The Christian faith, uniquely in the world, has one fixed and unchanging scale of values. St John Chrysostom speaks clearly about this: `There are', he says, `three kinds of category; the first are good and can never be evil; for example, wisdom, mercy and so forth; the second are evil and can never be good; for example, debauchery, inhumanity, cruelty. The third are sometimes the one and sometimes the other, according to the disposition of those who make use of them.' And, with this explanation by that godly teacher, one sees how riches and poverty, freedom and slavery, power and sickness and death itself fall into this neutral category, which are in themselves neither good nor evil, but are the one or the other according to the disposition of men and the use men make of them. For if, for example, riches were good and poverty were evil, then all the rich would be good and all the poor evil. However, we are daily convinced that, as there are good and evil rich people, so there are good and evil poor people. This can also be noted in rela-tion to the healthy and the sick, the free and the enslaved, the fed and the hungry, those in power and those in subjection. Even death is not evil, for `the martyrs became through death the happiest of all'.
Let me ponder on the Lord Jesus as a city set on a hill: 1. As a city on the hill of the heavenly Sion; that is, above the created world, in the kingdom of eternity. 2. As a city on the hill of human history. 3. As a city on the hill of my own life; that is, on the summit of my ideals, at the zenith of my thoughts and yearnings.
-on understanding through doing.
'If any man will do His will, he will understand whether the teaching is from God...'(Jn. 7:17).
It is of little use to prove by human logic and words that Christ's teaching is of God. The quickest and most dependable way to prove His veracity is to do the will of God in the way that Christ expounded and to which He bore witness. Whoever does this, he also will know.
If you weep for the sake of God, you know how God is conso-lation; if you are compassionate, you know the compassion of God. If you make peace, you will learn how it becomes you to be called a son of God. If you forgive men, you will know how God forgives you.
No man can ever discover that Christ's teaching is from God but he who does the will of God. For only the doing of the will of God, the fulfilling of the commandments of God, is the key to unlock Paradise, in which God is seen. That is the key to the under-standing of Holy Scripture and of all the secrets of the Revelation.
St Basil writes: `Purity of life is necessary in order to recognise that which is hidden in Holy Scripture.' What more does God desire of us when He teaches us that through the doing of His will we come to the knowledge of His divine teaching? He simply desires that we, by our deeds, should be convinced of His divine teaching. He does not desire that we be convinced by the easiest means, but by the hardest; not just by listening but also by doing; because he who is convinced by the easiest means is he who most easily hesitates and becomes unconvinced, and he who is convinced by the hardest means does not find it at all easy to hesitate or have his conviction shaken. So, my brethren, let us strive to do the will of God, that we may be known of God and save our souls.
O most wise Lord, help us by the power of Thy Holy Spirit to do Thy holy will. To Thee be glory and praise for ever. Amen.
* From "The Prologue from Ochrid", by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic - Lazarica Press - Birmingham 1985
Four Book Edition - Translated by Mother Maria - Dates based on old church calendar.
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