We continue with the Letters of Fr. John (Krestiankin) on the last days and the antichrist.
Like the renovationists
Dear Fr. S.!
I will not participate in the campaign you are proposing. The very spirit of such activity, with its abundant selfishness, noise, and hope in man rather than in God, yes, and especially with its criticism of the Church Hierarchy, which springs out like a fountain in your words, forbids me to do so. I have already seen such things in the activities of the renovationists,1 who rose up against the most gentle Patriarch Tikon, in fact against the Lord Himself and His Church. The letter which you so disliked was not a forgery, it was written by me to a private individual, however by God’s will, it was made available to a larger audience independently of me, which means that such was necessary.
Forgive me magnanimously, but the methods you are proposing to me are not to my liking.
It is near, even at the doors
Dear Fr. A.!
I cannot speak about the end of the world more aptly than did Metropolitan Benjamin (Fedchenkov). I will only add that many are worried about this issue, but precious few of those who talk and think about it hysterically have actually begun to live in accord with such thoughts, and few of those wringing their hands are worrying about their soul’s salvation. This, however, is what such thoughts call us to. (It is near, even at the doors [Matt. 24:33, Mk. 13:29]).
If tomorrow I should have to appear before God’s judgment seat, and if tomorrow I should have to give an answer to the question: How did I live, by what did I live, and did I live by the spirit of God?—then where would be all the fuss about storehouses and building projects? Nowadays, however, people are thinking mainly about these projects, and but a tiny remainder is actually living by the spirit of God. This applies even to those in the Church, even those who serve in the Holy Altar, even the monastics.
Look into yourself—is it the fear of God that governs our thoughts and deeds? Does love of God and man lie at the foundation of our everyday life?
There, dear Fr. A., this is the seal with which our way of life marks us daily, the seal which we ourselves mark upon our own souls, hearts and minds, either drawing closer, or staving off the time of the coming of antichrist. His seal will only testify to the one that we have already placed on ourselves. No one can save or destroy us without our participation.
Televisions and videos have already penetrated the monastery walls. Who can wipe away this mark, and how, if we have placed it willingly, eagerly, and lovingly upon our own selves? Antichrist will not destroy us. We will have already determined our spiritual orientation and made our choice before he even arrives. The mark of antichrist will be the final dot upon our choice.
Go with God to visit the monasteries and elders if this be of benefit to your soul, which seeks salvation. But is it of benefit?! And do thoughts of salvation come up while viewing the kaleidoscope of life? Decide this question for yourself. Is it beneficial?
I have fulfilled your request for prayer.
Dear Batiushka, look to your life [and what you do]:
for the sake of your cell,
for the sake of your studies,
for the sake of ephemeral help to people.
(By the way, there can be no material help demanded of a non-acquisitive monk, while spiritual help is not something we can give, for we ourselves are spiritually poor). Might we not loose the very thing for the sake of which we have put on our paramon and mantia? Forgive me for such a sad letter.
Do not lose the main thing, and do not forget the vows you made to God.