Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Christ is in our Midst LVI(letter 85)

" 85

3 August 1954

Realize that in the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ the Dread Judgement will be according to the Holy Gospel. Yet we have become so earthly-minded that we pay little attention to the Gospel commandments, while we judge very severely on any matter of ritual. Of course we must carry out the rites established by the Holy Fathers, for they educate our souls in piety. But all the same, we must always give greater attention to the Gospel commandments. The Lord says: 'Judge not, that you be not judged, do not do to others what you would not have them do to you' [Matt. 7:1,12]. But we, as if deaf, do not hear what the Lord says to us and we freely break his holy commandments.

He who condemns is always in error and judges wrongly, for we do not know the reason for a sin, but we judge according to our own temperament. A man draws conclusions about other people in line with his own tendencies, for a crooked eye looks at everything in a crooked way. St Dorotheos said very well: 'If a man stands at the corner of a building and three people pass him, each one thinks about him in his own way. A religious man thinks: "He is probably going to church and is waiting for the bells to ring". A thief thinks: "When it gets darker he will go and steal". And a fornicator thinks: "He is surely waiting for a woman to sin with" '. Very rightly said, and we can see it at almost every step.

I shall give you one example of how grave a sin it is to condemn. In a certain monastery a monk fell into fornication. A great staretz said: 'What a bad thing he did'. The monk died and an angel at God's command brought his soul to the staretz and said: 'Where do you want to assign this monk: to Heaven or torment?' The staretz was horrified; he understood what a grave sin condemnation was. and he wept bitterly. After some time the angel said: 'God has forgiven your sin'. However, the staretz did not stop weeping as long as he lived.

Remember us, Lord, when Thou comest into thy Kingdom. "

Father John here touches again on a subject that I do not recall hearing much of, namely the Dread Judgement at the Second Coming of our Great God and Saviour.

I, for one, have noticed this lack of a preoccupation with the Second Coming in just about every source I have read of late and I hold myself guilty along these lines as well.

Often enough I hear of His coming again but not with any real sense of urgency. From my understanding of the writings in the New Testament His coming was immanent to the Church at this time.

The emphasis, however, of this letter is more with judging wrongly or only according to oneself.

'To him who is clean, all things are clean'.

And he clearly states that any condemnation of anyone is deadly, a grave matter.

No comments: