|Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes - Spiritual Nourishment for the Soul - March 2005|
O What A Lord Is Ours!
In the Holy Orthodox Church Great Lent begins on March 14th, and this is a time for all of us to fully realize - in our hearts, minds, and souls - just what a Lord is ours!
The first thing we discover may appear obvious, but we need to recognize it: that the Lord God is not like us, however we should strive to be like Him. He is a God who is meek, very merciful, and good. Think about these three words and let them penetrate your soul, allowing you inmost being to marvel with spiritual joy. This is what many of us need to do as we begin to know God and learn what a loving God He is and how much He cares about us in every moment of our daily living.
With this love of our God now moving in our hearts by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we are gently blessed, sure in the knowledge that the love of God will never abandon us, but simply and wonderfully help us to grow spiritually. Our hearts begin to burn within us when we finally realize that the presence and love of God have become part of our lives.
After His glorious Resurrection, when his disciples were still bewildered and uncertain after the experiences of those awful days in Jerusalem, He met with two of them as they were walking to the village of Emmaus. As we read in St. Luke 24: 13-32, He spoke with them, opening up the Scriptures to their understanding, and their eyes were finally opened to who He was as He broke bread with them. Their reaction is the same as ours can be as His presence fills us: "did not our heart burn within us?" Their souls were beautifully warmed, and it is that shared warmth of His love that brings joyful recognition when we approach another person who also loves our God. Sadly enough many of us are beginning to lose this love for one another, as we have allowed ourselves to love the world instead, rejecting God's purposes and values for those of men. Instead, we should seek Paradise, and allow Paradise to have a home within us!
How do we really love the Lord God? Some of us say we love Him only at those times when we need Him. Others love Him to only a small degree, forgetting Him when the distractions of the world come. And others, sadly, indeed tragically, do not love Him at all, excluding themselves from His abundant blessings.
For those who truly love our Lord God the soul becomes at peace within itself, and every second of our lives we are continually conscious of His presence. This identifies the true loving servant and handmaiden of our Lord. Finally we have found a faithful loving Christian, and individual who never wants or desires to be without God in their lives.
What a Lord is ours! He and He alone through His grace gives us Christians the ability and strength to love beyond our simple human capacity. As we each have a heart we should use that heart to love God and our neighbor. Just as His love covers over a multitude of our sins, we have not need to judge one another, to gossip, and to pry into other people's affairs. Who among us does not have faults and weaknesses? We all do, remember that Great Lent is a time to seek the Lord and let Him show us how to overcome these faults and weaknesses. This is truly a time for personal repentance. It is a time to learn to know God, and to realize what a loving God He is, Who loves us all, and wants to guide us on the right path towards our salvation.
The great virtue of humility will help too. Let us humble ourselves before God, so that we might become worthy of His. Allow our Lord to reward us with many gifts, especially His humility, so that at the last we may be worthy to enter the heavenly mansions, which the Lord has already prepared for us love Him and one another.
What a Lord is ours, Who has ordained this special time of Great Lent so that we may experience the humbling of our hearts as we come in repentance to offer ourselves anew to Him. What joy it is, having experienced His cleaning and forgiveness, to be able to bring Him the fruit of our lips, as we praise, honor and glorify our God with our brothers and sisters in the faith.
The great mercy and love of our God is now before us. May you and your beloved family have a spiritually rewarding Great Lent that now becomes a Holy Lent for us all! Let us seek it to be ever holy!
Peace to your soul!
Humbly In Christ Our Lord,
+Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
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(c) Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes