We continue with the Letters of Fr. John (Krestiankin) on the last days and the antichrist.
Your Grace, Dear Vladyka!
Thank you for kindly remembering me. I received your letter and am sending an answer with the same Fr. I. The times to which the Lord has brought us to live are exceedingly troubled and confused. Disturbance, confusion, and disarray shake the unshakable, but this is not the end. There are even more complex times ahead.
The Church, however, according to the promise of the Savior, will live and perform its great and salvific service up to the end of the world’s life, and therefore the voice of the Church, through her canonical hierarchs, is the voice of God for us.
We do not have faith in a person—no matter how worthy his life might seem—nor in a group of like-minded people, nor in dreams, nor in visions, but in the Church, the voice of the Church. The Church cannot go underground, for then it would cease to be what it should be for the people. Therefore we should wait for His Holiness’ [the Patriarch’s] resolute decision and orient the people in this way only. Otherwise we can fall into a terrible sin against the Church: organizing a schism, though we don’t wish it.
We cannot, nor do we have the right to take upon ourselves something God has not given us. This is the Godly way. But if we start reasoning in a human way, we will be utterly without an answer.
God sees the human heart, and every man’s life is a clear illustration of what is taking place in his heart. The Sign of the Cross is the only seal that has spiritual power. Our cross-bearing, our struggle with sin, our endurance of sickness, anguish, co-suffering with others, and much more—life according to God—is a witness to the fact that we bear God’s seal on ourselves. What is technology, computers, someone’s human or even diabolical desire to make us submit to his influence, to his seal? Nothing compared to that great seal which the Savior has given us for salvation.
Where is our faith in our saving seal? They can do whatever they want to us secretly from us, but this will not have any power or value. God loves a willing giver, but the enemy needs for our soul to voluntarily serve him. We choose our path voluntarily, with love and desire.
Let us take a look at one simple example. A person is in the hospital and hopes to arise from his bed of disease, but there they give him a fatal injection rather than a healing one. The dead man and the ones who helped him to die eventually appear before God. How will they each be judged? Many servants of God perished during those wicked years through forced hanging, and they are all accounted as martyrs, while suicides perish for eternity. The same thing happens in life every day. Some may not live to the obvious choice of “faith or bread”, but the choice of one’s life’s path: “for God or against God”, is made in the life of every man; it has been so before, it is so now, and it will be so until the last days of life. Only the slice of bread is not yet lying on the scales. However, such a time will come. But when? God knows! The more people choose a life against God, the sooner this final choice will come. The earth will stop producing bread because of the evil of those living upon it. All of nature will cry out to God from human lawlessness. The field of life is becoming overgrown with thorns and brambles, and we are, after all, the laborers of this field, God’s field.
We must preserve the Divine Spirit, and this is: joy, peace, love, temperance, and the rest—in God, and by God. Only these will not burn in the culminating fire, and only these will testify to our heart-felt choice; while cards, passports, numbers, and seals will all burn away without a trace.
Yes, to be sure, the world is rushing in fifth gear towards the Last Judgment. The struggle is visible and obvious, but the struggle is for the soul, and nothing else. Furthermore, all of this is happening not without our participation. Ever more so will it be this way in the final stage, when we have to give an answer: “How do we believe?”
So, we are waiting for a word from His Holiness, and we do not doubt for a minute in the omnipotence of Divine providence, which knows how to save those who are faithful to God and love Him. This is our weapon—love for God and the Church. So eat bread, God gives it to the world; eat it while its apportionment has not been connected to your faith. Our task is to guard the Church from schism and heresy.
I ask your holy prayers and archpastoral blessing.
January 29, 1998