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.
"PURSUE PEACE WITH ALL PEOPLE..." (Hebrews 12:14)
In his Epistle to the Hebrews Saint Paul says, "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which n one will see the Lord." The Christian believes that Christ is our peace and therefore the way of peace is the way of Christ. Pelagius writes: "Everything which resembles the teaching of God is at peace with Him, but everything which is contrary to it is at odds with Him." Saint Basil the Great speaking on the significance of peace writes: "For the true peace is above. Yet, as long as we were bound to the flesh, we were yoked to many things which trouble us. Seek, then, after peace, a release from the troubles of this world. Possess a calm mind, a tranquil and unconfused state of soul, which is neither agitated by the passions nor drawn aside by false doctrines that challenge by their persuasiveness to an assent, in order that you may obtain 'the peace of God which surpasses all understanding and guards your heart.' He who seeks after peace, seeks Christ, because 'He Himself is our peace,' Who has made two men into one new man, making peace, and 'making peace through the blood of His Cross, whether on earth or in heaven." (Homilies 16.10)
Humanity throughout the world is at war with itself. Human passions are out of control. Mankind is blinded by hated and evil. Is it possible that the human race has lost its way? The denial of the existence of God, the unwillingness to believe in Him and to obey Him is the principle reason for the chaos that exists in society today. A saintly elder was asked, "Geronda (Elder) why is there is so much suffering, anger, turmoil, hatred, violence and evil in the world? The Geronda (Elder) answered, "as long as the human race decides to apostasize from God, all the evil things that are happening will not only continue, but conditions in the world will definitely become worse."
Without Christ there is no peace! Without Christ is there is no love. Without Christ there is forgiveness. Without Christ there is no salvation. Without Christ there is no reconciliation. Without Christ there is no unity. Without Christ there is no purpose or meaning in life. Without Christ there is no sense of community. Without Christ there is no compassion. Therefore the key and solution to the insanity faced and experienced by the world is Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the world.
The enemy of mankind is the evil one, Satan. He seeks the destruction of the human race. He is the enemy that pursues our soul just like a hunter does. The holy Apostle Peter writes: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world" (1 Peter 5:8-9).
"The devil and his angels (demons) explore us individually, looking for our weaknesses. The enemy offers appealing visions to our eyes, music to our ears, to each of our senses setting forth whatever might tempt us to sin. He arouses our tongues to speak evil about others, and urges our hands to injure them. He sets forth profits to be earned by shady and immoral means, and holds out earthly honors and false values to be preferred to heavenly ones. When he is unable to tempt us, he brings forth a threat of persecution so that fear may cause us to betray the faith. Thus we must always be alert for his many-faceted attacks, ready to resist him at every turn." (Orthodox Study Bible, p. 558)
We, as Orthodox Christians, are reminded at the Sacrament of Holy Baptism that "any evil spirit which brings defective reasoning and confusion of thought." We are witnessing the above first hand. As Orthodox Christians we must always seek to be instruments of love, peace, and reconciliation. To love our enemy, to seek always to do good, to pray, to have faith in God, to adhere to His divine Commandments, to be virtues and teach others by example, to bring harmony and unity, to love our neighbor and fellow man.
As Christians we must remember the Divine words of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who said, "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will by loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon" (St. Luke 16:13). Humanity is struggling to choose between good and evil. The decision is ours. The battle that we witness today is whether we will serve God (Good) or evil (Satan). The troops have gathered from both sides and the war is on. However, I can tell you with certainty that God will be victorious and Satan will be defeated once and for all.
Be alert, be vigilant, be watchful and pray that our Savior will be compassionate and merciful to us as we face this evil among us. Saint Paul writes to the Thessalonians, Chapter 4, "Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing" (1 Thes. 4:1-12).
And please remember that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry)
The sinner and unworthy servant of God,