Sunday, June 14, 2009

Deadly Fruit, Polluted Sacrifices & Keeping an Eye on that One Evil Person

To keep things real on this glorious All Saints Day 2009, this passage from The Arena by Bishop Ignatius (Brianchaninov) will serve us well,

"St. John Kolovos, one of the greatest Fathers of the Egyptian Skete, said: 'It is not possible to build a house by beginning from the top, but the structure must be begun from the foundation and built up to the roof.' When asked what the foundation meant, he replied: 'The foundation is our neighbour. We must win him and begin with him. On him are based all the commandments of Christ.' Saint Mark the Ascetic said: 'It is impossible to be saved otherwise than through one's neighbour.' This is what is held and taught by all the holy Fathers; this is the general Christian teaching, the teaching of the Church, the teaching of Christ. Direct all your attention to the acquisition of love for you neighbour as the basis of your life and you monastic task."

"The love planted by God in our nature was damaged by the fall and cannot act correctly. On no account allow it to act! Its actions have lost their purity; they are abominable in God's sight, like a polluted sacrifice. The fruits of its actions are soul-destroying, deadly. Love your neighbour in the following way: Do not get angry with him and do not bear resentment or a grudge against him. Do not allow yourself to say to your neighbour any reproachful, abusive, sarcastic or caustic words. Maintain peace with him as far as possible. Humble yourself in his presence. Do not try to have your revenge on him either directly or indirectly. Whenever possible, yield to him. Get out of the habit of arguing and quarelling, and reject it as a sign of pride and self-love. Speak well of those who speak evil of you. Pay good for evil. Pray for those who cause you various offences, wrongs, temptations, persecutions. Whatever you do, on no account condemn anyone; do not even try to judge whether a person is good or bad, but keep your eyes on that one evil person for whom you must give an account before God - yourself. "

I once heard it said that the mark of a true Christian is love for his enemies.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, for the sake of the prayers of thy most pure Mother, and of all the saints, save me, a sinner.

Blessed Feast to All.

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