Darkness does not exist in its own right
Our Orthodox Christian theology views evil not as a primeval essence that is co-eternal and equal to God, but rather a falling away from good. Evil does not exist in and of itself, and was not created by God. Our Orthodox Church rejects the Gnostic teaching that the entirety of being is made up of two realms which have forever existed together: the kingdom of light, and the kingdom of darkness.
This darkness does not exist in its own right, but is simply the absence or lack of light. Evil, according to Saint Basil the Great, ‘is not a living and animated substance, but a condition of the soul which is opposed to virtue and which springs up in the slothful because of their falling away from Good. Do not, therefore, contemplate evil from without; and do not imagine some original nature of wickedness, but let each one recognize himself as the first author of the vice that is in him’.
Nothing is greater than God, including evil, and evil results when the free will of God’s creation is directed against God and thereby engendering evil.
This is precisely what happened when the light-bearing morning star (Lucifer), fell away from the Source of goodness, and became the evil one, Satan. Lucifer, by imposing his own will, found himself in darkness. Since his power is based in falsehood, he can only influence us by convincing people that he is as powerful as God. Yet his power is finite, and good will eventually triumph on the Last Day.
That God would allow evil to exist in the first place, is a mystery, for the scriptures do not explain this. Yet we do know through the scriptures that true love must express itself in action, and in the face of evil and suffering, a Christian is called to action by loving God and his neighbor. Evil then becomes but a simple practical problem, one that the Christian finds ways to alleviate. As Christians we are charged with bringing God’s love and goodness into the world by our actions.
Saint Anthony of Egypt, said, “The devil is afraid of us when we pray and make sacrifices. He is also afraid when we are humble and good. He is especially afraid when we love Jesus very much. He runs away when we make the Sign of the Cross.”
With love in Christ, Abbot Tryphon
Thursday June 19, 2014
2nd Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Apostles’ (Peter & Paul) Fast. Fish Allowed
Venerable Bessarion the Wonderworker of Egypt (466).
Venerable Hilarion the New, abbot of the Dalmatian Monastery (845).
Venerable Raphael confessor (1957).
St. Jonah, bishop of Perm (1470).
Venerable Paisius, abbot, of Uglich (1504).
Venerable Jonah, abbot of Klimetz (1534).
Virgin-martyrs Archelais, Thecla, and Susanna, beheaded at Salerno (293).
“Pimen” Icon of the Mother of God (was brought to Moscow from Constantinople in 1381 by Metropolitan Pimen).
Five virgins of Caesarea in Palestine: Martha, Mary, Cyria, Valeria, and Marcia (Greek).
Venerable Attalus the wonderworker (Greek).
Martyr Gelasius (Greek).
Venerable Photius, monk (Greek).
St. Justus, patriarch of Alexandria (130).
Martyrs Amandus, Amantius, Alexander, Lucius, Alexander, Alexandria, Donatus, and Peregrius at Noviodunum in Scythia Minor (320).
St. Claudius of Besancon (699) (Gaul).
St. Basil of Mangazea, Siberia (1602).
St. Jarlath of Cluain Fois (560) (Celtic & British).You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.
“Blogs and social networks give us new opportunities for the Christian mission…Not to be present there means to display our helplessness and lack of care for the salvation of our brothers.” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill
The Scripture Readings for the Day
10For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Death in Adam, Life in Christ
12Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.
Wind and Wave Obey Jesus
23Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
26But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”