From The Blog

Mission Monthly – August 2008

(The following passage is from St. Nikolai Velimirovic's commentary on the Gospel of St. Matthew 6:22-33—the third Sunday after Pentecost. It is a brief passage but one of great depth and importance! I am not sure how many ways there might be to impress upon a Christian the very urgency and responsibility of his election. I suppose the only restriction to this might be the number of those who undertake the attempt. I do not believe I have ever found better. What is said is left to each of us not to debate or dispute but only to respond. May we each do so with obedience, humility and boldness in the greatness of our calling!)

“Of all men on earth, the greatest responsibility before God is carried by the one who calls himself a Christian, for God has given most to the Christians, and will seek most from them. To peoples who had moved far from God's primal revelation, God left nature and the mind: nature as a book and the mind as a guide to the reading of this book. To Christians, though, in addition to nature and the mind, God's primal revelation has been restored, and a new revelation of truth has been given in the Lord Jesus Christ. As well as this, Christians have the Church, that is the guardian, interpreter and guide in both Revelations; and finally, Christians have the power of the Holy Spirit, who has given life from the Church's beginning, and teaches and guides it. And so, while non-Christians have the one talent—the mind—that guides them and teaches them from the book of nature, Christians have five talents: the mind, the Old Revelation, the New Revelation, the Church and the power of the Holy Spirit.

“When a non-Christian turns to nature, to read and interpret it, he has the light of only a single candle: the mind; when a Jew turns to nature, to read and interpret it, he has the light of two candles: his mind and the Old Revelation; but when a Christian turns to nature, to read and interpret it, he has the light of five candles: his mind, the Old Revelation, the New Revelation, the Church and the power of the Holy Spirit. Who, then, should see better and more clearly: the one with a single candle, the one with two or the one with five? There is no doubt that they will all be able to read up to a point, and even less doubt that the one with five candles will see further and read more clearly than the other two.

“When a man who walks by the light of five candles finds them all extinguished, he will be left in greater darkness than a man who walks by the light of one, and it is extinguished. When two men find themselves in one and the same darkness, it is darker to the eyes of the one who comes in from the greater light. But those who walk by the light of just one candle—with a pure and undarkened mind—can pierce through the dark valley of this life into God's great light; however, it is easier for those whose way is lit by a five-branched candlestick. And when those who walk with one candle are without excuse (Romans 1:20) if they turn from the path and lose themselves in darkness, what sort of answer will those to whom God has given five candles have before Him, when they turn from the way and lose themselves in darkness? In very truth, of all men on earth the greatest responsibility before God is borne by the man who calls himself a Christian.”

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