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homily for 9/17/06 - P14 - soul's garment and seal

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  • Fr David Moser
    2Cor 1:21-2:4 & Matt 22:1-14 Today we welcome into the Church a new member -- the newly baptized infant M. It is fitting then that we should read about the
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 20, 2006
      2Cor 1:21-2:4 & Matt 22:1-14

      Today we welcome into the Church a new member -- the newly baptized
      infant M. It is fitting then that we should read about the wedding
      feast of the Lord at which we are all guests. Towards the end of this
      parable, the host discovers one guest who is not attired in a festive
      garment and because of this is excluded from the feast. But today we
      have clothed this new guest at the feast with the festive garment of
      grace through the Holy Mystery of Baptism. This is as the psalmist
      says: "My soul shall rejoice in the Lord for He hath clothed me with the
      garment of salvation."

      Today we also heard the words of the Holy Apostle Paul, "Now He who has
      established us with in Christ and hath anointed us is God; Who has also
      sealed us and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts" With these
      words we recall the words of the Holy Mystery of Chrismation, "The seal
      of the gift of the Holy Spirit".

      These two Mysteries, which are given to every Orthodox Christian at
      their entry into the Church form the beginning and foundation of our
      Christian life. Everything else, every other Mystery, every prayer,
      every service, every good deed, every holy thought or act simply builds
      on this beginning. It is as though at our baptism and chrismation, our
      Lord places us in a great and glorious palace and then guards all the
      entrances against the onslaughts of the evil one. We are kept safe in
      this marvelous palace by the grace of God which guards us constantly.

      There is a children's fairy tale about a princess, Rapunzel, who was
      beautiful and who had a father who loved her greatly. In order to
      protect her from those who would take advantage of her beauty, her
      father put the princess in a tower and then sealed all the entrances so
      that no one who would be able to get to her. There was only a window at
      a great height and whenever the father or one of the servants who would
      care for Rapunzel would come, they would call to her to let down her
      hair which had grown to a great length so that they could climb into the
      tower through the high window. Thus our Lord protects us, placing us in
      glorious tower, impenetrable to sin and leave us only a heavenly window
      so that only He and His servants can come to us. But in the fairy tale,
      Rapunzel listened out her window to the fair words of a wandering
      prince who continually tempted her and called to her to let down her
      hair so that he could climb up to her. Finally she succumbed to his
      temptation and he came up and took her out of the tower and away from
      her father's house.

      The evil one is not content for us to remain safely within our Father's
      house and although he cannot come in to take us away, he comes and
      shouts constantly at the window, seeking to get our attention so that he
      can then tempt us and deceive us with his lies. But he cannot get to
      us, he cannot touch us -- unless we listen to his shouts and open the
      door to allow him to come and breach the seal that God has put around
      our soul. This points out the importance for us to resist temptation,
      to apply ourselves to the Christian life, to learn to listen not to the
      lies of the evil one or of the world which will take us away from this
      heavenly abode, but rather to put all of our attention, all of our hope
      on Jesus Christ and to remain in the safe place where He has put us. In
      order to do this and to preserve ourselves safe from the depredations of
      sin, we must then be careful of the kind of things that we allow into
      our awareness. Be attentive to what you watch, what you hear, what you
      read, what you touch and taste and feel. Every impression from the
      outside has an impact on the soul. We must also be attentive to our
      inner life -- to our thoughts, our imaginings, our fantasies in order
      that we can turn away from those things which are at odds with the life
      in Christ and embrace instead those which lead us nearer to our Lord.
      Not in vain do our Orthodox fathers an mothers caution us against
      nurturing even the idea of sin or of allowing such an idea to gain form
      and substance within the soul.

      At the Mystery of Chrismation, the blessed Chrism is applied to the
      various parts of the body of the newly baptized Christian sealing his
      whole being by the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our forehead is sealed --
      signifying the mind and the thoughts that reside there. The eyes, ears,
      and nose are sealed sanctifying those senses. The lips are sealed,
      sanctifying not only that which enters, but also that which proceeds
      from the mouth. The hands are sealed, sanctifying our sense of touch as
      well as our deeds. The breast is sealed sanctifying the heart and the
      feelings that reside therein. The feet are sealed, sanctifying each
      step that we take in this life. The whole of our being is sealed and
      sanctified in this Mystery, teaching us the necessity of keeping our
      senses pure, our thoughts and feelings and desires pure and holy and
      that all of our words and deeds and steps proceed from a pure heart and
      mind and thus are sanctified. This is the seal of the gift of the Holy
      Spirit -- our whole being is sealed and sanctified so that we become the
      temple of the Holy Spirit.

      Our Lord has given to us a splendid palace, a mansion in His Kingdom
      beyond compare. Here we have everything that is needed for our lives as
      Christians, everything that is needed for our salvation and eternal
      bliss. He guards us in this place so that we can concentrate and focus
      on all that is good and resist all that is evil. He seals us in this
      place so that the temptations of the world and of the evil one do not
      have power over us. We are preserved by the power and grace of the Holy
      Spirit in the Kingdom of God.

      Brothers and Sisters let us remain as much as possible in the house of
      God, recalling at every moment of our lives the presence of the Holy
      Spirit in us, the seal and sanctification of all of our senses, all of
      our words and deeds and all of our thoughts and feelings to the glory of
      God. Let the constant remembrance of God be in your heart and mind to
      preserve you from the attacks of the evil one and let all that you do be
      done to the glory of God so that your whole life becomes a prayer and
      hymn of praise. You have been clothed in the festal garment of Christ.
      You have been sealed by the gift of the Holy Spirit. You are filled
      with the grace of God which is constantly poured out upon you and by
      which you are day by day and moment by moment transformed into the
      Divine image and so are united with Jesus Christ Who is our salvation.
      Our God, Who is the Lover of mankind, loves you and cares for you and
      has clothed you with the garment of salvation so that you might remain
      in His house forever sharing in the divine feast as a guest, as a
      friend, and as a child and heir of His glory.

      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Ask Fr David: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/frd_private/

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