Is Holiness Practical Today?
By Monk Moses the Athonite
All the saints of our Church
“ended their lives after a good struggle and keeping the faith”.
The saints are good-conquering strugglers and undaunted confessors. They were visited by the Holy Spirit and graced. They were not just good, kind, noble, smiling, and ethical, but they were icons of Christ. They are the ones that remain always indissolubly united with Christ, who reveal to the world and lead people to Christ. The saints assure us that the gospel is feasible and practicable throughout the centuries and we can if we want strive to unite with Christ. The saints by accepting Christ in their lives unreservedly are made christ-like, and become christ-bearers and christ-seers. In this way they testify, confess, preach, and present everywhere and always Him. They cannot live without Christ. For them He is everything.
Quite often we are given various opportunities to confess Christ. Sometimes we do it promptly and pleasantly, sometimes with difficulty and sometimes out of fear or shame not at all. The true believer confesses Christ always fearlessly, because they keep living in repentance and humility. He feels weak, but trusts fully in Christ and is richly strengthened. He confesses Christ Who is in him. Sometimes it is hard to confess Christ even to those very near and dear to us. Then, according to the Gospel, they become
“household enemies of this man.”
It happens that our own people do not understand us, but shouldn’t we make an attempt to discreetly talk about Christ. Or sometimes we go to the opposite end. We talk to them so much about Christ, where in the end we fatigue them, sicken them, and repress them, so they do not even want to hear about Christ. We can never push or dominate or threaten anyone, and even more our own people, to follow Christ.
Christ is freedom and love. He invites, and requires no blackmail. We are called to inspire people to love Christ. When man is self-imprisoned by the mighty “ego”, suffering from selfishness, individualism, egopathy and pride, it is difficult to love others, more so God. And thus he is unable to confess in front of people. Whoever does not confess, this means that they don’t have love. Whoever does not love is self-sentenced to an icy loneliness, which will begin in this life and continue to eternity. The selfish egoist feels the love of God as fire, and cannot resist it, does not want it, is bothered by it, and it burns him.
The saints always remain humble, because they have the certain conviction that what is good has been given from above, and are not their own spoils. So the saints can’t boast about their gifts, being given by the Father of Lights. Our saints, in full consciousness of their gifts, give all glory, honor and worship to God the Gift-giver. When they are praised by people they praise the Source of all good, the All-Good God. The more God sees man humble himself, the more He blesses him and graces him, since always
“to the humble He gives grace”.
A charismatic who uses his gifts to his own glory and gain, surely will soon lose it, and be exhibited miserably in the eyes of people he exploited. From this life he will be confused, bewildered and wretched and he will expect eternal hell.