By Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos
There are many devout Christians who foster the question: If we make love five minutes before our wedding it is a sin, but if we make love five minutes after we are okay?
This is exactly the nature and power and value of the Mysteries: to change things, to alter situations, to transform events, to make the sinner holy, to bless the forbidden, to raise the earthly to heaven.
"Five minutes" before the blessing of a priest we have on the Holy Altar "bread" and "wine", but "five minutes (to the second) after" we have from this the divinized Body and Blood of our Lord!
"Five minutes" before the baptism of catechumens it is a grave sin to convey to them the Divine Eucharist, but "five minutes after" the conveyance is an essential and holy act.
"Five minutes" before his ordination as Bishop the "elect" remains a Presbyter and cannot celebrate the ordination of a Cleric, but "five minutes after" the continuation of his ordination in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy he can ordain Presbyters and Deacons.
But why should we remain in the divine and supernatural Mysteries of our Church? Perhaps "within our" life, that is our earthly life, there are similar parallels.
"Five minutes" before the signing of a contract by a notary and the parties involved it is simply a paper, but "five minutes after" it remains an indisputable public document created with legal consequences (rights and obligations) sometimes to an unfathomable extent.
"Five minutes" before the signing of a covenant it is no different than wrapping paper, but "five minutes after" it has the strength to determine the fate of hundreds of millions of assets.
"Five minutes" before the inauguration of a President he is just an ordinary citizen devoid of any special power, but "five minutes after" he is given the power to dismiss the Government and dissolve the House.
Yes, "five minutes" before marriage the carnal relations of a couple is a sin, and "five minutes after" it is not a sin.
Source: Translation by John Sanidopoulos