Saturday, November 5, 2016

The soul is the best church of God, ( Saint Silouan the Athonite )

For prayer we have been given churches, in which services are conducted according to books, but you cannot take a church with you, and even books are not always available, whereas internal prayer is with you always and in all places. Holy rites are performed in churches in the presence of the Holy Spirit, but the soul is the best church of God, and whoever prays in the soul knows the world as his church. But this is not for everyone.

Saint Silouan the Athonite

We cannot serve two masters ( part 3 )

The second reason that “no one can serve two masters”is due to the fact that God’s law is diametrically opposed to the laws of the secular
world. What does God’s law command us first and foremost? To love every person like ourselves , to love even our enemies and to do good to those
who harm us. The laws of the worldly society, on the other hand, teach us that it is acceptable to hate them who wrong us, that it is logical to seek
revenge, and that there is nothing wrong with being ungrateful toward our benefactors. God commands us to show compassion to the poor and needy, to help them, and to be charitable to them. 

The world, on the other hand, advises us that we are not obligated to help others,and it recommends that we hoard and save our money, in order to use it for our own personal enjoyment alone. God commands us to speak the truth; the world, on the other hand, hates nothing more than the truth. This is why Christ states, “the Spirit of truth, which the world is not able to receive, because it neither sees it nor recognizes it” (Jn. 14:17). 
 Instead of speaking truthfully, the world likes to flatter, to gossip, to criticize, and to defame. God wants us to be humble, to trust and hope in Him, to live with purity, to dress modestly, to endure difficulties with patience and thanksgiving, to exercise temperance and abstinence, to fast, to pray. The world promotes the contrary: it incites us to be self-confident and trust in ourselves, to boast in our beauty and accomplishments, to dress fashionably, to delight in sexual immorality, to complain, to demand our rights, to blame others for our problems, to fulfill our physical desires, and to enjoy all the sensual pleasures of this present life.
This is why the law of God is the narrow path of virtue leading to the Kingdom of Heaven; whereas the law of the world is the wide road of sin leading to eternal Hell.Who can actually keep two laws that are so different and serve two masters who are so opposed to each other? Absolutely no one!
“No one can serve two masters.”
There is no middle ground. It is impossible for
someone to please both masters. It is either one or the other. Neither the wisest genius nor the greatest and holiest saint will ever find a way to please both masters simultaneously.
Since this is how things are my fellow Christians, what are we to do?
Which of the two masters should we serve? God or the world? If we are destined to live on this earth forever without ever dying, then fine: Let us
enslave ourselves to the world and enjoy everything it has to offer. If, however, we are mortal and will end up dying one day, if this
present world is transient:
“For the form of this world is passing away” (1 Cor. 7:31) states the Apostle Paul, if we are mere sojourners on this planet and our homeland is in Heaven:
“For here we have no continuing city, but we
seek the one to come” (Hb. 13:14, Ph. 3:20)
, if God alone is our master and Father, if during our baptism we pledged an allegiance to Christ and vowed to remain His faithful servants, and if we will give an account to Him for all our actions and sins when we die, then let us choose to serve God “with all our mind, with all our soul, and with all our strength.”
Oh you treacherous and deceitful world! Let them who do not believe in the crucified Christ and who do not hope in any other Paradise serve you and
enjoy you. We who believe in Christ, however, will serve Him in this life, so that we may reign along with Him in His Heavenly Kingdom in the next life.

Elias Miniatis, bishop of Kerniki and Kalavryta