My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
THE BREVITY OF MAN’S EARTHLY LIFE
"As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he
For the wind passes over it, and it is
And its place remembers it no
more" (Psalm 103:15-16).
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speaking against the greed of men offers the following Parable saying:
"The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying ‘what should I do since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘FOOL! THIS NIGHT YOUR SOUL WILL BE REQUIRED OR YOU; THEN WHOSE WILL THOSE THINGS BE WHICH YOU HAVE PROVIDED?’" (St. Luke 12:16-20).
Even after thousands of years, man has not learned that this earthly life is brief. But how can this be? How can man not believe it when family members, relatives, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances have died and, no matter their station in life, are no longer with us. People are born and people die every day. Over the centuries, billions have died, people with families, with professions, with businesses, wealthy and poor people, people in high positions, and ordinary people who are laborers, as well as kings, queens, presidents, Patriarchs, Bishops, Priests, professors, police officers, engineers, generals, adult men and women, seniors, young adults, children, and even infants. Death is INEVITABLE and no one, but no one, can escape death. Yet, mankind refuses to believe it and acts as though he/she can make short-term or long-term plans as though he/she has control over their life span. How very foolish?
Man is in denial of his mortality. He has convinced himself that he determines the length of his life and, therefore, he suffers from self-deception. Man is truly delusional and irrational. Perhaps this the reason why he places such importance on this life. He may even be guilty also of doubting that there is a life after this earthly life. That there is eternal life, that there is a Paradise. Unfortunately, even some Christians may have fallen into this disbelief. However, Our Most beloved Lord assures us when He says, "In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I GO AND PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU" (St. John 14:2). What do you have to say to that? "Many mansions" literally "many dwelling places," a word picture of numerous living units surrounding a central courtyard, an abundance of living accommodations.
The reality is that all of us will eventually depart from the earthly existence. What we need to consider, though, is how we live this life and not how or when we will die. Our life, as the disciples of Christ, must be our willingness to conform and abide by His Divine commandments. Our personal relationship with our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ is one of love, trust, and obedience. We should never act with arrogance, but ought to approach Him with genuine meekness and profound humility.
Life is a gift from our Creator and we should use it wisely. We all have the capacity and the ability to be His true ambassandors to the world. We, as Orthodox Christians, have the opportunity to reprsent Him and to spread and preach His Gospel to the Gentile world or as, He commissioned His Holy Disciples, to "Go forth and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS THAT I HAVE COMMANDED YOU" (St. Matthew 28:19-20). We have a holy mission as followers and servants of Christ to bring hope to he world and to inspire those who as of now have not heard His "good tidings."
The Orthodox Christian believer is not one who lives in misery and despondency, but one who rejoices in everything. Saint John Chrysostom writes, "Glory Be To GOD for ALL THINGS!" There is always a purpose or a lesson that we find in all happenings in our life and we become stronger in character and in faith as a result. The Almighty created life out of love and for love. A love that is manifested through faith, compassion, charity, and kindness toward our neighbor. We should not think only of ourselves and ignore the needs of our fellow man. We have the opportunity to make a real difference in the cosmos.
Our Merciful Savior says, "…He who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God" (St. John 3:21). We believe that goodness and a pure heart welcome Christ’s Light, whereas evil deeds and malice resist the Light and seek to hide in darkness. God’s gift of life should not be wasted needlessly. Appreciate the great value of life and come to understand how sacred it is and protect it. In the world which we live in today, life is not only undervalued, but also not respected. There are those who are willing to take someone’s life as though it means absolutely nothing. An example of this are the millions of innocent children who are aborted and killed every year throughout the world. People are being killed every day for no good reason at all. In some countries, there are entire cities that are referred to as a "murder capital of the world." No one has the right to take a life, but God alone who gave it. Murder is evil and a crime against God and His will. Murder can never be justified in the eyes of God. Our Lord made it perfectly clear when He gave the Ten Commandments to Moses and to His chosen people. "You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13). As you can anyone see, this is NOT a suggestionn but A COMMAND from the One Who created life.
The Orthodox Christian must act with discernment and be the one who submits to the will of God and His Commandments. Appreciate God’s gift of life, for it is priceless. Treasure it with all your might. There is absolutely a purpose to every God-given life that comes into this world. Saint Isaac the Syrian says, "Weakness for wealth and for collecting and owning things of different kinds; the urge for physical (sensuous) enjoyment; the longing for honor, which is the root of envy; the desire to conquer and be the deciding factor; pride in the glory of power; the urge to adodorn oneself and to be liked; the craving for praise; concern and anxiety for physical well-being. All these are of the world; they combine deceitfully to hold us in heavy bonds." We are constantly reminded by the Holy Scripture not to love the world. Saint John writes: "DO NOT LOVE THE WORLD OR THE THINGS IN THE WORLD. IF ANYONE LOVES THE WORLD, THE LOVE OF THE FATHER IS NOT IN HIM. For everything that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, IS NOT OF THE FATHER BUT OF THE WORLD. And the world IS PASSING AWAY, and the lust of it; but he who DOES THE WILL OF GOD ABIDES FOREVER" (1 John 2:15-17). It is true that the world is no longer oriented toward God, but dominated by inordinate passions, and subject to death (see Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31).
Knowing the brevity of life here on earth, one should use his time to prepare himself/herself for eternal life in God’s Kingdom. Our life as Orthodox Christians should be one of virtue and piety. A life of faith in God and unconditional love for Him and our fellow man. "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore, the world does not know us, because it did not know Him… whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him" (1 John 3:1-6). Christians are children of God by grace while remaining human by nature.
Glory be to God!
"Glory Be To GOD