He is Light, a Light that penetrates all.

One cannot say that Christianity is a religion. Christianity is a revelation of eternity and life. The Angels rejoice greatly because God has revealed Himself mystically to His creature, man. Our human nature has become part of the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and that is a great gift which we do not even appreciate; instead, we have cleaved to the things of this world. We have been given the opportunity to prepare ourselves for eternity, to vanquish evil, and to always be with our heavenly Father.

Every living thing seeks love: man, animals, and plants. All people seek God and long for Him, regardless of whether they are believers or unbelievers. Some people call themselves atheists, but they do not know that in their hearts they long after God. For when someone yearns for justice, love and truth, he is really yearning after God. All people long for love that never changes and justice that is always the same. All living things long for God. The only difference is that some oppose Him and others don't, some yearn after Him consciously while others are not aware that their yearning is really after God.

There will be no sleeping until the Second Coming of Christ, as some sectarians teach. (This false doctrine--that the soul "sleeps" or is "unconscious" after death--is taught by Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists, and others.) How can the soul sleep? The soul is always awake and active. Our bodies are unable to follow the soul in this activity and need sleep. During sleep the body and the soul are in a way separated for a time, while the body is resting and renewing its energy. During that time the soul is in a world of its own. There it can come into contact with the souls of the dead and with spiritual realms. When we wake up we very rarely remember our dreams. Of course, there are also those dreams in which the soul reproduces that which it sees and does while awake.

I will tell you a few words on what the laws of the Holy Church, that is, the canonical rules written by the Holy Fathers, say about those who are temporarily banned from Holy Communion. The Church does not permit those who have committed murder to approach the chalice until they have repented. Likewise, until they repent, Holy Communion is not given to those who engage in occult practices such as magic or those who frequent so-called psychics and sorcerers. Also, women who have had abortions are under penance to abstain from Holy Communion until they have repented. This is a great sin before God, and it is a reason why such terrible misfortunes have befallen our nation. The Church also forbids Holy Communion to those who have not made peace with their friends and family, who harbor hatred for a neighbor and have not forgiven them. The Lord forbids such people to approach the holy chalice because we are all the work of His hands; we all belong to Him. If we want eternal life with Him, then we must forgive everyone from the heart.

And so, my dear ones, approach with a peaceful heart, pure feelings and a clear conscience in order to receive the most pure Body and Blood of our Lord. You see how it was the will of the Lord for us to be like Him not only in spirit, but in the flesh as well. We are His kin in the flesh, in the spirit, and in the soul. ("Spirit" here refers to the highest faculty of the soul: the nous.) He gives all of Himself to us. Do you see how He gives Himself to us without reservation? He gives us His Most Pure Body and His Most Precious Blood in order that we might have eternal life and be in communion with Him. For this He wants us to have a pure heart and to be like the Angels and Saints. Therefore, we must forgive everyone from the heart, for everything belongs to God. We must not have a single negative thought when we receive the Lord. If we receive the Lord while at the same time breeding hateful thoughts toward a neighbor, we are receiving Him not unto our salvation but unto judgment. And so, my children, let every one of you examine your soul and approach the holy chalice.

We have been baptized in Christ our Lord. We are only formal Christians; we are not as God wants us to be. There is nothing good in us--there cannot be, since we have negative thoughts and become angry, despising our neighbor. We read books, but we do not understand. Which of the philosophers and scientists has been able to say of himself, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (St. John 14:6)? Not one of them. Not one of them was able to say, "I am the Bread of Life" (St. John 6:35) or, "He who believes in Me will have eternal life" (cf. St. John 3:16). People are very narrow-minded. They understand very little. They are closer to lies than to the truth.

We are called to do good deeds, but it is not through good deeds that we are saved. If we were to be saved by our deeds, then it would not have been necessary for the Lord to come down and save us. We are saved only by the mercy of God. It is the grace of God that saves. The Lord saves. We can get a reward for our good deeds, but salvation is from God.

We have not committed ourselves to the will of God--we believe that everything is in our hands and that we must decide about everything, that God has other things to do in the world. "Will He think about us? we often ask. This means that we have very little faith and that we put very little trust in the Lord. God thinks about everything and provides for everyone. Our eyes should be on Him. For He says, "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent" (St. John 17:3). This means that every event and every little detail around us and in us reveals the Lord's Divine Providence and His consent. Nothing in the entire universe happens without either the will of God or His consent. Everything we see that is good and harmonious is the result of the will of God. As for anything that is in chaos, God knows why it is like that and why He has permitted it. He sets the limits. What we must know is that He is present everywhere.

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MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

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Glory Be To GOD For All Things!

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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (service)
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George