My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE
SATURDAY OF THE SOULS
THE SOUL AFTER DEATH
Saint John Chrysostom, speaking of the soul, tells us "it is not possible for a soul, torn away from the body, to wander here anymore. For THE SOULS OF THE RIGHTEOUS ARE IN THE HAND OF GOD, and if of the righteous, then those children’s souls also–for neither are they wicked–and THE SOULS OF THE SINNERS ARE STRAIGHTWAY LED AWAY HENCE. And it is evident from Lazarus and the rich man, and elsewhere too Christ says, "THIS NIGHT THEY DEMAND THY SOUL FROM THEE" (Luke 12:20) And it may not be that a soul, when it is gone forth from the body, SHOULD WANDER HERE; NOR IS THE REASON HARD TO SEE. For if we, going about on earth which is familiar and well known to us, being encompassed with a body, when we are journeying in a strange road, know not which way to go unless we have someone to lead us, how should the soul, being rent away from the body, and having gone out from all her accustomed region, know where to walk without one to show her the way?
"And from many other things too one might perceive, that it is not possible for a disembodied soul to remain here. For both Saint Stefanos, the Protomartyr says, "Lord Jesus, RECEIVE MY SPIRIT (soul)" [Acts 7:59]; and Saint Paul, "TO BE WITH CHRIST…THAT IS VERY MUCH BETTER" (Philippians 1:23); and of the Patriarch too in the Holy Scripture records that "THOU SHALT DEPART TO THY FATHER IN PEACE, NOURISHED IN A GOOD OLD AGE" [Genesis 5:15], And as to the proof, THAT NEITHER CAN THE SOULS OF SINNERS CONTINUE HERE; here the rich man making much entreaty for this, and NOT OBTAINING IT; since had it been at all possible, he would have come, and have told what had come to pass there. Whence it is evident that AFTER THE DEPARTURE HENCE OUR SOULS ARE LED AWAY INTO SOME PLACE, HAVING NO MORE POWER OF THEMSELVES TO COME BACK AGAIN BUT AWAITING THAT DREADFUL DAY."
Saint John of Damascus writes: "ONE WHO HAS DEPARTED UNREPENTANT AND WITH AN EVIL LIFE CANNOT BE HELPED BY ANYONE IN ANY WAY. BUT THE ONE WHO HAS DEPARTED EVEN WITH THE SLIGHTEST VIRTUE, BUT WHO HAD NO TIME TO INCREASE OR, EVEN IF HE WISHED TO, COULD NOT INCREASE THIS VIRTUE BECAUSE OF INDOLENCE, INDIFFERENCE, PROCRASTINATION, OR TIMIDITY, THE LORD IS A RIGHTEOUS JUDGE AND MASTER WILL NOT FORGET SUCH A ONE."
Saint Athanasios the Great accepts that "THE SOULS OF SINNERS RECEIVE A CERTAIN BENEFIT FROM THE Bloodless Sacrifice. But this is done AS ONLY OUR GOD WHO HAS AUTHORITY OVER THE LIVING AND THE DEAD KNOWS AND ORDAINS."
Elsewhere, Saint John Chrysostom urges us not to grieve inordinately for a beloved one. "Now suppose he departed with sin upon him, even on this account one ought to rejoice, that he was STOPPED SHORT IN HIS SINS AND ADDED NOT TO HIS INIQUITY. Therefore, help him as far as possible, not by tears, but BY PRAYERS AND SUPPLICATIONS AND ALMS (CHARITY) AND OFFERINGS. For not unmeaningly have these things been devised, nor do we in vain make a mention of the departed in the course of the Divine Mysteries, and approach God in their behalf, beseeching the Lamb Who is before us, WHO TAKETH AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD; – NOT IN VAIN DOES THE PRIEST STAND BY THE ALTAR AND CRY OUT WHEN THE TREMENDOUS MYSTERIES ARE CELEBRATED, "FOR ALL THAT HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP IN CHRIST, AND FOR THOSE WHO PERFORM COMMEMORATIONS FOR THEM, THESE THINGS WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SPOKEN, SINCE OUR SERVICE IS NOT A MERE STAGE SHOW–GOD FORBID! YEA, IT IS BY THE ORDINANCE OF THE SPIRIT THAT THINGS ARE DONE.
"Let us then give them AND PERFORM COMMEMORATIONS FOR THEM. For if the children of Job were purged by the sacrifice of their father, why do you doubt that we too offer FOR DEPARTED SOME CONSOLATION ARISES TO THEM, SINCE GOD IS WONT TO GRANT THE PETITIONS OF THOSE WHO ASK FOR OTHERS? Let us not then be weary in giving aid to the departed, both by offering in their behalf and obtaining prayers for them for the universal EXPIATION OF THE WORLD IS EVEN BEFORE US. Therefore, with boldness do we then ENTREAT FOR THE WHOLE WORLD, AND NAME THEIR NAMES WITH THOSE OF THE MARTYRS, OF CONFESSORS, OF PRIESTS. FOR IN TRUTH ONE BODY ARE WE ALL, THOUGH SOME MEMBERS ARE MORE GLORIOUS THAN OTHERS; AND IT IS POSSIBLE FROM EVERY SOURCE TO GATHER PARDON FOR THEM, FROM OUR PRAYERS, FROM OUR GIFTS IN THEIR BEHALF, FROM THOSE WHOSE NAMES ARE NAMED WITH THEIRS. WHY THEN DOST THOU GRIEVE? WHY MOURN, WHEN IT IS IN THY POWER TO GATHER SO MUCH PARDON FOR THE DEPARTED?" (Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)
(To be continued)
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry(,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George