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.
AN ADMONISHING EPISTLE ON OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR NEIGHBOR AND ON THE MEANING OF SORROWS
By monk Markellos Karakallinos [Publication Orthodox Kypseli]
Nothing makes the way for the approach of God easier as does the mercy that is offered from the depth of the soul for those who are in need. The Lord said: "Inasmuch you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to Me" (St. Matthew 25:40).
The one who heals the needs of the others like God, imitates God, through philanthropy and demonstrates that he bears within himself in analogy with God, the power of providence for the salvation of his brother.
Who therefore is so indifferent that does not wish to be like God, in other words, wishing to approach that which is in His likeness while the manner of doing good and of sympathy towards his neighbor is so easy? Without compassion and love towards the neighbor, no virtue can remain undefiled.
Let us learn the habit of observing and examining only ourselves, and never bother ourselves with the actions of the others. We should recognize only one judge, wise and just, the Holy God, Who judges with wisdom and justice, everything that happened and even for the reason they happened.
Let us limit ourselves by severing every connection to the external and now allow our eye to see, nor our ear to hear, not even the tongue to talk about the things of others. Let us use more sympathy than empathy towards others.
Let us listen to the divine preacher Paul who advises us: "I beg you to behave with all humility and meekness, and longsuffering, forbearing one another in love" (Ephesians 4:2). "If therefore different and varied gifts and not the same were given to others, there should be absolutely no reason that this distribution should be the cause of enmity between you. For this distribution was not done by chance but was done by Christ Himself. But for every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ" (Ephesians 4:7).
"Put away the old man of your earlier way of life who is corrupted by the deceitful lusts and be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new man who is created according to God in the holiness of truth" (Ephesians 4:22-24). For if we endeavor this with ourselves then we shall succeed "that we walk worthy of God who calls us to His Kingdom and glory" (1 Thess. 2:12). Holy God grants us His grace, but we have to recognize that whatever good we may do it is not done by us but by God. We must sympathize with the one who lacks and do not believe that he is a sinner, such as lazy, evil, chatterer, thief, liar. If we acquire this awareness, we shall never criticize anyone even when we see him sinning mortally. We shall think thus: "He does not have Your grace my Christ that is why he sins. If you leave me, I too will do the same and even worse. You help me and I can stand on my feet. The brother sees that much and he does that much."
You ask from your brother what God has not given him. If you'll understand well what I tell you, everybody will not be responsible but only you. If you therefore wish your neighbor to be always good as it pleases you, remove his offences with the grace (gifts) you have..."
"It is just to pray for God to remove his offences so that he may see and act correctly. If however you will ask differently to receive your justice, you will appear unjust and would be necessary therefore for the gift (grace) to keep going back and forth until it finds comfort in your soul. For that much grace one is entitled to have as he agreeably endures the offense. As much weight your neighbor patiently bears (Elder Joseph the Spilliote). Another faster way does not exist for one to persist in the offences that visit us whatever they may be. (Source: Pantokratoras)
(To be continued)
"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