My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
“LET US ATTEND!
The Holy Things for the holy!”
“The Holy Things” are the Sacred Body and Precious Blood of our Savior Christ. As the celebrant priest raises the consecrated Holy Gifts he “invites” the faithful: “The Holy Things for the holy.” The invitation to approach and receive is not just to anyone but to the faithful, to those who have been baptized and have spiritually prepared to receive them. In the ancient Christian document, the Didache states: “If anyone is holy, let him come; if anyone is not holy, let him repent.” The spirit with which the believer approach is revealed by the following prayer authored by Saint John Chrysostom:
I am not worthy, Master and Lord, that Thou should come under the roof of my soul; yet
inasmuch as Thou desire to live in me as the Lover of mankind, I approach with boldness.
Thou has commanded: Let the doors be opened which Thou alone has made and Thou
shall enter with Thy love for mankind just as Thou are. Thou shall enter and enlighten
my darkened reasoning, I believe that Thou will do this. For Thou did not cast away the
prostitute who came to Thee with tears, neither did Thou turn away the tax-collector who
repented, nor did Thou reject the thief who acknowledged Thy Kingdom, nor did Thou
forsake the repentant persecutor, the Apostle Paul, even as he was. But all who came to
Thee in repentance Thou did unite to the ranks of Thy friends, Who alone are blessed
forever, now and unto the endless ages. Amen.
Saint Nicholas Cavasilas writes, “Those to whom the priest calls holy are not only
who have attained perfection, but those who are striving for it without having yet obtained
Who are the “holy”? or the “holy people of God?” (“Laos tou Theou?”) but the Church (Ekklesia) of course which our Lord and Savior Hmself founded. It is the entire body of believers in Christ. Essentially, all baptized Christians are part of the chosen race, and the royal priesthood, which form the holy nation of God. We read in Leviticus 26:12, “I will walk among you an be your God, and you shall be My people.”
In the Old Testament, the “people of God” were the Hebrews and citizens of other countries who converted and accepted the True God, the God of Israel. By chosing the Jews to be His chosen people God they were given a sacred mission and were required to obey Him and His Commandments and to proclaim God’s Truth to the entire world. God Who is just and does not show favoritism to one nations over the other, did not select the Israelites to be his chosen people out special favor to them, but to instead provide them the sacred opportunity to bring His Light to all of the human race and in doing so to be His messengers and reveal His glory and truth.
The “holy people of God” are the pleroma of the Ekklesia (Church). There can be no Church without the “people of God.” When the people ( O Laos) followed Jesus to hear His Divine Teachings there were unaware that He would also bestowed upon them His peace, love, hope, healing, and salvation. Each person in His presence responded indivitually by an act of faith. His or her personal commitment of faith incorporated that person into the Κοινωνία (Community) of believers from different countries. It was the group of believers that formed the Church of Jesus Christ and Who keeps them safe and nurtures them.
Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ is indeed the Head of the body, with the Church being the “People of God.” The “People of God” are and will always be the GUARDIANS OF ALL TRUTH, INCLUDING ORTHODOX DOCTRINE. The “People of God” form the “CONSCIENCE OF THE CHURCH” AND WHO ARE IN COMMUNION WITH GOD. Their obedience is to the Founder and Head of the Church Jesus Christ. The “People of God” have an obligation to God not only to protect and defend the Truth but to prevent the enemies of the Church from corrupting it. The “People of God” must NEVER ALLOW ANYONE FROM SILENCING THEM. They MUST NEVER BETRAY JESUS CHRIST OR ABANDONING HIM. The “People of God” have only one loaylty and that is to our Savior.
There are those who over the centuries who wish to mislead and misinform the “People of God” so that their hidden and sinister agenda may succeed but this must never be permitted. The “People of God” need to be constantly vigilant, informed, aware, and ready to confront all evil people who attempt to destroy the harmony in the Church. As the custodians of the Truth the “People of God” must seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and to be prepared for all out war with evil. Saint Paul writing to the Ephesians says, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand… having girded your waist with truth, having put onthe breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (6:13-17).
Just as important as SPIRITUAL ARMOR is a Christian’s readiness and alertness. Many Christians have fallen into complacency and a false sense of security. They are led to believe that they are not in any danger and that they are safe from all evil forces but that is not true. Evil forces work both within the Church and without the Church. Spiritual warfare never ceases. We cannot afford to fall into a lull or stupor, a state of extreme apathy and indifference. Religious leaders must be held accountable for their actions if their actions are contrary to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Orthodox Church.
The “People of God”, the Orthodox Chrisians must be diligent in their prayers and always watchfull. Those who are engaged in spiritual combat and in the “front lines,” require the back up power of a praying Church. Always remembering the Divine words of our Savior, “for without Me YOU CAN DO NOTHING” (John 15:5).
“Compel yourselves, my children, in the spiritual struggle.
Do not forget the vast experience of the devil and our
own weakness. Just as a leaf in autumn falls at the
slightest wind, likewise we fall at the slightest temptation
or trial when the grace of God does not assist us. And
when does the grace of God assist us? Only when
humility guides our every thought and deed.”
(Geronda Ephraim of Filotheou and Arizona of blessed
“Glory Be To GOD