HOPE IS AN INDISPENSABLE VIRTUE (Part II)

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,

Christ is in our midst! He was, is, and ever shall be.1

"Beloved, now we are children of God… when He is
3:18)revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see
Him as He is. And everyone who has THIS HOPE
in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." (1 John 3:2-3)

The genuine Christian cannot be anything else than a person of faith and truth. The Holy Church of God is under the authority and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Made in God’s image and likeness, we are fulfilled by becoming "like Him", a process called deification or theosis. Being "partakers of the Divine Nature" (2 Peter 1:4), we are "transformed into the same image, from glory to glory" (2 Corinthians 3:18). How then, can we marginalize our very being when we are deified and sanctified by Him. How can we doubt God’s love for us? How can we not know love? "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does NOT love DOES NOT KNOW GOD, FOR GOD IS LOVE" (1 John 4:7-8).

There is absolutely no room in life to contemplate anything which is not founded on God’s love. We must not be distracted by anything which does not support and reveal God’s Providence and Divine Will. No power on earth can ever derail God’s plan for the human race. He, God, wills for mankind to be saved and inherit His Kingdom. It is up to us now, the human race, to give ourselves to Him and say to Him, "Thy will be done."

No obstacle can be allowed to interfere with the goal to enter His heavenly realm. Outside of His Kingdom, there is no life only death and darkness.
There are only despair and the gnashing of teeth. Why would anyone choose death over life, wickedness over love? Negative thoughts, thoughts that are manufactured by the evil one, should never be permitted by us, to be even contemplated.

Geronda Ephraim of Arizona of blessed memory, in alerting us of the dangers of logismoi (evil thoughts) said the following: Wicked thoughts, he said, are very much like airplanes arriving from all corners of the earth to the local airport and wishing to land. At the airport, however, is a tower, and officials there must determine, whether the plane should be allowed to land or if it presents a clear and immediate threat to those below. It is a very serious decision to make but absolutely necessary. The tower is responsible, for absolutely to know, who is flying the plane, and its country of origin. Thoughts, he said, are very much like airplanes coming from unknown origins and not knowing who is onboard. Before any thoughts are allowed to enter our minds, we must first identify them and their origin. Without that precaution, we will be taken over and rendered hostage. We put ourselves and others in danger.

Thoughts such as "How can I have hope? After all, I’ve been profoundly disappointed and how can I believe that it will ever change? Or, when I needed God where was He? God does not love me or care for me? Or, I deserved better. If God really loved me, He would not have let this happen to me. These kinds of thoughts come from the left or the evil one. The objective is to throw you in profound sadness, helplessness, and hopelessness, a pit of darkness, from which you will never be able to escape. These are NOT your thoughts but satans. Don’t listen to him, but to God who loves you, and gave His life to save you!

Clearly, the cure for despair is HOPE! Hope and despair do not mix, hope and despair CANNOT COEXIST! Saint Paul, the Apostle of Nations, experienced all these things, tells us how these challenges and difficult life experiences can be transformed. Above everything else, we must understand the power of faith and salvation. Divine Grace brings us peace with God and it is this Grace that transforms our life experience. Saint Paul even says that because of this Grace, we glory in our tribulation. Glory and joy are possible because Grace can transform these negative life experiences so that they produce something quite valuable. According to the Holy Apostle Paul, "tribulation produces patience; And patience, experience, and experience hope."

Divine Grace is the font and origin of hope. Hope is not artificial but the fruit of the Holy Spirit. This hope is NOT wishful thinking, but the direct result of Grace transforming the difficulties of life. With hope, we have confidence and we know no shame and no despair because the love of God is shed abundantly into our hearts.

We are not naive, not to know that challenges, tribulations, sorrows, and even tragedies will continue to confront us. The storms of life beating on the walls of our dwelling place never cease. The question, however, is whether the house will stand or fall? It all depends on the FOUNDATION OF THE HOUSE. If the foundation is hope then no wave or storm or a blast of wind will bring it down. We will know this hope if we understand that salvation is not just some state that we have attained. The grace of salvation is an altering Divine power that even turns the tragedies and tribulations of life into hope. With hope, nothing but nothing can prevail against us.

Prayer to God the Holy Spirit

"Take away from me, O Lord, every destructive pride and give
a prudent countenance to my eyes; set a bridle on my tongue, make
my ears obedient to Your Holy Commandments, provide me with
patience in afflictions, make my heart-wise and strong n forbearance,
in goodness, in restraint, in sympathy, in charity, in love, in humility,
in peace toward myself and all others, and in rejecting the indolence
and slothfulness of the demons in which I once indulge as if they
were mere confections.

Grant me the gift of seasoned discretion to be able to discern which
thoughts and whose judgments to prefer. Grant me also the ability to
discern the machinations of the devil and to reject them and him. And
ma I cut off altogether my own will so that I may rely upon Your
Providence, hoping to receive from You whatever is beneficial for me.
For my life is dependent upon You, Who are my Light, my salvation.
And I bless, glorify, and worship You, together with the Father, and the
Son, with Whom You are Co-eternal and Co-existing, always, now and
to the ages of ages. Amen.

____________

"Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostom

+ + +

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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