|Father Demetrios Serfes - Spiritual Nourishment for the Soul - August 2000|
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St. Herman of Alaska
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For all God loving Orthodox Christians our life, both biological and the spiritual, is life to the extent that it belongs to Christ our Lord and true God. We belong to Christ when we die and rise with Him, as is taught in the Holy Gospels and the lessons of the Holy Epistles. Our ascesis (freely chosen suffering) and our freely chosen death with Christ (cf. St. Matthew 1:24; St. Mark 8:34); that is, our following Christ our Lord with consistency, as the monks do, and even those who have been known piously (as the saints) to put aside all earthly cares, and allowed Christ our Savior as the center of our their lives, can also be the center of our lives spiritually. The Holy Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom well expresses it in this prayer: "...Let us set aside all the cares of life that we may receive the King of all invisibly escorted by the Angelic hosts. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!" What we must humbly ask ourselves are some important questions, as to what we can do to help our Christian lives be for filled spiritually in the way of Christ our Lord, and His Church.
Eastern Orthodox Christianity is not a philosophy or ideology, but a way of prayer, and a way of life, with all the depth and breath of the term life. It is an experience. It is our joy, and our peace, and finally it is the truth in which Christ our Lord, His holy Apostles, the saints, and holy martyrs, as well as the holy Fathers of our Church have taught us and lead us on our path towards our salvation. Either we live in Christ, and His loving Church, in a life of constant repentance, or we are not Christ as was taught by the Holy Apostle Paul. Let me briefly explain humbly: those who are Christ (i.e. those who belong to Christ) have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Please read the Holy Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Galatians 5:24). Loving Christians are those who have been crucified with Christ, as the Holy Apostle Paul again writes humbly: "It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me." (The Holy Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Galatians 2:20). Just as those who have died and freed from sins (please read the Holy Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans 6:7), likewise he who is crucified with Christ (i.e. turns away from sins) is already dead to sin. This means for us all to arrive most humbly with great Christian love before Christ our Lord, in loving repentance when we fall into sin, God forgives us, and that God will direct us and help us, and to sin no more, is truly what He desires from us all, again let me humbly say: to sin no more, and to live in peace! Our Lord God welcomes repentance and our love for Him, as well as for one another, and His Church our Holy Orthodox Faith!
What we must ask ourselves today as Christians is how perfect is our Christian life, as well as how holy is it, and how peaceful is it going to be not only on this day, but also the next day? Then we finally have to ask ourselves, how are we going to overcome our sins? We must work on them every day, every hour, and every minute, and how do we do this with great Christian love. Listen to what St. Herman of Alaska said for us to be spiritually nourished: "From this day,.from this hour,from this minute, let us strive to love God above all, and fulfill His holy will".
Our Christian lives and purpose on this earth then is for filled, when we recognize "...that the whole day (or evening) may be perfect, holy, peace, and sinless, let us ask of the Lord." The response by the faithful is: "Grant This O Lord!"
May our Gracious God help us all to humbly fulfill His holy will.
Through the prayers of the Holy Fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us, and save us! Amen!
Peace be unto your soul!
God Love And Bless You!
Humbly In Christ Our Lord,
+ Reverend Presbyter Demetrios Serfes
Who prays for you and with you!
August 6, 2000