A New Spiritual Order
The New Man
Who Is Jesus?
Jesus formulates a new spiritual order in man. Because He has integrated Himself into the human nature, He is always alive. He comes as supreme living being in us, as a supreme being and as infinite possibility of perfection.
“Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Corinthians 13: 5). “It is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me.” (Galatians 2: 20) “…my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” (Galatians 4: 19). Clement of Alexandria says: “God has made Himself man so that you may know how man is made God”. This is the new man, the new being, the man born from above, the man empowered by Christ with the reflex of eternity, being an outward projection of the divine image, a man of uttermost simplicity. As Jesus is the Heavenly Man who has woven Himself into mortal shape, He affirms Himself to us all and for all ages, no matter what.
Jesus reclaims therefore the confirmation of His historical existence. Yet history has failed from the very beginning and is still at fault. The fact that God has chosen to live as human being is forcing man to make a clear decision as to what he should do about Jesus. This is why our entire history is permanently troubled and our eternity is threatened by the snakes of doubt and contradiction. And this is why it is for Jesus that people have loved and have hated, have slaughtered and have comforted, they have experienced the extremes of self-sacrifice and consuming passion. All that is science, all that is beauty, all that is random quest on this earth, they are all due to Him. He is that inner force inextinguishable by centuries. His remembrance is alive everywhere, from churches to schools, from the belfry top to the dust of the road, from bedside to tomb. For if you bring down churches, and if you erase icons from our homes, the life of Jesus still can be learned from libraries and museums. And if prayer books be burnt down, His life and word may still be learned from literature. Nay, even those who curse Him unwillingly bear witness of His presence.
Empires that once ruled the world have all perished and are forgotten, which would be then the gain of seeking posthumous fame? For many have been famous throughout centuries, yet it is only Jesus Who is still inflaming spirits as in the first days.
Only someone more alive than the emperors, only someone who is the unlying idol of man can keep the flame alive. For even today, as on the day of His birth, some still love Him and some still hate Him. People still grow passionate for His passions and they still grow passionate for His love. Some live in the destiny of Christ, some others live without a destiny and without meaning. Therefore, if the interrogation “Who is Jesus?” has become more powerful with ages, and it demands from each generation a decisive response, we can only answer in one voice with the Father, in one chant with the angels, in one preaching with the apostles, in one confession with the martyrs and saints and in one single affirmation with the entire Christianity of the latest two millennia:
“This is the Son of God, the Savior of the world”.
This is the only possible answer that each Thomas must give who is born out of both human doubt and divine certitude. Whoever has attained this certitude and is ready to put his life at stake for it, it is in him that Jesus was born and this birth paves the road to eternity for those still living in history. The explanation of man’s existence and the explanation of the entire world reside both in this birth of Jesus.
“Who is Jesus?” Herod asked himself who, learning from the Magi Who He was, sentenced Him to death. He thought he might get rid of Jesus by killing 14,000 infants. This is what Herod the Tetrarch asked himself, who, hearing about the wonders worked by Jesus, still did not know what to think about Him.
This is what Pharisees and teachers asked themselves, erring all for the sake of narrow formality. They asked themselves - Who was He Who had the power to forgive our sins?
And even the apostles asked themselves: “Who is He to Whom even the seas and the storms seem to obey?”
The multitudes of mystified and confused, the worldly power, the pride of the mind, the lack of faith - all these have asked themselves Who Jesus was.
All of these turned down, sentenced and killed Jesus and this is permanently taking place in our history. Who is Jesus for us?
We can understand the contemporaries of Jesus, we can understand how hard it was for them to believe in Him. But after evidence was given of His Resurrection, after evidence was given of His godly nature, after He went through locked doors and after He was present unseen among people, showing Himself to Paul and to others after all these happened we can no longer be left without an answer. Theological answers are already known.
For us Jesus is the sense of life, He is our support in distress and temptation. He is the divine likeness we long and thirst for through the desert of our lives. He is our original nature, our very genuineness.
And most of all He is our Friend, the only Friend Who never deserts us. He is our Holy Partaking of perfection and our metaphysical hunger.
Where Do We Find Jesus?
