Monday, June 30, 2014


"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God," the Holy Apostle assures us, and again..."If God is for us, who can be against us?"  Therefore, our Lord counsels us to "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness," and all things whatsoever needful in this earthly life shall be added unto us. 

It is a sure and certain truth that all who strive to live godly lives, bearing bold witness to our faith in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution and tribulation, and it is only through our patient endurance unto the end that we shall be saved--because it is only by means of suffering that we can acquire the abundant grace of God to strengthen and confirm us in the Faith. 

But his means that if we truly desire salvation, we cannot serve two masters.  Unfortunately, many who consider themselves faithful Orthodox Christians--while professing to love Christ and His commandments--seek at the same time to pursue a worldly life, striving to avoid at any cost the pain and discomfort that is natural for those who are committed  to a God fearing life.  Thus, they allow themselves to become enslaved to the demands of a consumer society according to which the acquisition of material goods and the false sense of security they bring becomes the main goal of our earthly sojourn.

We must, however, avoid casting aspersions on others--especially the rich and powerful of this world.  The truth is, we have all to some extent become entrapped in this delusion.  When Constantinople finally fell to the Turks in 1453, many Christians succumbed to the temptation of apostasy, embracing Islam for the sake of receiving material and social benefits.  Others--while remaining outwardly faithful--nevertheless feared the consequences of bearing bold witness to the truth of Orthodoxy.  Finally, there were those who went underground--remaining faithful inwardly while outwardly pretending to accept Islam.  (May God alone judge them according to the secret contents of their hearts).

The New Martyrs, on the other hand, not only refused to renounce Christ, but they were willing (strengthened by the grace of God) to suffer torture, imprisonment and death for His sake.  Thus, they were "more than conquerors" through Him Who loved them, "and nothing was able to separate them from the love of God."

If the radical Muslims of our own day and age have their way, history could repeat itself in Europe and America.  Or if the Muslims fail in their attempt to enslave the world, it seems likely that oppression and persecution will eventually come at the hands of a secular, humanistic, authoritarian New World Order.  So the question remains for all of us: are we prepared to remain firm and faithful in our profession of Orthodoxy no matter the consequences, or shall we in the end capitulate to the Powers that Be and risk eternal damnation in the fires of hell?   

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