- 2007 MID-PENTECOSTSERMON OF METROPOLITAN MOSESAt Mid Feast give Thou my thirsty soul to drink of the waters of piety, for Thou O Savior didst cry unto all, whosoever is thirsty let him come to Me and drink. Wherefore O Well-Spring of Life, Christ our God, glory be to Thee.Dismissal Hymn for Mid-PentecostBeloved Christians,Christ is risen!We keep the feast of Mid-Pentecost, wherein we bask in the grace of Pascha and look to the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. In the dismissal for this feast we hear the voice of our Savior, as it is recorded in the Gospel, crying unto all, Whosoever is thirsty let him come to Me and drink. Our Savior calls, but it is for us to come unto Him. Our Savior Himself explains how this is accomplished:If any man would do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but He that seeketh the glory of Him that sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him (John 7: 17-18)And thus is explained the workings of grace. By responding to our Saviors call through doing His will, we gain the capacity to know of the doctrine of God. Our Savior warns us that there will be those that speak of themselves and seek their own glory, but they are not of God. Seekers of grace and truth need great vigilance and discernment and we are called to Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment (John 7: 24).Righteous judgment acknowledges that doctrine is essential to our salvation. When He offered the Cup of Salvation, our Savior Himself said, Drink ye all from it, this is the Blood of the New Testament. To be united to our Christ, we must acknowledge that the Testament or saving doctrine is inextricably intertwined with Eucharist and the Eucharist is the Blood of self-sacrificing love, shed by the God-Man.It is through the priesthood that we partake of the grace of Holy Baptism and the Sacred Eucharist. For this reason the saints taught that Gods greatest gift to mankind is the priesthood. The priesthood is an awesome ministry that is accomplished by fallible men. The human element at times intrudes into the sacred and our faithfulness is tested. We see in the history of God that many were allowed to endure much at the hands of vain men. Today we live in an age of confusion wherein churchmen act arbitrarily and Holy Tradition and Canonical order are trivialized. People lose heart and some begin to say that they dont believe in organized religion, etc. Let no one be confused by this. The Church is not a religion, or a human construct. The Church is a mystical union with the God-Man Christ. Where there is the genuine Eucharist and self-sacrificing love, there is Christ. The exalted can fall away and the humble sinner can be lifted up. We cannot confuse the sacred ministry of the priesthood with the failings of the individual.Our Savior Himself foretold that there would be scandal and false teachers. One can gain solace by reading the history of the people of God in Old Testament and the lives of the saints in the New Testament. At times these stories rival or surpass the scandals found in fiction. But the thread that is woven throughout is Gods call to repentance and return to His will.Let us return unto God by our works, hearkening to the words of Saint Peter:Be diligent to add faith to virtue and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things be in you and abound, ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2Peter 1:5-8)In Christ,+Metropolitan Moses--------------------------Words of solace and a call to vigilance concerning the fact that we all need discretion and humility and that anyone can fall away, by Saint Cyprian of Carthage, found in his treatise, The Unity of the Catholic ChurchChapter 20Let no one marvel, most beloved brethren, that even certain of the confessors proceed to these lengths, that some also sin so wickedly and so grievously. For neither does confession (of Christ) make one immune from the snares of the devil, nor does it defend him who is still placed in the world, with a perpetual security against worldly temptations and dangers and onsets and attacks; otherwise never might we have seen afterwards among the confessors the deceptions and debaucheries and adulteries which now with groaning and sorrow we see among some. Whoever that confessor is, he is not greater or better or dearer to God than Solomon, who, however, as long as he walked in the ways of the Lord, so long retained the grace which he had received from the Lord; after he had abandoned the way of the Lord, he lost also the grace of the Lord. And so it is written: 'Hold what you have, lest another receive thy crown.' Surely the Lord would not make this threat, that the crown of righteousness can be taken away, unless, when righteousness departs, the crown also must depart.Chapter 21Confession is the beginning of glory, not already the merit of the crown; nor does it achieve praise, but it initiates dignity, and, since it is written; 'He that shall persevere to end, he shall be saved,' whatever has taken place before the end is a step by which the ascent is made to the summit of salvation, not the end by which the topmost point is held secure. He is a confessor, but after the confession the danger is greater, because the adversary is the more provoked. He is a confessor; for this reason he ought to stand with the Gospel of the Lord, for by the Gospel he has obtained glory from the Lord. 'To whom much is given, of him much is required'; and to whom the more dignity is allotted, from him the more service is demanded. Let no one perish through the example of a confessor, let no one learn injustice, no one insolence, no one perfidy from the habits of a confessor. He is a confessor; let him be humble and quiet, in his actions let him be modest with discipline, so that he who is called a confessor of Christ may imitate the Christ whom he confesses. For since he says: 'Everyone that exalts himself shall be humbled, and everyone that humbles himself shall be exalted,' and since he himself has been exalted by the Father, because He, the Word and the Power and the Wisdom of God the Father humbled Himself on earth, how can He love pride who even by His law enjoined humility upon us and Himself received from the Father the highest name as the reward of humility? He is a confessor of Christ, but only if afterwards the majesty and dignity of Christ be not blasphemed by him. Let not the tongue which has confessed Christ be abusive nor boisterous; let it not be heard resounding with insults and contentions; let it not after words of praise shoot forth a serpent's poisons against the brethren and priests of God. But if he later become blameworthy and abominable, if he dissipates his confession by evil conversation, if he pollutes his life with unseemly foulness, if, finally, abandoning the Church where he became a confessor and breaking the concord of its unity, he change his first faith for a later faithlessness, he cannot flatter himself by reason of his confession as if elected to the reward of glory, when by this very fact the merits of punishment have grown the more.In Christ,+Fr. Panagiotes
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