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Homily for 6/11/06 - Pentecost - rivers of living water

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  • Archpriest David Moser
    A couple of weeks ago we heard the story of St Photini (Svetlana) the woman at the well. Our Lord spoke to her about living water and promised that he would
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 11, 2006
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      A couple of weeks ago we heard the story of St Photini (Svetlana) the
      woman at the well. Our Lord spoke to her about "living water" and
      promised that he would give to her that water which would satisfy the
      thirst of her soul. Today in the Gospel, our Lord speaks again of the
      Living Water, inviting us to come and drink. He then promises that
      rivers of Living Water will flow from the hearts of those who believe on
      Him. This living water is the grace of the Holy Spirit and on this day
      of Pentecost this promise is fulfilled. The Holy Spirit, the
      inexhaustible source of this Living Water, has descended upon the Church
      and has entered into each one of us, becoming within us a fount of
      Living Water, filling us with His grace.

      This river of grace flowing from the Holy Spirit in our heart is like a
      great waterfall under which we stand, constantly inundated by this river
      of grace. We have now everything that is necessary for our salvation -
      for it is this grace, as it becomes integrated into our being which
      transforms us and makes us anew in the image and likeness of Christ. So
      now that God has poured out upon us and within us this great flood of
      grace, it remains only for us to use what He has provided.

      This coming of the Holy Spirit marks for us the beginning of our labor
      as Christians in working out our salvation. Up until now everything has
      been done for us. The Son of God took our flesh and came into the world
      for us. He laid for us in the teaching of the Holy Apostles, the
      foundations of the Church, the ark of our salvation. He suffered for us
      and submitted to death on the cross for our salvation so that by His
      death, He might free us from the tyranny of sin death and the devil. He
      rose for us in order that we might rejoice in His victory and to open
      the door of paradise to receive as many who would follow Him. He has
      ascended into Heaven to prepare a place for us and now He sends down
      upon us the Holy Spirit to open the floodgates of grace which now pour
      down upon and within us. He has done everything up until now. He has
      accomplished our salvation for us, and now it remains only for us to
      enter into that salvation and begin to make it real in our lives, to
      incorporate that salvation into the core of our being, to apply the
      grace that continually washes over us so that it might begin to
      transform us. But even now He does not abandon us but through His life,
      through His teaching, through His Holy Apostles, through His saints,
      through His Holy Church, He shows us every step, every move, every
      breath to take that unites our lives with His life.

      We have struggled together through Great Lent, dieing to the world so
      that we might be made alive to Christ. We have rejoiced together at the
      Great Victory of the Resurrection of Christ and the whole Paschal
      season. Now it is time for us to apply the grace of the Holy Spirit to
      our lives so that we might together enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
      This labor is not the labor of Great Lent, the labor of dieing to the
      world, of cutting off the world - that has been accomplished. This
      labor is a joyous labor of replacing all those parts of our worldly
      lives that have died off with the life of Christ with the life of the
      Heavenly Kingdom. Now is the time to step out with renewed vigor, with
      renewed dedication, with renewed hope and joy - now is the time to start
      walking along the path of salvation that has been opened to us.

      In addition to speaking about the Living Water, our Lord also reminds us
      today that He is the light of the world and promises that those of us
      who walk with Him shall have the light of His Life. This Light is the
      result of the action of the grace that He has poured out upon us in our
      soul - recreating us, rejuvenating us, enlightening us. This then is
      the progression, that we receive the grace of the Holy Spirit, the
      Living Water, which is poured out upon us in abundance from the day of
      Pentecost onward and as we allow that grace to work on us, as we apply
      it to our lives, it begins to enlighten us as we follow Him and to fill
      us with the Light of His Life.

      St Theophan the Recluse explains a little bit about this. The
      immaterial soul, he tells us, has an ethereal material covering, very
      fine, very unearthly, but still material. This ethereal covering of the
      soul mediates the connection of the soul and the body, which is much
      coarser, being closer in nature that of the animals. This ethereal
      covering, he says, takes on its appearance from the state of the soul,
      becoming filled with light, very bright as the soul itself becomes more
      transformed by grace, as it becomes holy. On the other hand, when the
      soul is filled with sin, the covering becomes dark and clouded. He
      gives two opposite of examples of this from the lives of the saints:

      "During the life of St. Andrew the Fool-forĀ­ Christ, there was a
      hieromonk who was a faster, a solitary and man of prayer. Everyone
      honored him, that is, they held him in reverence. But when St. Andrew
      met him, he saw that he was arrayed in some sort of dark fog, and that
      around his neck was curled a snake with the inscription "snake of
      avarice." Such was the soul that he had! However, no one could see it.
      But the enlightened spiritual eyes of St. Andrew saw.

      In Antioch there lived a magician named Cyprian. A youth asked him to
      use his magic to win for him the favor of Justina. an exemplary
      Christian. whom he wanted to make his wife. but she would not even look
      at him. Cyprian sent demons who were in his service to her several
      times. These demons were supposed to use their particular means to
      kindle within her love for the youth, but whenever they approached her
      residence, they were unable to enter it. Turning back, they claimed that
      they were repulsed and scorched by a light from within: for this Justina
      was arrayed with light, as if enveloped by some sort of cloud, and they
      were unable to see her. What better example is there of a soul so
      bright, than when it is Christian, pure in conscience and devoted to the
      Lord?" (from "The Spiritual Life and how to be attuned to it")

      God pours out upon us the living water - that is the grace of the Holy
      Spirit. And as we cooperate with this grace, as we incorporate it into
      our own lives and make use of it, we become full of the Light of
      Christ. Today, the day of Pentecost, the day of the Descent of the Holy
      Spirit, is the beginning of our transformation. We have cleared out the
      old dirt of sin, Christ has provided all that is needed for our
      salvation and now today, as we stand inundated in the flood of Living
      Water, the grace of Holy Spirit we begin again the working out of our
      salvation so that we too might be filled with the Light of Christ and
      that His Life might be ours.

      V. Rev. David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Boise, ID
      email: moserd@...
      homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      ask Fr David: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/frd_private/

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