Catechism 8 -Spiritual Hosts

Concerning the Spiritual Hosts

I believe and confess that the Angels are noetic beings created by God, that they had
a beginning and are not eternal or immortal by nature, but by divine grace. Although they possess a different nature from ours, their spiritual and incorporeal nature is nonetheless real and subject to laws and dimensions foreign to human nature. They are conscious persons, ministers of God and His servants.

The Angels were created free, having the faculties of volition and choice. Some
chose the good by remaining faithful to their Creator, whereas others used their liberty in an evil manner and estranged themselves from their Creator by rising up against Him.
Becoming darkened and wicked, they fell away from God and turned into demons.
The demons envy man for the glory of the eternal destiny for which he was created,
and they seek his ruin and utter destruction. They have no real power over those who
have received Baptism, yet they tempt them to make ill use of their freedom.

But the Angels, because of their loyalty and their communion with God, know no
envy of man’s destiny. Rather, they have been endowed with a nature superior to man’s
that they might protect and guide man, helping him realize his purpose; and they rejoice
when a man succeeds with the aid of divine grace in so doing. The Angels are humble;
they are examples and models for us of purity, prayer, service and devotion to God; and
they celebrate with us in glorifying the Creator; they pray for us and attend to our
prayers.

Even as men on earth differ according to the gift each has received, so also do the
Angels have distinctions among themselves in accordance with their rank and their
ministry, being established in a celestial hierarchy, but, all rivalry and envy will be
absent. “One star differeth from another star in glory” (1 Cor 15:41).

Advertisements

We Must Repent

“Dear M,

The Lord desires the salvation of each and every person. But not everyone wants to be saved. In word they all desire it, but in deed they reject it. How do they reject it? Not through sin, because there were many great sinners, like the thief, Saint Mary of Egypt and others. They repented of their sins and the Lord forgave them, and thus they achieved salvation. The ones who perish are the ones who sin but do not repent and only justify their transgressions. That is the worst, most deplorable state. The Lord says I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32).

What does this mean? God’s word says, There is none righteous, no, not one…they are together become unprofitable (Rom. 3:10,12). Everyone is a sinner, and the more holy a person is the more he notices his own sins. The very reason the Lord came was to call sinners to repentance (i.e., those who consider themselves sinners and ask forgiveness), and to grant them salvation through repentance. However, God shuns those who do not see their sins or try wickedly to justify themselves. For this reason, while He was on earth the Lord condemned the Pharisees, who considered themselves to be righteous and even an example to others. Such an attitude is frightening.

Saint Sisoes the Great, on his deathbed, asked that the angels which had come for his soul to pray that the Lord would grant him a longer earthly life for repentance. Saint Poemen the Great said: “Believe me, brothers, where the devil will be, there I shall be thrown also.” And he (Peomen the Great) raised people from the dead! In this way, all God-pleasers wept over their sins, over their insolvent debt to God, even unto the end of their days.

Then who are we to hide our sins out of self-live? Who are we to make excuses, to connive, when one of our feet is already in teh grave? Examine your entire life, repent of all the sins that you are aware you committed. With tears and prostrations ask just as the church does: “Grant me to see mine own failings.” If a person is unableto see his sinfulness, it does not mean that he has no sins. It means not only that this man is a sinner, but that he is also spiritually blind. And if a spiritual father or another person accuses us of certain faults, we should not attempt to justify ourselves, but rather beg the Lord to reveal our sins to us and give us the opportunity to repent of them before death and to receive forgiveness here during our earthly existence.”

Elder Nikon Vorobiev “Letters to Spiritual Children” Ch.43

Be Holy

“But as the One who called you is holy, be you also holy in all your behavior” (1 Peter 1:15).

Brethren, holiness is a virtue which encompasses all other virtues. Hence brethren, a saint is a man adorned with all virtues. But if a man is prayerful and is not compassionate, he cannot be called holy. Or, if a man endures but without faith and hope he cannot be numbered among the saints. Or, if a man is very compassionate but without faith in God in truth, such a man cannot be numbered among the saints. A saint is a perfect man such as Adam was in Paradise; or even better, such as the New Adam was, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the Saint above the saints. This is the Sower of holiness on earth and the Nurturer of the saints in history. He called us to the dignity of the saints. He showed us the example of a true saint. He is the prototype of the saints as He is the arch-type of man. A true man, my brethren, does not mean anything else but a saint. A saint and a man, that is one and the same. He showed us what it means to be a man and what it means to be a saint. The Apostle Peter commands us: “Be you also holy in all your [living] behavior!” A saint is not a saint in one aspect of his life but rather in every aspect of his entire life. We must be holy in every work and aspect of our life in order to be numbered among the saints, i.e., among men according to the prototype of the saints and the arch-type of man, the Lord Jesus Christ.

O All-holy Lord, To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
Nikolai Velomirovic, Prologue of Ochrid, for June 28th

Catechism 7 Immortality

Concerning Immortality

I believe and confess that immortality is a property of the divine nature alone, that
only God is eternal and immortal by nature and in essence. The Angels and the souls of
men are immortal only because God bestows immortality upon them by grace. Men’s
souls have no pre-existence. How the soul receives existence together with the bodily
creation of a man, how it is separated from the body at the moment of death, and how it
will be reunited to the body when the dead are raised at the glorious Second Coming of
our Savior is a mystery which has not been revealed to us.