We all need to seek medical care when we are sick. We go to a physician to heal our bodies, and to our Doctor in Heaven to heal our immortal souls. However indispensable physicians may be on earth, our lives would become a total disaster without our Doctor in Heaven.
Turning to God to heal our afflicted souls is a lot of hard work. The maladies of our soul are grave and long-neglected. We are born into a world of sin, and we are conditioned to live in sin as if it were normal. We are told not to treat it as something extraordinary, as everybody else is living that way. That way, we create a true disaster for ourselves by becoming inured to sin, by losing our ability, to tell the truth from a lie, and light from dark, by going on unthinkingly with our lives like everybody else is doing. By developing a habit of living one day after another, with no sense of direction. By accepting this kind existence as the only possible way to live.
To guard ourselves against this calamity, we must not allow our souls to become numb. By letting his soul go numb, a person becomes indifferent; a person lets it die, and it is no longer capable of feeling the pain when he sins, and looking for excuses is the only thing it can do. When we want to guard our souls against becoming numb, we go to Church. The closer we become to God, the more sensitive our souls will grow.
Many people have said to me: I started going to church, and I am feeling much worse than before. Never has anyone become a worse person by going to church, saying their prayers, confessing and taking communion. We just become more sensitive to our missteps and the pain that they inflict on our souls. Many of these would have gone unnoticed before; we would have looked over them as something quite ordinary and habitual. So there is nothing to be afraid. It is the aching of our souls that is compelling us to go to church. When we are fine, we may not consider going to church as something that we need badly. People can be very lazy.
But our lives are short - they only last a few decades. Decades, not centuries. We see the years of our worldly life go by faster and faster, and eventually, we come to the end of it - without ever having had a glimpse of a life eternal. The venerable Simeon the New Theologian has given this stark warning that I think we should all take heed of: someone who has not encountered God in this life, will not do so in all eternity. Never - in all eternity! Our souls will be prisoners of their own selfishness and sin, locked up in an empty space. We should all remember this warning, and pay attention to our inner selves, the movements of our hearts and minds.
We should also be taking care of our physical health, as we create many hardships for ourselves and others when we neglect it. So let us all stay in good health. But when an illness strikes, we should see it as medicine for our souls. To most people, an illness is a lesson in humility. There are certainly some who do not take it this way, and feel embittered and enraged at a time when they are most vulnerable.
So let us all be hopeful that the Holy Spirit will show us the way forward and not let us wander in some faraway lands with nothing but our own selfish selves and our sins.
May God help and protect us all for many years.
In the Scripture readings, our actions are likened to a tree, and their outcomes to the fruit of that tree. It can be very difficult for us at times to decide if we should act or wait. The right answer may not be obvious.