Wednesday, October 26, 2016


The Holy Apostle Paul writes to the Hebrews, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever.  Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines."  For truly Jesus Christ is--as the Holy Fathers teach with one accord--of one essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit.  Indeed, the Holy Fathers who came together at the Ecumenical Councils to speak with one voice the Mind of the Church were trumpets of the Holy Spirit, inspired to proclaim that eternal and unchangeable Truth once delivered by the Apostles and sealed by the blood of the martyrs. 

Nevertheless, the prevailing "wisdom" nowadays is that truth is relative, that it changes over the course of time according to the spirit of the age and the whims and fancies of each individual.  For this reason, innumerable "divers and strange doctrines" have made their appearance throughout the world, contradicting not only one another, but--more importantly--the divine Revelation entrusted to the Church and preserved as Holy Tradition throughout the ages.  But if Truth is firmly grounded in the unchangeable God and therefore reflects the reality of things as they truly are--how could it be subject to change? 

Here we should consider as well the current preoccupation  with the phenomenon  of "virtual reality."  We need only place over our heads an electronic device and we can fashion for ourselves an alternate (but false) reality, that we might--according our own inner thoughts and desires, which have been utterly distorted by the Fall--determine what is, for us, the Truth.  What madness!  Yet this belief that the Truth is malleable and in continual flux, dependent upon the godlike potential of each individual to choose for himself his own destiny, is in fact a disease that infects not only the so-called
"churches," but even threatens to distort and to pervert the teachings of the one, true Church of God, the Orthodox Church--that foundation upon which the universe has been established!

Nor is this spirit of Antichrist anything new: from the earliest day, such heretic as Arius and Nestorius have sought to impose their own perverted, rationalistic understanding of God's revelation upon the faithful--deceiving, if possible, even the elect.  It was for this reason that the Fathers were compelled to boldly proclaim the Truth to the whole world, to cast out of the Church those wolves in sheep's clothing, that the gates of hell shall not, unto the end of time, prevail against the Church of God.  It behooves us, then--as faithful Orthodox Christians--to remain firm in our Faith unto the bitter end, lest Satan snatch our souls, and we find ourselves eternally bereft of hope in a hell of our own making, in that place of darkness, where there shall be "weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Sunday, October 9, 2016


"And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon Him to hear the word of God," our Lord entered Peter's fishing boat and spoke to the multitudes.  Then--after he had finished his sermon--he said to Peter, "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught."  Peter replied that though he and his companions had already been fishing all night and caught nothing, "nevertheless at Thy word I will let down the net."  And so it was that such a multitude of fish was caught, that two boats could barely contain them, and were on the verge of sinking.

It was because Peter was willing to take such a leap of faith--acting in obedience to a command that some might consider to be contrary to common sense--that he is deemed worthy by our Lord to become a fisher of men.  Having proved himself faithful in small things, Peter is empowered by the grace of God to become the foremost of apostles.

But alas... I find myself woefully lacking in that boldness exemplified by St. Peter.  You see, I (like many of us) much prefer to remain in my comfort zone, to play it safe, content to remain in the shallows, where there may indeed be fewer fish and no prospect for adventure... but at least I won't face the risk of going too far in my zeal for the Faith.  After all, this religious stuff is all very fine as far as it goes, but one must (according to the worldly way of thinking) be practical.  Trusting God is one thing, but there's got to be a limit as to how far I'm willing to go out onto a limb. 

But Peter was anything but practical.  He was impulsive, fervent, fiercely loyal, and totally dedicated, willing to cast caution to the wind, serving Christ unto the bitter end--whatever the consequences!  And it should be noted as well that his conviction was based not on some abstract devotion to a cause--his faith was not ideological, but rather personal, based upon his relationship with the Person of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who is the Son of the Living God and one of the Holy Trinity.  His unconditional loyalty was inspired by love, which is the Source and Foundation of our Faith.

As the Holy Apostle, Evangelist, and Theologian John (whose memory we commemorate today) so eloquently expresses in his epistle, "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwellest in God, and God in him."  Herein lies the essence of the Christian Faith: that "we love Him, because He first loved us."  And again, "perfect love casteth out fear."  For truly... if God is for us, who or what can ever be against us?  If the love of God in Christ Jesus dwells in our hearts, then we are truly empowered to become conquerors against every machination of the Devil, and to become inheritors of eternal life in God's heavenly Kingdom.