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Elder Moses the Athonite

We’ve said before that God is not wrathful, bent on punishment and revenge. If He were, He would be bad. But there’s no trace of badness in the divinity.

Every trial is an education from God and is a form of the spiritual struggle we have deliberately banished from our lives. In a variety of ways, the good Lord tries to bring us closer to Him. In God’s eyes we’re all fighting the good fight.

Today’s economic crisis is a great trial, test and education. God is a wonderful educator. He’s trying us for our own good and for our victory. Greece has been exposed, is insecure, frightened, in turmoil. Spiritually defenceless, seduced by the good life, surfeit, hyper-consumerism, enrichment and profligate enjoyment. The magnetic attraction of the Greek life-style to material goods has brought sorrow and bitter disappointment. All we think about is what to eat and drink. Lots of books have been published full of weird recipes for food. In seeking for happiness anywhere and everywhere, all we’ve found is its broken shards, misery, venality and unaccountability.

Unemployment is on the rise, poverty more widespread, pain increasing and people feel as if they’re failures, alone and hopeless. Without God, all of these worsen to a worrying extent. With God, they’re not all solved at once, by magic. But at least people have the feeling of the presence of God, of His love, of the grace of the Holy Spirit, of consolation and of hope. And so they don’t have to despair in the midst of their daily difficulties. They can live in the world, but not be carried away by everything ignoble and shameless. Unshakeable faith will bring optimism. Real love will offer charity and alms. In this way the hearts of wounded will be enlightened and warmed.

Those who still follow false gods or make gods of people in politics, the arts and sciences will be miserably deceived. Without God, every crisis will tyrannize people and make them suffer from dreadful delusions and great hardships. The shysters who entrap naïve people with illusions, visions of the future and talk about the anti-Christ are mistaken and committing a sin. We need care, discrimination and gravity.

It’s time to decide to forgive, sincerely and cordially. To become humble and merciful. To love and practice courtesy, tolerance, companionship and goodness. We’re lacking the human touch. Smiles are hidden. Faces are marred by harshness and glowering, which also overshadow movements, words and decisions. The difficult situation our country finds itself in will not be helped by more burdens, additional measures, rejection and vengefulness. The police can arrest, when it’s appropriate, but not resort to violence. Judges should not exhaust their severity on some people alone. They present themselves as rigorous enforcers of the law, but sometimes prove to have erred badly. Teachers of all levels don’t help their students by being fierce, unnecessarily strict and ironic. Our politicians have made a mockery of us and the government is non-existent.

The present crisis is an opportunity to look at ourselves with severity and at others with leniency. Kindness is beautiful. Mutual understanding, mutual respect and mutual admiration are even more necessary today. In the closed house, there’s an open window. A window that brings in sunlight and fresh air. Spring is a great season. In the darkness, a candle will lighten the gloom. Let us open the window of our hearts with the humanity and kindness that everyone needs.



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Pemptousia Partnership

Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person ­– the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.