Why doesn’t the fire of grace given to us not manifest its saving power, does not burn in us, or burns only barely noticeably? It is for the same reason that the material fire in a furnace or oil lamp goes out.
In the eyes of our corrupt world, a life of conspicuous self-indulgence may make someone look like a great success. Slavery to the passions, however, is hardly a path for fulfillment for those who bear the image and likeness of God.
Make ready, O Bethlehem, for Eden hath been opened for all. Prepare, O Ephratha, for the tree of life hath blossomed forth in the cave from the Virgin; for her womb did appear as a spiritual paradise in which is planted the divine Plant, whereof eating we shall live and not die as Adam. Christ shall be born, raising the image that fell of old.
Speaking about love of money in our days is just the same as describing hot weather in summer. Everyone suffers torment from the scorching heat in July, and it seems there is no way to hide from it, though there are air conditioners, fans, shady places, and cold water. Very few people like the blazing sun, while the love of money captures our hearts and enslaves us. And this may happen even to those who have no money in their pockets…
In this article, priests of the Russian Orthodox Church offer their thoughts on what this time represents for us, how to worthily greet the feast of the Nativity of Christ, and what to pay attention to first of all in the spiritual life.
The parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us that any human individual, any man - be he sick, poor, a thief, an enemy - is higher in value than an abstract idea of good, an abstract idea of the common, public welfare, an abstract idea of churchliness, generally accepted traditions, regulations and canons.