Christ is in our midst, my dear readers!
On the first Sunday of September we traditionally pray for the whole world, about the infinitely beautiful miracle that unfolds before our eyes each and every day. Blinded and blinkered minds concentrated on their own problems and thoughts do not give people a chance to rejoice, to feel amazement and admiration at everything around them. For example, in the world live millions of parrots and parakeets, and each one has its own unique character. You won’t even find on earth two flowers that mirror each other completely. No matter where we look—at a tree, an ant, a swallow, or a ladybug—they all preach to us about the Creator’s endless wisdom. Just watching your pet cat is enough to make you believe in God. What things created by human hands can compare with the snowy mountain peaks, carpets of field blossoms, the astounding artistry of heavenly sunrises and sunsets, the clouds’ mysterious outlines or the infinite beauty of a starry sky. The Lord gave us this world not so that we would blow it up, saw it in pieces, disfigure it, and destroy it with our egoism and insatiable longing for pleasure. He gave it to us so that we would preserve this beauty with sacred trembling and reverence. Ruling over the world in the biblical sense of the word means serving it with love and a feeling of responsibility before God. But instead of being a wise and diligent proprietor in this world, man has become its torturer and murderer.
To what has man’s perverted reason come? To foie gras and bullfighting, fields poured with chemicals, lakes covered with oil and refuse, and thousands of birds and beasts suffering because of human cruelty and greed. But after all, they feel pain just as we do; they are also afraid of death, experience stress, suffer from depression and despondency. How stony and insensitive human hearts have become!
I have great admiration for those people who in this difficult and terrible time of war find the strength and courage in themselves to care for abandoned domestic animals; people who, despite bombings, remain to fulfill their human duty in animal shelters and zoos, taking care of the maimed and sick creatures of God. God looks at us through the eyes of these unfortunate four-legged sufferers. How much there is human in these eyes. And how much brutishness there is in people who have forgotten their human dignity.
Holy Scripture and the ChurchThe following article was written in 1914, when St. Hilarion was an archimandrite and a professor of the Imperial Moscow Spiritual Academy. Its message is especially pertinent for our times, when there is widespread confusion and ignorance about the true nature of Christ’s Church and about the right approach to Holy Scripture. It can provide invaluable help to Orthodox Christians in understanding their Faith more deeply, and in defending and giving an account of it when confronted with heterodox — especially Protestant — claims.
“> Holy Scripture teaches us that all creation groans and is torments now, with hope and yearning awaiting the deification of the sons of God. Its hope is that together with people they might enter the Kingdom of eternal beauty and joy. I am sure that God will not forget these suffering eyes of our little brothers, nor will He forget the cruel, deceitful hearts of people who have become worse than the demons.
Source: Orthodox Christianity