Sunday, March 13, 2016


The Holy Apostle writes to the Romans, "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of our sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed."  Indeed, it is already the 11th hour--and Christ stands at the door of our heart patiently awaiting our repentance.  "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light."

Do you see, my friends, with what urgency our Lord beseeches us to awaken from the slumber of lukewarm indifference, that we might struggle to subdue the passions of the flesh that so entangle us?  Let us, therefore, strive to put "on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." 

Let us, above all, heed the words of our Lord:  "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."  Our failure to forgive our brother is, in fact, the greatest obstacle to the renewal of our spiritual lives during this blessed season of the Great Fast appointed by the Church for our salvation.  It is a spiritual law that the grace of God simply cannot penetrate an embittered and unforgiving heart--no matter how strictly we may fast and pray--and heaven forbid we should dare to approach the holy chalice to partake of Christ's precious Body and Blood while we bear a grudge or any sort of resentment against our neighbor!

Nor can we justify ourselves by claiming that we are the innocent victim, that it is we who have been offended: even if this were true (though not one of us can truthfully claim to be blameless), our forgiveness--like God's--must be heartfelt and unconditional, not dependent on our brother's "worthiness" to be forgiven.  After all, our Lord took flesh and died on behalf of us all precisely because we are miserable sinners in need of salvation. 

Consider: We have all offended God every single day of our lives, in thought, word and deed: yet He is ever ready to forgive a humble and contrite heart.  Shall we not, then, be willing and eager to forgive a fellow sinner like unto our self, not once or twice, but even unto seventy times seven times--considering that we ourselves are unworthy sinners in dire need of God's salvation? 

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