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Vladyka Nikolai of Ochrid/Zica Part 2

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  • tallscapes@aol.com
    FAITH AND ORDER 1927 PART 2 Vladyka Nikolai of Ochrida Now when the question is raised as to which of these seven Mysteries is more and which is less
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 15, 2001
      FAITH AND ORDER 1927 PART 2
      Vladyka Nikolai of Ochrida

      Now when the question is raised as to which of these seven Mysteries is more
      and which is less important, the question inflicts a wound upon the
      conscience
      of a believer. It seems almost an offense to the Holy Spirit. Throughout
      its whole past, down to our own times, the Church has gathered a rich
      experience of the
      effective workings of God the Holy Spirit in all these seven Mysteries. One
      chariot
      might look more sumptuous and another less sumptuous, but it is not the
      chariot
      that matters but the charioteer. Whenever the Holy Spirit descends upon men
      through His grace, is it not indifferent how He arrives, sumptuously or
      simply?
      It is He that matters. And since we know even from the present experience
      of the
      Church as well as from Holy Scripture that His grace descends and works in
      the
      Mystery of Extreme Unction, why then ask whether Confirmation, or Penance,
      or Marriage is something greater than Extreme Unction? The greatness of all
      the
      Mysteries, their brilliancy, their beauty and thei miraculous character come
      from
      Him --- God the Holy Spirit. Ask a doctor which is more important for a
      person in bodily sickness, that he should be cleansed from impurities, or
      that he should be
      filled with fresh vitality; that he should be fed or healed or helped in his
      last agony;
      what would he say? He would be bewildered. Or ask a householder which is
      more
      necessary for a house, that it should be cleaned or filled with fresh air
      and light; that it shoudld be maintained or or kept in repair, or saved when
      in danger of falling; he,
      too, would be bewildered. We empty our soul from the impurity of sin
      through Baptism; we fill it with fresh powers in the form of God's gifts
      through Confirmation;
      we feed it by Christ the living Lord through the Eucharist; we freeit from
      new
      impurities of sin through Penance; we heal it and save it in a great
      emergency
      through Unction; and since we are many and not one, we need the growth of our
      sacred society, i.e. of the Church, and we get this growth through Marriage;
      and
      again, since we are many and not one, we need a divinely ordered dispensation
      to prepare the soul for immortal life in the eternal Kingdon of God. Thus
      the seven
      Mysteries represent the sevenfold drama of the Christian soul's ascent from
      the
      dark pit of sin to the height and glory of the Kingdom of God.

      And if anyone should think that perhaps Baptism and the Eucharist (or other
      two or
      three of the seven Mysteries) are the only Mysteries, the only Sacraments,
      well
      --- let him ask God about it; by fasting and praying tears let him ask God,
      and He
      will reveal to him the truth as He has always revealed it to the saints. As
      to us of the East, we are afraid to depreciate any of the seven marvellous
      Mysteries, we are
      afraid of God the Holy Spirit. For He whispered to the Apostles and to the
      saints
      the truth about everything necessary to man's salvation. Therefore all that
      we have
      said about the great Christian Mysteries is not an opinion of our own (if it
      were an
      opinion of our own, it would be worth nothing), but it is the repeated
      experience of
      the Apostles in the ancient days and of the saints up to our own days. For
      the
      Church of God lives not on opinion, but on the experience of the saints, as
      in the beginning so in our days. The opinions of intellectual personsmay be
      wonderfully
      clever and yet be false, whereas the experience of the saints is always
      true. It is
      God the Lord who is true to Himself in His saints.

      May the Lord God the Holy Spirit, with the Father and with the Son, give to
      all those
      who tearfully pray to Him the grace of wisdom and the power to see and
      recognize the whole truth, necessary for the salvation of all of us, the
      baptised and the never
      sufficiently penitent children of God.
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