Monday, September 27, 2010

The Three Realities: Death, the Soul, and God the Judge


By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

All our riches, glory and honor are as a brief repast that ends at death. No one takes a single crumb of this meal into the other world. Blessed is the one who understands that the soul is his only possession that is not diminished by anything, not even by death. Such a one thinks only of three realities: death, the soul, and God the Judge.

Abba Evagrius teaches: "Hold your approaching death and the Judgment constantly in your mind, and you will preserve your soul from sin."

All our bodily cares in this life are like cares about a meal which must soon be cut short.

St. Isaiah the Solitary says: "Have death before your eyes every day: think constantly about how you will separate from the body, how you will pass through the region of the powers of darkness who will meet you in the air, and how you will present yourself before God. Prepare yourself for the Dread Day of answering to the Judgment of God, as though you already behold it now."

One day, John, a rich merchant, came to St. Sabbatius of Solovki (Sept. 27) and brought him many alms. Sabbatius did not accept any of it, but rather told the donor to distribute all of it to the needy. John became very sad at this, and the saint, in order to comfort him and make everything clear to him said: "John, my son, stay here and rest until tomorrow, and then you will see the grace of God." John obeyed. The next day, John entered the cell of Sabbatius and saw the elder in final repose, and sensed a wonderful fragrance in the cell.

He who foresees the end of his life does not think of worldly goods.
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