Fr. Spyridon Skoutis
A lot of hesitations…
Some people don’t want to go to confession, others are driven mad by being woken up early to go to church, the fast seems like a mountain, but dieting for the beach is a child’s game. You see a priest on the street and you feel like crossing the road. Sin wants to anchor you in its own harbour.
And what’s behind all this?
We don’t want to abandon sin. We like it. As one song says, the cup of sin is sweet. We don’t want to leave, we’ve been together for years, we enjoy this marriage. We’ve become as one. If anyone goes to touch our other half, even in a sermon, we go wild. Everything’s a rebuke to us. We see Christ crucified and cry on Great Thursday, but we don’t want to take the next step. The sight of the Cross is a rebuke to us, but we’re too weak to take the path of healing.
Sin’s like a lover who threatens to break up your marriage if you breathe a word. You come to church, simply light a candle and leave with bowed head, not able even to look the saints in the eye, because that would reflect on your condition and you don’t want that. You’re ashamed, but do nothing about it. You’ve handed over too many of your rights. You’re in a tight spot.
When you’re used to being in your prison cell, freedom seems like an illness to you.
Then Christ comes into your life and whispers to you in all the various situations you’re involved in that you don’t want to be who you are, that this prison you’re living in isn’t really your home. Often He speaks to you when you’re in pain, because that’s the only time you heed Him.
And suddenly the time comes for you to take decisions.
If you accept His invitation, then, as the saints say, your passionate love of sin is extinguished by the passionate love of the Bridegroom, and healing can begin.
In the Church, we call this ‘repentance’, a journey with Christ at the helm. We also call this healing ‘sanctity’ and ‘transformation in Christ’. We call our acceptance ‘intent’. The sense of change we call ‘being touched by Grace’. Christ’s whisper we call ‘revelation’.
You’re ill, but also the first to be invited to a banquet, at which you’re the guest of honour.
The banquet is the Holy Altar. The master of the feast is Christ Who spoke to you and you’re the guest of honour.
You’re the one sitting in the prayer-stall. Others might mock you for getting involved with old women and gossips, but you’re already somewhere else. You look at sin and are repulsed by it. Suddenly you hear the sound of the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven opening and you’re being invited in…
All of this happens in the Church, where you’re together with the sick, the mad, the sinful and the besotted.
Fight the good fight, my friend. Never forget: you’re a member of His body.
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