There is no greater honor or calling on earth than to be a Christian. When the judge-torturer Sevirus asked the young Peter Apselamus: "Of what lineage are you?" Peter replied: "I am a Christian." The judge further inquired of him: "What rank are you?" To this, Peter responded: "There is no greater or better rank than that of a Christian."
Father John of Kronstadt writes: "The whole world is but a cobweb in comparison to the human soul of a Christian." The Christian is an earthen vessel into which is poured divine power and light. Whether this vessel is placed on a golden royal throne or whether it is lowered into a dark hut of a beggar, its value will be neither magnified nor diminished. Does not gold have the same value whether it is wrapped in a silk handkerchief or in a cabbage leaf?
On how man is most dear to God and God to man
"For I seek not yours, but you." (2 Cor. 12:14)
These words, which could have only been spoken by fiery apostolic love toward one's neighbor, express the essence of the relationship of the Christian toward God, and of God toward the Christian. The love of God could very well say: "Thou, O Christian, fastest for My sake; for My sake thou buildest churches; for My sake thou offerest sacrifices and performest many other good deeds. All of this is good, and all of this is pleasing to Me, but thou art more precious to Me than all of this. In the end, I seek nothing of all of this; rather, I seek thee, only thee!"
The love of a Christian could very well say: "O Lord, Thou gavest me health and that is good. Thou permittest the rain to fall; Thou dost refresh the air by Thy thunder; and that is good. Thou bestows wealth, wisdom, many years, offspring and many other good things, which Thou dost bountifully set on the table of this life. All of this is good and most good. I receive all of this with gratitude. But, in the ultimate end, this is only the hem of Thy garment. Ultimately, I do not seek anything of that, but Thee, O Lord - Thee alone do I seek."
O my brethren, that which is seen with the physical eyes is not God, and that which is seen with the physical eyes is not man. That which is seen in the whole of nature is only something of God; and that which is seen in the physical garment is only something of man. Brethren, God is Love that lowers heaven to earth. Brethren, man is love that raises earth to heaven.
O Lord, Lover of mankind, Creator and Almighty, take up Thine abode more and ever more within us, with Thy Life-giving Spirit, that we may live; that we may be alive in Thy Kingdom without death.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. I
12 January, Reflection & Homily