March 2017 English Newsletter Posted March 8, 2017 by admin


March, 2017

My Beloved the benevolent

Wishing you a blessed spiritual period during the Great Lent. The period of Great Lent is a time of spiritual growth and getting closer to our God who loved us and sacrificed Himself on our behalf. And one of the important factors in spiritual life is to have a clear goal. Our goal is the kingdom of heaven as our Lord Christ told us, “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matt.6:33

Busyness and caring for worldly things overshadow the spiritual goal for people. Therefore, the church chose in the first Sunday of Lent to remind us of what our Lord Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” Matt.6:25

            Do you care about the earthly treasure or the heavenly one? Our Lord Christ tells us, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt. 6:19-21 A person whose treasure is in heaven, has his heart in heaven.

We need to ask ourselves, where are our hearts? At the beginning of the Anaphora prayer in the liturgy the priest says, “Lift up your hearts.” and the congregation replies, “We have them with the Lord.” When our hearts are truly with the Lord, then our works are righteous and pleasing to the Lord. The Lord looks at the heart not to the eyes or outer appearance. The group of hypocrites that our Lord warned us against: on the outside they offer, they fast and pray, but from the inside their hearts are with people not with the Lord. Thus, says the Lord about them, “Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.” Matt. 6:2, 6, 16

            Christ Our Lord talked to us on the Sermon on the Mount about another group that perform miracles and cast out demons, but they are not accepted by God.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven, many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ “ Matt.7:21-23 This group did not do the will of God despite performing miracles, and casting out demons in the name of the Lord. This does not mean that performing miracles and casting out demons is against the will of God, but the goal and the motivation is important. Many do good deeds but not with a clean heart or the right spiritual motivation, therefore, the works are not acceptable to God, “I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.” Lu.13:27 How would it feel for a person to perform miracles in the name of God, and cast out demons in His name and then hear on Judgment Day that he is a worker of iniquity? Truly, a bizarre thing, but it is an important and frightening thing as well.

It is important to understand the motivation behind anything we do even if we perform miracles. And it is frightening to be deceived by the devil, thinking that we are doing the work of God and rejoicing with the people’s praise; forgetting that we are considered workers of iniquity before God and miracle workers before the people. St. Paul the Apostle explained this when he discussed the importance of love, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” 1Cor.13:1-3 The heart that does not have the love of God and love for people cannot please God, even if it does miracles and knew all the mysteries.

Our good Lord invites us during this blessed Lent period to evaluate our motives and purify our hearts to be filled with God’s love and love for people, to care for the needs of the needy and serve them with hearts filled with love awaiting our reward not from people, but from our Good Lord.

May God bless all your offerings to support Santa Verena Charity Programs and fill your hearts with peace.


                                                                                                Metropolitan Serapion