26 January 2012
The Other-Worldliness of Holy Orthodoxy
Eugene Rose Lay Sermon Jan. 1964
It is often said of Holy Orthodoxy that it is “other-worldly.” This is true, and it is its strength; but the full significance of this fact is often forgotten or neglected even by Orthodox Christians themselves. It means that we believe in and govern our lives by invisible realities, that “we walk by faith, not by sight” (II Cor 5:7). It means that our daily lives are an unseen warfare, “not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph 6:12). It means that we daily pray to and receive help, in the battle against the invisible enemy of our salvation, from supernatural beings of whom the world does not even recognize the existence: from the Most Holy Trinity, from the Mother of God, and from numerous angels and saints. It means that we live by standards that are often not merely beyond the comprehension of the world, but are directly opposed to the wisdom of the world; that we do not find the end of life in success, prosperity, and earthly happiness, but rather welcome - if these be God’s will for us - affliction, sickness, pain, humiliation; that we do not indulge the passions of the natural man but, with the aid of the disciplines provided by the Church, crucify them, knowing that “if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die, but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom 8:13). It means that we do not lay up treasures for ourselves on this earth that will be destroyed, but that we keep always in mind the final destination of the soul; that we try to live in such a way that we may escape the dreadful flames of Hell that await those who reject our Lord or are careless in serving Him, and strive with all our might to be among those to whom our Lord will say, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mt 25:34).