Below is a translation from Russian of a short message from Met. Luke of Zaporozhye. His words remind me of those of Bl. Seraphim Rose, “Orthodoxy is something first of all of the heart, not just the mind, something warm and not abstract and cold, something learned and practiced in life.”
Who of us is Christ’s?
In 2nd Corinthians 10:7-18 (the reading from Sept. 3rd), the Apostle Paul speaks to us about how, if we consider ourselves to be Christians, we must also be acting in a manner like unto Christ. Can we say of ourselves, “I’m Christ’s?” Some will with certainty answer, Yes I can.
But, where does such certainty come from? Is it from the fact that you follow church regulations and all the traditions that govern the divine services? Yet even members of an organization will follow its charter. And even the gentiles live with ceremony. And one could hardly compete with an Orthodox Jew in observation of the law.
Thus, the one who is truly Christ’s, does not only believe in Him but also loves Him.
This love, according to the word of the Lord Himself, is manifest only in one thing – the following of His commandments (cf. Jn 14:15). Commandments, which, in fact, may be reduced to one – love God and people. It is Only a heart that is encompassed in this love that makes of us Christians, and not the formal adherence to simply some moral law.
The Corinthians, were used to high oratory skills, which were valued in those times. A preacher could only ensure his authority by speaking beautifully before the congregation. But the Apostle Paul was not a outstanding orator. The enemies of the Church noticed this, and tried to undermine the authority of the Apostle before his flock. The Apostle answered his disciples that his power is not in word but in spirit.
One needs to look not at simply the external beauty of words but rather at the energy of grace, which must be found in them; an energy that draws its strength from a heart which is aflame with the love of God. We must never forget about our high responsibility before God – to manifest in our life Christ Himself and reflect in ourselves the magnitude of His virtue. Amen.