The mysteries of our Faith are unknown and not understandable to those who are not repenting.
~Archpriest Nicholas Deputatov, 'Awareness of God' in the Orthodox Word Magazine, July-August 1976
This little snippet from The Desert Fathers list seemed very appropriate as I pray this morning.
We are in the midst of national woes on many fronts, and the voices are crying out in increasing strident tones for many conflicting solutions, most of which ignore the "simpler" solutions that require admissions of guilt and greed. Some even realize that there is no "magic pill," but many are looking for one that doesn't exist.
Within Holy Mother Church, scandals and heresies would rip the heart out. Financial malfeasance, immorality, heresy, false teaching all raise their heads … and there are strident voices from every side seeking easy relief, a wink of the eye, or denial of the ancient faith so that "we can all get along."
One doesn't hear many calling for repentance though. Sometimes we are so busy looking at everyone else that we don't look within. We don't confess – and there is no true repentance, no metania, as we quickly mouth the words and then try to get on with life.
Within parishes, priests who truly call parishioners to repentance are soon marginalized as "not nice" or "too strident" and they are called to be "more pastoral" – as though salvation isn't that important in the whole stream of things.
Perhaps, in these very troubled times (which may well be those of which Jesus warned in St Matthew's Gospel), we would be well advised to shut off the TV, block out all the shouts and yells, all the maneuvering and posturing, and to cease those things within ourselves, to pray, fast, seek God and His blessing as we live "for the life of the world." It is time to receive the mysteries of Confession, of Unction, to indeed seek to live the commandments.
Perhaps the reason that so many seem not to know or understand the mysteries of the faith, even within the faithful are indeed summarized by Father Nicholas.
Jesus called His own to repent – and then sent them out with that same message. And that is the message of Holy Mother Church, Repent! The Hour is at hand! Repent and Be saved.
Pray. Fast. Receive the Mysteries. Love your enemy. Love your neighbor.
In all of these seek and serve God that the Holy Spirit will indeed work the life of Christ in you, and give you peace in these tumultuous times!
It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me!
God grant it for Christ's sake!