Wednesday, October 7, 2009


“Remember,” Father Maximos said as he escorted them to their car, “whatever good or bad things happen to us, they have only one single purpose, to awaken us to the reality of God and help us on the path toward union with Him. There is no other reason for being born on this planet, believe me. It is up to us whether or not we take advantage of these wake-up calls.”
The Mountain of Silence, Kyriacos Markides
There is only one tragedy: to fail to become a saint.
Léon Bloy, quoted in The Jesus Prayer, Frederica Mathewes-Green
…in order really to be members of the Church and to belong to the Body of Christ, the laity must partake, or struggle to partake, of the purifying, illuminating and deifying energy of God.
These things are being said with the understanding that through Baptism we are enrolled as members of the Church. However, if we do not activate the grace of Baptism by the whole ascetic life which the Church has, then we are not really members of it. We can make a division. It is one thing to be a potential member of the Church, to have accepted the possibility of becoming a real member, and it is another thing to be an active member of the Church. St. Gregory Palamas uses the image of the son of the King. He is born in the palace and has the possibility of becoming heir to his father’s estate. But if he dies prematurely or if he is expelled from the house, then he loses the possibility of inheriting the good things. Christ says about the bishop of Sardis: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” True, he can repent, and therefore he is advised to “be watchful” and “repent,” but at that moment he was spiritually dead…
Thus in the Church some are members potentially, some actually, and to express it better, some are dead limbs and others are living ones. This distinction, dead and alive, is seen in all the biblico-patristic tradition of the Church. And it is a pity when we do not know this whole tradition and teach that all who receive only Holy Baptism are members of the Church. To be sure, there are also members who have cut themselves off completely from the Church. But some dead members have the possibility of being made alive by the operation of divine grace and their own cooperation.
The mind of the Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hierotheos

“Go to Church. Say your prayers. Remember God.”
-- advice given to Fr. Thomas Hopko by his mother as he left for seminary

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