Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Are you holding to your faith?

We live in a world surrounded by temptation, which is not news. Even the Lord was tempted, so we would do better to realize that our goal is to remain faithful in that world of temptation. Consider the words today from Saint Paul...

Epistle Reading: St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 13:3-13 (RSV) BRETHREN, since you desire proof that Christ is speaking in me, he is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful in you. For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we shall live with him by the power of God. Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? - unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed. But we pray God that you may not do wrong - not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. What we pray for is your improvement. I write this while I am away from you, in order that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority which the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down. Finally, brethren, farewell. Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

The only way to remain faithful in a world of temptation is to be constantly evaluating our life. As Orthodox Christians we do this through the Mystery of Holy Confession. By humbling ourselves in front of the Icon of Christ and our Spiritual Father, we reveal our heart in an open and often profoundly vulnerable. Everything about our life is open for God and our spiritual father to examine, and by God’s grace we are led to, as Saint Paul urges, test ourselves to determine whether we REALIZE that Christ is in us. From the moment of our Baptism, He has come to live in us for all eternity. Unfortunately we often forget that He is present.

Through the Mystery of Holy Confession, the sight of Holy Icons, the fragrance of incense, the sound of chanting, and the taste of the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord, we are continuously reminded of God’s presence. This is a great gift! Don’t let the gift go unused. Contact your spiritual father today and schedule a time for Holy Confession. “Test yourself.” If you have forgotten God’s presence, don’t panic; there is still time to start over. Today is your chance to start over and hold on to your faith.

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