The Christian Faith is the only Faith in the world that has one determined and never-changing standard of values. St. John Chrysostom speaks clearly about how it measures and classifies its values.
He says: "Things are divided into three categories: The first are good and cannot be evil - for example, wisdom, charity and the like. The second are evil and can never be good - for example, perversion, inhumanity and cruelty. The third, at times, become one or, at times, become the other, according to the disposition of those who make use of them."
This divine teacher explains that riches and poverty, freedom and slavery, power, disease, and even death itself fall into the third category. They are neither good nor evil by themselves, but become either one or the other, according to the disposition of men and the use that men make of them.
For example, if riches were good and poverty evil, then all rich men would be good and all the poor would be evil. However, we are daily convinced that, as there are good and evil rich men, so also are there good and evil poor men. The same can be applied to the healthy and the sick, the free and the enslaved, the satiated and the hungry, and those in authority and those under subjugation. Even death is not evil, for "the martyrs, through death, became more fortunate than all others."
On understanding through doing
"If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself." (Jn. 7:17)
It benefits little to prove by human logic and words that the teaching of Christ is the teaching from God. the fastest and most reliable way to know that this is truth is to do the will of God in the same way that Christ proclaimed it and testified to it. Whoever does this will know that the teaching of Christ is the teaching from God.
If you weep for the sake of God, you will know what a comfort He is. If you are merciful, you will know the mercy of God. If you build peace, you will know how it becomes you to be called a son of God. If you forgive men, you will know that God forgives you.
No one can ever know that the teaching of Christ is the teaching from God, except he who does the will of God. Doing the will of God and fulfilling His commandments is the only key for unlocking Paradise, in which God is seen. That is the key for understanding Holy Scripture and all the mysteries of revelation.
St. Basil writes: "In order to understand that which is hidden in Sacred Scripture, purity of life is needed."
What else does the Lord want from us, when He teaches us that through doing His will we arrive at the understanding of the divinity and His teaching? He simply wishes that we, by [the fruit of] our deeds, become convinced of the divinity of His teaching. He does not desire that we be convinced of this in an easy manner, but rather in a more difficult manner - not only by listening, but by doing, because whoever is convinced in an easy manner will easily waver and change his mind; and as for him who is convinced in a difficult manner, it would be difficult for him to change his mind. Brethren, that is why we must endeavor to fulfill the will of God, in order that we know God and save our souls.
O Lord, all-wise, help us by the power of Thy Holy Spirit to do Thy will.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. I
21 January, Reflection & Homily