20 February OS 2018: Monday of the Third Week of Lent; S. Leo of Catania
The first reading at Vespers today is Genesis 6:9-22.
“…Noah was well pleasing to God (6:9).” Why? Because”…Noah did all things whatsoever the LORD God commanded him, so did he (6:22).”
Noah and his family survived the Great Flood and laid the foundation for the whole future of the human race, because one person did “…whatsoever the LORD God commanded him…” Noah, by obeying God, preserved an earthly future for the entire race of man. His obedience foreshadows the perfect obedience of the New Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who bestowed an eternal future upon our race by His obedience unto death upon the Cross.
It is fashionable today to say that Orthodoxy is all about “mysticism” and supposed visions of “elders” and “hesychasm” and so forth, and that insisting on obedience to the Ten Commandments and the moral precepts of the Church is some kind of “fundamentalist” hang-up. People can believe this if they want (and people do tend to believe whatever offers the path of least resistance to their passions), but this approach will certainly lead them into both delusion and immorality. Without struggling to practice the ABC’s of a moral life based on the plainly revealed requirements of the Faith, a Christian never attains genuine spiritual experience. Whatever exalted experiences the deluded person does enjoy are impermanent, illusory, and elusive. He refuses the boring and hard-won security of building his house on the rock of Christ’s words and prefers to wander about a spiritual Disneyland hall of mirrors until a certain monster from the labyrinth comes out and devours him.
It is fashionable today to say that Orthodoxy is just one (maybe the best, but still just one) among many “traditional religions,” and that “many ways lead to God.” To believe in the exclusive claims of the Church is just more “fundamentalism.” “I just cannot believe,” says the “tolerant” nominal Orthodox, “that people could go to hell for not believing in this or that dogma of the Orthodox Church.”
This is your problem, my friend: you cannot believe. You refuse the obedience of Faith. Noah, by contrast, obeyed God. This one person, exercising the obedience of Faith, saved the human race. He believed that everyone except his family was going to drown, because God told him so.
Be like him.