Thursday, November 21, 2013

Rise and shine

Wake up from your sleep,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.
Ephesians 5:14
Jerusalem Bible

Here are a couple of texts, both from John Chrysostom, that I'd like to share to encourage you.

The sun gives forth light; it cannot help doing so. Animals breathe in and out; they cannot help doing so. Fish swim in rivers and the seas; they cannot help doing so. What, then, are the things which a Christian cannot help doing?
First of all, a Christian cannot help praying. To be a Christian is to regard God as a loving Father; and it is natural to talk and listen to one's parents.

Second, a Christian cannot help praising God and giving praise to Him. To be a Christian is to affirm God as Creator of the universe; and when a Christian looks at the beauty and glory of what God has made, praise and thanksgiving pour from the lips.

Third, a Christian cannot help being generous. To be a Christian is to acknowledge that everything belongs to God, and the human beings are merely stewards of what they possess; so they naturally want to share their possessions with those in need.

Fourth, a Christian cannot help reading the Scripture and also studying the insights of other Christians. To be a Christian is to rejoice in the power of the Holy Spirit; and the Spirit speaks to us through the Scriptures and through the insights of our spiritual brothers and sisters.

Let me describe to you five ways of repentance; each is different, but all point toward heaven.

The first road is the acknowledgment of sins. If you acknowledge your sins to God, He will forgive you; and this act of acknowledgment will help you stop sinning. Let your conscience be your accuser, so that you will not have to face a far different accuser at the Lord's tribunal.

The second road of repentance is the forgetting of the wrongs of others. This requires you to control your temper and to forgive the sins that others have committed against you. If you forgive others, the Lord will forgive you.

The third road is prayer: not perfunctory routine prayer, but fervent, passionate prayer in which you lay yourself wholly before God.

The fourth road is generosity, in which by acts of thoughtful love you make amends for the sins you have committed.

And the fifth road is humility, whereby you regard yourself as having no virtue, but only sins to offer to God; He will then take the burden of sin from your back.

At times it will be right to travel on one of these roads, at other times to travel on another. But ensure that every day you walk along at least one of them.

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