The called and the chosen
- The called and the chosen
In one of the Sunday Gospel readings we hear the parable of the Royal Son's
In a direct historical sense this parable refers to the Jews, who were
called, but who disdained the honor of their heavenly calling. However,
just like the entire Gospel in general, this particular parable is not
limited to a single meaning, but contains greater depths.
The image of the man who came to the feast without wearing wedding garments
reveals to us the principle that for our salvation it is not enough to be
among those who are called. We still need "our own" clothes, i.e. personal
in life which transforms us from the "called" into the "chosen."
The Church is the Body of Christ and not some kind of external
organization; therefore, our genuine contact with the Church takes place
through the personal striving of each one of us. In this manner we are
outwardly distinguished from the so-called Western Christianity that
surrounds us, in which personal striving is belittled, if not completely
The parable ends with the words: "Many are called, but few are chosen."
And, in truth, much is being said about Christianity these days, but very
little is being done that is Christian; much is being said about peace, but
very little is being done for peace. All of it is being done by those who
were called, but not chosen. Actually, it is not surprising, since faith
itself, without personal labor, can cease being faith, i.e. it dries up as
a seed without moisture. For example, the mystery of the Holy Trinity,
although incomprehensible to the human mind, is nonetheless undoubtedly
true. Yet how many so-called Christians, influenced by various false
teachings, doubt this dogmatic truth or simply do not believe!
Nevertheless, if one looks at the contemporary press, it turns out that
these same people are ready to believe in all manner of absurdity and
fantasy. People who reject the miracles of God and His saints, at the same
time allow the existence of miracles of nature. For example: that man
emerged from some kind of bio-chemical mixture, but now is being born of
his own kind! Or ? that the universe came into being all by itself! What
can be more improbable than such a "miracle"? And, furthermore, it is a
miracle without a miracle-worker. It is much more difficult to understand
such an origin of man or universe than to understand the major dogmas of
the Christian faith, even for the simplest mind. And such mis-conceptions
are often repeated by people who call themselves Christians.
The Lord has invited all of mankind to the wedding feast, i.e. to eternity,
but few people have realized it and do not have ? or do not wish to have ?
proper spiritual garments. The influence of this seemingly Christian, but
in reality anti-Christian environment can have an effect ? and actually has
a great effect ? on us, Orthodox Christians. We have been given the
fullness of faith, but we must also preserve it, which in our times becomes
more and more difficult. In spiritual life we cannot stand in one place:
either we will rise, or we will go down under the influence of our actions
or inaction, and also under the effect on us of our surroundings.
Let each one of us contemplate his spiritual life and at least for a moment
think of where he now stands: we may remain called, but are we chosen?
Thus let us keep our faith in God, for without true faith there is no
salvation. And the Holy Church teaches us to believe in the One God
glorified in the Trinity ? the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, ? the
One-in-essence and indivisible Trinity, Which we glorify unto the ages of
Protopriest Igor Hrebinka