Only now am I beginning to realise that my life in Christ is just beginning. Before, it was finding grace and losing it. When I found grace, I was joyful. I had the energy to pray to God and please Him. When I lost it, I protested and felt discouraged. Yet spiritual life should be different, more even and thoughtful. It takes spiritual growth, which we all need.
Now some might read something from a book on Christianity and think to themselves, "I did not sleep or eat today. I must be ready for everlasting life." But demons do not eat, either! Nor do they sleep. People need to sleep! Others might decide, "From this moment, I will pray and fast day and night!" Good idea. But how long will this zeal last? And what if you break at some point and stop the practice of faith altogether?
To grow up spiritually is to develop the habit of spiritual life. You start small but practise every day. We all took the Holy Communion today. To remain with Christ, we must all take communion at every liturgy, we must accept the Body and Blood of Christ in ourselves. We come to the church to be one with God. We need to be in conversation and have a spiritual connection with Him all the time, but we also need to take His body and His blood.
The Gospel tells us: "For He who endures, he shall be saved." Our will to endure and follow Christ's way to the end without diverting from it is also essential to our growth. We all remember the enemy's ploy to deceive the Prodigal Son. He feigned sympathy with the son. He said how hard it must be to spend all his life working from dawn to dusk with no parties and no big money to be made. But there is a different life waiting for him in a distant country.
In monasticism, taking tonsure means the death of our sensuous selves. How can someone who had come to church wounded, struck, numb and blinded by the burden of their sins turn suddenly become a saint tomorrow? The way to sainthood is long and difficult; it takes hard work for the sake of one's immortal soul. To become temples of the Holy Spirit; to return to the fold our the Father and remain there unhesitatingly, we also need to work all the time. The father met his Prodigal Son with joy and arranged a feast; but after the feast is over, the Son will have to work hard. We all need to attune ourselves to the proper understanding of our Christian life.
My warmest greetings to you, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on taking your communion this Sunday. Let us celebrate the love in our hearts, and keep it there. May the Lord strengthen your endurance to follow Him. May God save and protect all of us!
In the kingdom of heaven, there is no need for human values or hierarchy. It is a new life, a new world and new relationships. We need to focus on Christ, Who came not only to give us courage, but also to teach us to live differently.
At some point, we will all face up to eternity. But to have eternal life, we must already learn to live a full life in love and faith. Christ is in our midst, and He will never abandon us.
We all need to learn to direct ourselves, our speech and our thoughts towards God so that they remain constructive, not destructive for the past year and ask Him for His help in keeping our souls and minds free from sin.
Along the way, we must defeat our old selves. We must survive their demise and give up our lives to Christ. Are we ready?
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Today, we still have an open invitation from the Lord to His banquet, but we continue to make the same excuses: I am too busy at the moment. Sorry, I have too little time. No one wants to be distracted.