Thursday, November 20, 2014

Greed is Spiritual Cancer

In the parable of the Rich Fool, Jesus teaches us the deadly result of a greedy heart. Faced with full barns and a banner crop, the Rich Fool panics because he has no place to store his growing wealth. “I will do this,” he says, “I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.” (Luke 12.18) Unfortunately for the Rich Fool, that was the night he would die and face judgment for the condition of his heart.

Greed is a cancer that eats away at our heart, one dollar at a time. Each of us has been blessed with material gifts from God. Each of us is faced with considering how we will make use of the wealth that God has given us. Will we panic and attempt to store our wealth for tomorrow thinking we will enjoy comfort for years to come? This was the mistake of the Rich Fool when he said, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” (Luke 12.19) Will we be grateful for the blessings that God has given to us and use them for His glory helping and serving others?
Greed is a cancer that turns the heart inward toward darkness rather than upward toward the Light of God. Once our heart has been affected by this cancer, it begins to spread to every other part of our body. A greedy heart fills our minds with hate for our fellow human beings. A greedy heart recognizes only cold, hard cash rather than the warmth of fellowship. A greedy heart sends the cancerous poison of selfishness to our minds, hands, feet, and eventually our very soul dies in darkness.

“So is he who lays up treasures for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12.21) Lucky for us...we still have time to be thankful. Something to consider this year for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Being Convicted by the Gospel

The Gospel of Christ is a comfort to sinners but can convict the righteous. The invitation of Christ for all sinners to join Him at the Table, is a comfort to when acknowledge our sinfulness, but it is should also convict us to repentance. Christ has given us His Church as therapy to draw closer to Jesus Christ, yet many who claim to believe, do not embrace the way of life in the Church. If you truly desire to draw closer to God, then be comforted that He has welcomed you to His Table, but be convicted and embrace the way of life He has given to you for repentance. Draw near to God.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Starting the Fast with a Miracle

This past Saturday was the first day of the Advent Fast, a preparation for Christmas. As Orthodox Christians, we prepare for Christmas by fasting rather than shopping and parties. But that is not what I want to blog about today. Rather, I want to share a miracle I, along with HUNDREDS of other Orthodox Christians witnessed this past weekend in Charlotte, NC.

A holy Icon of the Mother of God was brought from Taylor, PA. to Charlotte, NC. for people to venerate. This particular icon has been exuding myrrh for three years, and has been directly attributed to numerous miracle healings. I heard about this Holy Icon this past summer and was thrilled to hear it would be so close to my home. I encouraged everyone I knew to travel to Charlotte to witness for themselves the blessed event. The Church was filled with faithful (and I’m sure some skeptics) from throughout the region.

While in the Cathedral, the Priest who brought the Holy Icon share many stories of the healings attributed to this Holy Icon. My eyes, and the eyes of hundreds in attendance, witnessed myrrh miraculously dripping from the Holy Icon in the hands of faithful in attendance. The strong sweet fragrance from the myrrh filled the Church. I couldn’t help but think of the story in the Gospel of the anointing of Jesus’ feet by the sinful woman.

I was blessed to able to assist in anointing the faithful in attendance. I am thankful to God and His All-Holy Mother for allowing me to witness this blessed event at the beginning of my Advent journey. I assure you that this Advent will be different for me, thanks to God’s grace.

I invite you to make a pilgrimage to venerate this Holy Icon in Taylor, PA. which resides in the Church of St George. The service of Paraklesis  and anointing is offered each Wednesday at 6pm.