Thursday, January 9, 2014
The grace of God in our life ( St. John of Kronstadt )
We see the grace of God openly working in life. If a man was proud, a lover of self, and unkind, but became humble and gracious, he became so by the power of grace. By the power of grace the unbeliever becomes a believer; the lover of money, no longer greedy, but honest and generous by the power of grace. The glutton becomes moderate in eating from the conscious knowledge of high moral purpose, by the grace of God; he who hated and was full of malice, a lover of his fellow man by the power of grace; he who was cold toward God and toward the Church is transformed, he becomes a fervent believer in God, by the act of grace. "From this it is evident that many live without grace, not knowing its importance and its need for themselves, and do not seek it... Many live in all kinds of abundance, and pleasure, but they have no grace in their hearts, this most valuable treasure for the Christian, without which the Christian cannot be a true Christian and inherit the kingdom of God."
"The sign of God's mercy and that of His Most Holy Mother of God toward us, after or during prayer, is peace within the heart, especially after the affect of some passion, which is the absence of peace of soul. By peace of soul and a certain holy inclination of the heart we can easily ascertain that our prayer is heard and the grace asked for is received."
Take advantage then, Christian, of God's treasure of grace! "When you pray to the Father and the Holy Spirit in the Trinity, the One God, do not seek Him outside yourself, but perceive Him within yourself as living in you, completely penetrating within you and knowing you. Know ye not that ye are temples of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
Remember "that your soul is like some imprint of godliness and all the riches of the soul consist of God, as within a treasure (the treasure of grace) from which we can draw every spiritual good, by the prayer of faith, and by patience, and by purifying ourselves from all iniquity."
"As there is an overabundance of sources of water on earth, and all drink from them, come and draw freely, for the Lord is an ocean of spiritual waters; come and draw all the spiritual good with the dipper of true, firm, and unashamed faith. Only extend this hearty dipper and you will inevitably draw abundantly the water of life, the forgiveness of sins, and peace of conscience. But fear doubt; it deprives you of the means of drawing forth every mercy of God."
The waters from this source you will also find in communion with the saints during prayer; they are in the graceful life of the Church. "The priesthood and in general, all the saints, are blessed water containers, from which the water of grace is transmitted to other believers. Living waters will flow from the depths of rivers."
In such a manner Father John teaches us the fundamental truths of the Christian faith and life founded on these truths. The value of his theological teaching for us consists in the close connection between his theological thought, his words, his life, and all his sanctified activity. The value is in this, that his personal life is justified, proved, and realized by his faith in action. "Experience!" - "Based on experience!" with this exclamation Father John often finishes his separate writings. "No matter how many times I prayed with faith, God always heard me and answered my prayers." What can be said stronger than these words!
St. John of Kronstadt