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Homily for 8/14/11 - P9 - The Victorious Cross

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  • Fr David Moser
    Our God is the Victor, and all good and lasting victories, from one end of time to the other, belong to Him. He is victorious over the disorder among men that
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 14, 2011
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      Our God is the Victor, and all good and lasting victories, from one end
      of time to the other, belong to Him. He is victorious over the disorder
      among men that is made by sinners, bringing order. When the worst among
      men rise up to the first place, and the best fall to the lowest, He
      reverses that disorder, and makes the first last and the last first. He
      is victorious over the malice and scheming of the evil spirits against
      the human race, and scatters them as a strong wind disperses a vile
      stench. He is victorious over all want: where there is little, He gives
      increase; where there is nothing, He gives in abundance. He is
      victorious over sickness and suffering; He only speaks the word, and
      sickness and suffering vanish away: the blind see, the deaf hear, the
      dumb speak, the paralysed get up and walk, the lepers are cleansed. He
      is victorious over death: at His command, death looses its victim from
      its jaws.

      He reigns over a kingdom of heavenly powers - angels and saints - that
      has no end; a heavenly kingdom in comparison with which the kingdoms of
      this world are as dark and confining as the womb. He commands the
      elements and creatures of this world, and nothing is able to withstand
      His commands without disintegrating in eternal ruin.

      Day after day; victory after victory. The history of this world is a
      series of God's victories, the revealing of God's power and
      irresistibility. He is meek as a lamb, but heaven and earth tremble
      before Him. When He allows Himself to be humiliated, His greatness is
      thereby most strikingly revealed. When He allows His face to be spat on,
      He thereby reveals the foulness of all that is not He. When He gives
      Himself to be slaughtered, then His life shines forth.

      God has revealed His light through the sun, like some pale shadow of
      Himself. He has shown His power through the innumerable fiery bodies in
      the universe, His wisdom in the order of creation and created beings
      from end to end of the universe, His beauty through the beauty of
      creation, His mercy through His careful nurturing of all He has created,
      His life through all that lives. But all this is only a pale and
      ephemeral image of Him; it is only letters of fire written in thick
      smoke. All these characteristics of the living God have been revealed,
      in the greatest radiance in which it was possible for them to be seen in
      this world, in man. Not in every man; not in ordinary, created men, but
      in the uncreated Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. All came together in Him;
      in Him shone forth in the flesh both light and power, wisdom and beauty,
      mercy and life.

      What does light mean but victory over darkness? What does power mean but
      victory over weakness? What is wisdom but victory over madness and
      insanity? What is beauty but victory over ugliness and monstrosity? Is
      not mercy victory over evil, malice and envy? And life - is it not the
      divine victory over death?

      What do you think, you who follow Christ and are baptised in His name?
      Did Christ not reveal all these victories as no other ever has from the
      foundation of the world? Do you not feel every day that you are
      following the greatest Victor since the beginning of the world and of
      time; that you are baptised in the name of Him who knows and can do all
      things, who adorns all creatures with His beauty, caresses them with His
      mercy and vivifies them with His life? If you do not feel this, it will
      be of little help to you to follow Him and call yourself by His name.
      Only through the Lord Jesus can you, without the least doubt or
      hesitation, believe in the utterly victorious power of the living God
      over every creature, every element and all the evil in the world. Only
      the Lord Jesus can give you the courage to live and the courage to pass
      through death. Only He can justify hope in a better life than this
      transitory life that is subject to decay. And only He can arouse in you
      a love for all that is good, for He is God's living and incarnate
      victory over the world. "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world"
      (John 16:33), said Christ to His disciples, and He says it through them
      to us all. Let us not be afraid: our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has
      overcome the world. The Gospel is the book of His victories, the
      testimony to His almighty power. The Church's history to this day - and
      to the end of the world - is an even more detailed book of His
      victories. Whoever doubts this will be denied their fruit. …” (St
      Nikolai of Ochrid)

      Today as we celebrate the feast of the procession of the cross we are
      reminded again of the victorious might of our Lord Jesus Christ. This
      feast was established to remember the victories of both Russian and
      Greek armies who went into battle to defend against invasion carrying
      the banner of the Cross. By the power of the Cross they were victorious
      over their enemies. Even in more modern times there are accounts of
      Orthodox Christians in Greece defending their homes and cities against
      Moslem invaders beneath a banner emblazoned with the image of the Cross
      and the letters IC XC NIKA (which stand for “Jesus Christ, the Victor”).

      We know, however that all is not triumph in the Christian life. “The
      Christian suffers in this world, and suffers perhaps even more than
      other men do, because, apart from sufferings, which are the common lot
      of our nature, he also inherits and bears a special cross, the cross of
      faith, by which he becomes like his Teacher, Christ. How unfortunate
      would be the believer in his suffering, if he had not all his faith in
      Christ, who entered into His glory through sufferings, and who will come
      again to clothe in glory those who suffer for His sake. This hope causes
      man to rejoice in the sufferings of this present time, and to regard
      them but as small and unworthy "to be compared with the glory which
      shall be revealed in us" (Rom. 8:18). All the saints of the last twenty
      centuries, from the time of Peter, the Leader of the Apostles, down to
      our own times, through their hope in Christ, regarded sufferings as a
      sign of (salvation) and as an indispensable prerequisite ‘for the spirit
      of glory and of God’ to rest in our hearts (1Peter 4:14)” (Archim.
      Zacharias of St John the Baptist Monastery, England)

      It is no conincidence that the Victory of Christ is linked so closely
      with the cross, for in order to enter into the victory of Christ we must
      also enter into the Cross of Christ. We must, as He teaches us, deny
      ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. The suffering and struggle
      that we endure in this life is simply the process of dying to ourselves
      that we might live to Christ. We voluntarily and indeed joyfully endure
      all that comes to us in this life for we know that no matter how great
      the suffering, no matter how intense the struggle that our God Who does
      not abandon us and Who desires only that which is good for us is greater
      and stronger and victorious over whatever might come our way. He
      protects us, He provides for us and if we rely on Him we will never be
      left wanting. Sometimes the cross that we carry seems too heavy, too
      difficult, and it threatens to overpower us. But our Lord, in His mercy,
      compassion and loving-kindness does not lift the cross from our
      shoulders but rather grants us the might and strength to bear it a
      little longer until its work on our soul is finished and we are no
      longer focused on the cares and pleasures of this world, but instead
      “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” knowing that “all
      these things (necessary for our temporal life) will be added unto (us)”.

      “In His victory, then, we see with joy our victory, and His in ours. He
      alone is the Victor over every evil, and He alone does not allow Himself
      to be overcome by any evil. We therefore take refuge under His mighty
      wing, where there are no storms or winds, nor ghosts, "nor pain, nor
      sorrow, nor sighing, but life everlasting" (from the Kontakion of the
      Departed), and where we shall find all good things in abundance: good
      things no longer temporal, destroyed by moth and rust; where we shall,
      together with the angels and saints, glorify the victorious acts of
      Christ, the greatness of which we cannot grasp in this mortal life, in
      this confined perspective. But there, all will be revealed to us, and we
      shall rejoice, and our joy shall have no end. May praise and glory be to
      the Lord Jesus, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit - the
      Trinity consubstantial and undivided, now and forever, through all time
      and all eternity. Amen.” (St Nikolai)

      --
      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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