At Baptism, and - likewise - at Confession, we receive forgiveness for our past sins and transgressions. Sin distorts our human nature. However, we still have free will; so we continue to sin after Baptism. We may give in to our passions or confront them, but we persist in sin. Yet when we come to the cup, we cleanse ourselves from our impurity and receive the energy to battle our sin.
The ultimate end of our Christian lives is Christ Himself, not our struggle against sin or the cultivation of virtue. We dedicate our lives to Him. Everything else is nothing but an instrument of our progress or its consequence. Unsurprisingly, the Eucharist is the centre-piece of our Christian life, second only to Baptism.
Closeness to God defeats all impurity. Our ascent to sainthood leaves no room for sin. When we commune with the Saviour in the sacrament of the Eucharist, we pull ourselves from the mire of sin and obtain the strength to oppose it.
When we approach the Cup in good faith, we are rewarded with a sense of peace and sanctity that no passion can disrupt. At these moments, however brief, we experience the true remission of our sins. Yet because we cannot mend our distorted nature, we walk out of the church and sin again. Then we repent and take communion. Our struggle against sin continues, bringing forth our full victory.
God, who gives the sinners and the righteous their dues, is not someone who lies in waiting to punish a wrongdoer after the fact. What gives us fear and trembling is the hurting wound of not responding to the love that He had given to us.
As we make our way through the Great and Holy Week, and relive the betrayal of Christ and His death on the Cross, we are called to do everything in our power to live our lives in the spirit and bear fruit.
The Orthodox Church approaches the Great Lent which will start on March 15th according to the Julian calendar. In order to prepare for the Lenten journey, the Church gives us four pre-lenten weeks to help us understand why we fast.
In the Orthodox tradition, almsgiving is the third main virtue after prayer and fasting. Our Lord Jesus Christ and many of His Saints have talked about the importance of giving alms. So what is this virtue all about?
Thousands of years after Judas’ betrayal, we are still confronted by the same choice: are we going to direct our love to God, and restore our community with Him, or betray him, to live for the world and ourselves?
The calendar of the Church humbles our proud minds. It returns us to the truth of God the Creator of all things, including time, and thus its rightful master.
The Great and Holy week came, and the Royal Family followed Christ to Golgotha. The Tsar, the Empress and their children rejoiced as they celebrated their last Easter