When someone comes to Orthodoxy from Judaism, Islam, paganism, the Church asks him in the rite of joining the Church: “Why have you come here?” He answers: “I have come here to learn the true faith from the Church.”
Today the Church, in the heart of Great Lent, when we are already exhausted from fasting, offers us all a wondrous remedy—the veneration of the tree of the crucified Savior Christ. It’s a wondrous work of the Church that shows its true spiritual wisdom. What is the Cross of the Lord?
Paradoxically Thomas’ disbelief only emphasizes the faith of the apostle and helps us to believe. This disbelief only confirms for us the fact of Christ’s victory over death. Now we know that we die not forever, that we do not need to fear the grave. Its predatory mouth will release all its prisoners, for God has promised us eternal life in the flesh. And it’s not simply a promise, for Christ, the Firstborn of the dead, is already risen, to carry out from the grave with Him all of mankind.
Let us be honest: what are all our standards of good and evil worth? Our body, soul, mind, will, senses are not created by us. Everything we have is a gift (or even not a gift but something that belongs to Someone else, and has been entrusted to us for safekeeping), but we, however, have decided that we can with impunity deal with it as we please. Doing that we deny the One Who created us any right to demand an answer from us about how we have dealt with His gift.
We are always in the Church only to a certain degree. Whenever this degree is great, the person is called a saint. At other times, this degree is small. At times a person holds on to the Lord only with his little figure. But we must remember that the only Judge and Appraiser is the Lord, not we. While there is still time there is hope.
People often ask priests: “Why should we go to church every Sunday?” and then they begin to justify themselves. “We need our sleep, then we need to spend time with the family, do things around the house, etc. And you want us to get up and go to church. What for?”
Truly, right now the devil wants to divide Christians and then to destroy everything that the Christians depend on. It is because of Christians that God maintains the world. Because of Christians, the Lord gives peace to nations. Why are there wars? It happens when Christians forget about their unity, when they relate themselves to this world...