Christ is in our midst, my dear readers!
Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Corinthians gives us this instruction: Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity (1 Cor. 16:13–14). Here essentially everything is said for instruction that a Christian can follow in his life. First of all, it is Stand Fast and Watch“Quite right, my son,” said the king. “Keep this lesson in mind for the rest of you life. Be as vigilant over your soul as you were today over the oil in the vessel. Turn your thoughts away from what will soon pass away, and keep them focused on what is eternal.
“>vigilance. Blessed Theophylact of OchridTheophylact, Blessed of Ochrid”>Blessed Theophylact of Bulgaria compares it with military duty. When a soldier stands on watch, he pays attention to every rustle and noise, so as not to let the enemy in. So must a Christian pay attention to everything that happens in his soul, to the slightest movement of thought, feeling, or desire. Do they lead us away from God? Do they lead us into the hellish abyss of hatred, judgment, or despondency? The devil does everything he can in order to lead a person into torpor, to unleash on him the sleep of lassitude and carelessness for his soul. The only thing that can protect us from this sleep is: standing in the faith.
Faith is not only the recognition of God’s existence, but also responsibility for everything that God has entrusted to us. It is responsibility for the spiritual quality of the life we’ve lived, for our close ones, for all that God has given us for the salvation of our souls. The Steadfast Faith of St. Luke of CrimeaSt. Luke is well known to medical people as an ingenious doctor, surgeon, and scientist. But the Church glorifies this man not for his medical achievements, but for his uncompromising following after God’s will.
“>Steadfastness in the faith makes a person unshakeable in his following after Christ, no matter how difficult and complicated this path may seem.
The apostle ends his instruction with words that sum up the essence of everything that our inner life should be directed towards: Let all your things be done with charity [love]. No matter what lofty gifts a person may have been worthy of, no matter what heights of theology he has reached, no matter what ascetical labors he has performed, if all of this has not brought him to love, then all his labors were in vain. We can struggle, make scads of titanic efforts on ourselves—but strangely enough, they can all lead us to the direct opposite result—to a high self-opinion. Pride is something that we need to fear most of all in ourselves. Where there is no goodness, evil lives; where there is no light, darkness lives; where there is no love, there live pride, arrogance, and not rarely, hatred. The crown of all our labors is faith, adorned with humility and love of God and people. This is the result that we must achieve, and the goal toward which we must strive.