January 30, 2011
By Monk Moses the Athonite
In our difficult and turbulent times there is generally a small powerful group of people with certain metaphysical pursuits. Some find God as a necessity, as an armchair, and as a raft. Usually people find what they are looking for and what interests them. They do not want to get tired and toil much. They are satisfied with rough and easy solutions. In this way, sometimes religiosity exhausts them as formal obligations without any return. Sometimes they are lured by unscrupulous teachers who exploit their divine desire by offering them liberation, joyfulness, relaxation and rest.
In this pursuit there is a strong demonology, antichristology and eschatology, which unfortunately is established on a false foundation. Extremism, setting dates for the end of the world, reports about the birth of the Antichrist and so on, create terror and fear in the souls of Christians, which is improper and undesirable. Some talk more about the Antichrist and less about Christ. Their permanent occupation is the interpretation of the times. Many who are wise and prudent are concerned for the great concerns of the people. Every news story which confirms their suspicions becomes their permanent concern. We do not consider this overreaction normal.
People have abandoned the war against the unnatural passions and the cultivation of the natural virtues to engage all day with fantasies, fears, superstitions and the possibility of any magic performed on them, worrying if perhaps they acquired a certain number. They have forgotten study, prayer, good works, repentance, and the sacramental life of the Church in their struggle with subjective explanations and outlandish theories. These topics distance one from the essence, from the basis, and from the joy of spiritual life and lead people in a dark demonic labyrinth.
In saying this, we do not mean to say that there is nothing going on. We are not talking in favor of unhealthy complacency, or laziness, or being mislead, or indifference. There is definitely a need for wakefulness, for standing up, for upliftment, for courage, and for resistance to what is unholy, untrue and dishonest. The freedom of the human person is very important and should always and everywhere be defended in every way. All our attention should turn to what is essential, vital and true in themselves. Unfortunately many people are afraid to embrace truth, to see their internal nakedness. This is why they want to deal with what has personal benefits.
People today are anxious that perhaps they may not be able to use their spoons and forks, because they will not have anything to eat. They gather food for the difficult days ahead. Even without a date for the end? With what joy will they eat when their brethren around them are dying of hunger? Did not Christ teach the "Our Father"? Does it not say "give us this day"? In other words, even Christians are interested only in chewing? It is important to carefully see where the militancy of our Christians goes. Do not give these ironic lurkers who do not fear God, who lately have increased, the occasion to laugh.
We are judged by our choices. We have a responsibility for our choices. There is a necessary need for study, knowledge, experience, enlightenment and advice. Let me say it again. We all need sincere repentance, a healthy change, a change of mind, a new way of life, a new culture, another destination, a different goal, a higher aim, a meaningful life. Honorableness, righteousness, and honesty can return to this wretched place.
If the much debated citizenship card deprives us of our freedoms, then of course we should not receive it, obeying the decisions of the Church. But we should not ever have to live with suspicion, fantasies, exaggerations, fanaticism, extremism and factions. Fear, terror, panic and reactionary uprising against everything is not the proper way of spiritual life.
Are we in the end times? Have the signs of the times come? Has the Antichrist set his seal? Has the end of the world come? All will be done according to God's will. The ancient Saint Silouan said: "Even if heaven and earth unite, I will not be afraid." Christ gives believers fearlessness, calmness, hope, optimism and joy. Defeatism, gloom, pessimism and disorder never belongs to Christians.
May the celebrated saints, the Three Hierarchs, illuminate for us the path of discernment.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.