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Homily for 1/31/10 - PS - wasted wealth

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  • Fr David Moser
    1Cor 6:12-20 “I have wasted the wealth which the Father gave to me, and in my wretchedness I have fed with the dumb beasts. Yearning after their food I
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2010
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      1Cor 6:12-20

      “I have wasted the wealth which the Father gave to me, and in my
      wretchedness I have fed with the dumb beasts. Yearning after their food
      I remained hungry and could not eat my fill. But now I return to the
      compassionate Father and cry out with tears: I fall down before Thy
      loving-kindness, receive me as a hired servant and save me.” (Vespers
      aposticha for the Prodigal Son)

      “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all
      things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of
      any.” 1Cor 6:12

      God has given to us great gifts, everything possible which can be used
      for our salvation is put at our disposal. We have the various powers and
      abilities of the body and soul, we have a wide variety of opportunities,
      we have unlimited resources in the world around us. All these things are
      given to us so that we might use them in the process of working out our
      own salvation – that is, so that we might actualize the image and
      likeness of God with which we were created and enter into eternal union
      and communion with our Lord Jesus Christ. We are prepared for anything
      and everything that we might need to acquire this goal. However, in our
      fallen and sinful state, we take what we have been given and misuse it
      for the wrong purposes. We use it to satisfy our own sinful desires an
      passions, we waste our wealth and resources which were given to us for
      heavenly and eternal purposes on temporal and worldly pleasures. As
      another hymn from the same vesper service says: “I wasted my whole life
      in a foreign land. I scattered the wealth which Thou gavest me, O
      Father.” As a result of this waste, we come up short and we have barely
      enough strength or opportunity for our spiritual needs.

      In the way we live our lives, we have become blind to the true purpose
      of life and to our destiny given us by God. We no longer see the
      spiritual essence of the things around us and have become blind even to
      the working and purposes of God in every thing that we do at every
      moment of our lives. There are those who, in their blindness, do not see
      God working in their lives and so have become content with the idea that
      God does not matter, God does not care for them personally and as long
      as their worldly wants and needs are met, there is nothing else beyond
      that. This indifference to the spiritual world brings about negligence
      in any kind of spiritual activity and eventually brings one to a state
      of functional atheism where God does not seem to exist – or if He does,
      He is far away and doesn’t intervene in our lives. For this reason it is
      necessary that we do not allow ourselves to become negligent in our
      spiritual lives. In order to have the motivation and desire for that
      which is from God, we must first nurture within ourselves the awareness
      of God’s presence with us and His love and care for us. Every day it is
      necessary to remind ourselves that God is with us. In order to do this,
      we pray in the morning when we arise, speaking with God and renewing our
      acquaintance with Him. Throughout the day it is good to remind ourselves
      to pray, asking for God’s help and blessing in even the simplest of our
      daily activities so that we become aware that He is beside us and
      helping us in everything that we do. At the end of the day, we set aside
      a few moments again for prayer to give thanks to God for all that He has
      done with us and for us in the past day and ask for His protection
      through the coming night. In this way we maintain our relationship with
      Him and strengthen it little by little.

      Every desire and passion of the body – which are usually experienced as
      temptations of various sorts – was originally given to us to be used for
      our salvation. Do you desire to eat and drink? Then ask God for the food
      which is immortal and the drink which is never exhausted. Do you become
      angry at people or circumstances that are not in line with your own
      desires and hopes? Turn that anger towards the sins which pull you away
      from God and which thwart your salvation. Do you desire to acquire good
      things, beautiful things, valuable things? Work instead to acquire
      spiritual wealth, the adornment and beauty of the virtues and the grace
      of the Holy Spirit which is beyond price. See how even those desires
      which when turned toward the world are temptations with which we
      struggle can instead be turned and directed towards heavenly things and
      they become helps rather than hindrances, empowering us to pursue our
      salvation.

      There is a proper use for everything in our lives that we come across
      whether it is an internal aspect of our personality or whether it is a
      circumstance of our external environment. As the Apostle says – “all
      things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.” In order to turn
      away from our wasteful use of God’s resources, we must begin now to
      break away from our old destructive and wasteful habits and begin to
      establish new ones which are beneficial to the spiritual life and in
      harmony with God’s purpose for us. The key element is our free will. God
      has given us the freedom to choose how we use that which we have been
      given. Because of our sinful nature, our will is inclined to make the
      wrong choices. Initially, we make these choices (directing our desires
      and energies towards worldly goals) because we are blind to the
      spiritual life and don’t see (or don’t understand) the alternative
      choice. After a time the choice becomes habitual so that even as we see
      the alternative choice of heaven, our habit is to choose the worldly
      goal. We use – or rather misuse – what God has provided for us simply
      out of habit and so it is necessary to break that old habit and replace
      it with a new habit.

      For this, God gives us more help. He sees that we have wasted that which
      we have been given, but out of His love for us, He does not abandon us
      to “get what we deserve” and “reap that which we have sown.” Instead, He
      sees our need and pours out even more gifts upon us from His
      inexhaustible grace. When we reach out to him from the bottom of the pit
      that we have dug for ourselves, He reaches down to us to pull us out.
      Then He gives us the help that we need to begin to live our lives anew,
      according to His original plan and desire for us. This help is given to
      us through the communal life of the Church. In the Church we help and
      support one another for we are all in need and we have all fallen short
      of the Kingdom of God. In the Church we are also given new tools and new
      supplies which are particularly useful for the restoration and repair of
      the damage that we have already experienced in our lives. These tools
      are the prayers and services and sacraments and traditions and customs
      and practices of the Church. The supplies are the infinite grace of God
      and His love which He pours out upon us through the sacraments and
      through the many blessings of the Church. By fasting and self denial, we
      break away from our dependence upon worldly things and by works of
      righteousness we retrain ourselves to walk in the path of Christ. By
      participating in the life of the Church, by following the prescriptions
      for how to order our lives and by constantly dipping into the
      inexhaustible well of grace given to us by God, we are renewed and
      regenerated and healed.

      The Apostle says that all things are lawful, but not all things are
      profitable. Let us then choose the profitable things; let us order our
      lives according to the destiny which God has given to us. Let us
      reorient ourselves away from the things of the world and turn instead
      toward the things of Christ. May He become the center and focus of our
      lives, replacing our selfish and worldly ego. Let us then choose that
      which is profitable; let us then choose Christ.

      --
      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
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