17 June OS 2021: Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Matthew; Holy Martyrs Manuel, Sabel, and Ishmael
Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 7: 21-23:
The Lord said, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
If we want to enter the Kingdom of God, we must do His holy will. This should seem obvious – Christianity 101, so to speak – but the obvious bears repeating. No amount of prayer or good works is pleasing to God apart from obedience to His will.
A lot of present-day verbiage intended to attract non-Orthodox Christians to Orthodoxy over-emphasizes Orthodoxy as a path to healing and spiritual fulfillment, while downplaying or even denying the character of the Church as the Church Militant. This accords with the spirit of our age, in which everyone fixates on a little god called the individual and his imagined needs. Every potential convert is a “needy” little victim of someone or other, and the Church is “reaching out” to him to “fill his needs.” This effeminate approach attracts effeminate converts and produces effeminate Christians, not warriors for God’s Kingdom. The Church is a place of healing, of course, but only as a field hospital for those wounded in battle, not a “safe space” where conscientious objectors to doing battle with evil can feel better about their separate peace with the devil.
In another place, the Lord says that many are called but few are chosen. The “few” are those who have forgotten about themselves and care about God: His honor, His glory, doing His holy will. A true Christian is someone who struggles daily to crucify his delusions and his passions, and he seeks only to do the will of God. The journey of his life often proves unpleasant, and he often proves unpleasant company for the small of soul who conduct their pilgrimage on earth as a shopping trip for lollipops.
The call to conversion is a trumpet call to battle, not an advertisement for a spa. Let those who feel sorry for themselves suck their thumbs somewhere else. The Church is for those who want to be heroes.
This day, this hour, this minute, let us seek to love God above all and to do His holy will.