The Gospel on the Rich Man Whose Ground Brought Forth Plentifully
God called fools two sorts of people: those who say there is no God (Ps. 13: 1-2) and the rich who care only of their stomach (Luke 12: 19).
It is for these two sorts of people that God brings correction. It almost always happens that these two sorts of sins, two erroneous ways of thinking be found at the same person, or at the same group of people. Thus, when they all win material gain, they all lose their souls and who will inherit their possessions?
What is it that God values? That would be the true wisdom; the enrichment into God and the wisdom of God is Jesus Christ. Where and how then do we find Jesus Christ? Jesus is in His commandments; Jesus is in the Holy Sacraments; Jesus is in His Holy Church; Jesus is still to be found in any Lazarus of this world and in our very Christian consciousness.
So little do Christians know about Jesus! We have received all the answers and still know nothing!
More reading then is needed of the New Testament! Flawless interpretation though belongs to the Church alone!
The Resurrection [of Jesus]
Jesus had been among men several times before:
-When He appeared to Abraham who walked along with Him, pleading with the very Lord for Sodom. (Genesis 18)
-When He wrestled with Jacob (It was night and Jacob did not know He was God – Genesis 32:24). If you are a man you must fight with God once in your life. Nay, woe to you when you win, for you are left alone on the battlefield and find out it is not you who has the victory, but death.
The following event is significant to illustrate the deep impact the Resurrection has had on men:
Some other Jacob who was assigned to liquidate God’s business on earth held a brilliant speech in front of a numerous assembly, proving, allegedly, that there was no God. Being pleased with his speech and the “evidence” he gave in this respect he wished to bring one more argument. He invited whosoever would feel confident to contradict him in five minutes’ time. A priest came out of the crowd then, who was humble in his appearance yet powerful in his faith and accurate knower of the soul of man.
-Be careful, you have only five minutes!
-That would be more than I need, the priest retorted.
And he delivered the shortest speech ever:
-My brethren, Christ is risen! And the whole assembly responded:
-Indeed He is!
What followed next is of little interest. The fact proves an essential statement: the depths of man contain a basic reaction against negation and death.
“Christ is risen!” means that God truly exists.
“Christ is risen!” means that the heavenly world truly exists, that it is real and without death.
“Christ is risen!” means that all the good and high hopes of mankind are legitimate.
All our essential and difficult problems are solved, the chains of darkness and sadness are broken because “Christ is risen!”
This is what it means to be the disciple of the Ideal incarnate: above all the sadness of this age, it means being a witness - at the cost of one’s own life - for the resurrection of human nature and for its return to its genuine condition!
Table of contents
A New Spiritual Order. The New Man.
Who Is Jesus? / 5
The Resurrection of Jesus / 8
The Resurrection [of Jesus] / 9
On the Creation of Man / 11
The Feast of Transfiguration (Of Man’s Changing for Better) / 14
The Spiritual (Unseen) Warfare
The Spirit of the Pentecost. The Trial of the Spirits / 17
On the Source of Evils / 21
Tribulation is Fruitful / 22
A Couple of Answers (The Elucidation of Suffering through Faith) / 31
The Spiritual Warfare / 33
Temptation through Pleasure
Temptation through Pain
A Simple and Harshly Tested Confessor (by Saint Isaac the Syrian) / 43
On Meekness / 44
The Uncleanliness of the Soul. On Envy and Slander / 45
The Unseen Warfare of the Monastics / 49
On Love of Money and Self Denial / 58
The Weapons of Virtues
Meekness / 67
The Confession of the Inner Man / 70
Love Burns Down Evils, Blessed Are Those Who Have It / 75
Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy / 78
On Obedience / 78
On the Beginning of Fasting / 79
On Prayer / 84
On Jesus’ Prayer
On Communal/Congregational Prayer
On Clean Prayer
Meekness and Self-Denial / 95
The Course of Weather Is Changed by the Course of Our Conduct / 97
The Sunday of the Resurrection and of the Last Judgment
The Separation from the Church / 101
The Great Day of Judgment / 103
On the Two Resurrections and the Two Trials (The Sign of Jonah) / 106
The Holy Cross. An Outline / 114
The Holy Icons / 116
Sermon Topics / 120
St Basil the Great - Memorable Words / 122
St George the Trophy Bearer; The Fighting Church and The Victorious Church / 124