Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Clinging to Christ with all one's strength ( Archimandrite Alexander )
The goal, then, of our earthly life is to inherit eternal life in the kingdom of heaven. To reach it our loving Creator requires of us only that we respond to Him with the kind of sincere, pure and selfless love with which He loves us.
Such love is a spring which flows from this temporal life into the beauty of eternal life. The reason for man's life is to become more and more like God and to draw nearer and nearer to Him. The substance of our life should be the continuous upholding of everything in us that furthers nearness to God and rejection of everything that takes us away from Him.
How can the fire of such love and such striving be kindled in the soul? Once it is lit, how can it be guarded, so that it is not allowed to go out, but rather, as much as possible, it is turned into the flame of salvation, which burns up all impurity in the heart? Man cannot do this by his own power, no matter how sincerely he desires it. The winds and waves of the passions are too strong, and they come from sources hostile to man: the world which lies in sin, the flesh which loves sin and the devil, the originator of all evil.
For salvation, therefore, it is necessary to cling to Christ with all one's strength, to become one with Him. Then His divine power and His love will fill our souls. They will protect, sanctify and strengthen us; they will lead us on the sure but narrow path to eternal life. Christ speaks thus about the necessity of staying with Him: "I am the Vine, ye are the branches. The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine" (John 15:5). In other words, authentic spiritual life, which brings forth good fruit, is impossible unless one is united in the closest possible way with the Source of spiritual strength - Christ.