Met. Anthony: One needs to thank Church enemies – they make it stronger
Thanks to persecutions, the Church of Christ did not perish as its enemies had anticipated it, but gets strengthened in the truth even more, says Metropolitan Anthony.
Believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church today, before the eyes of the entire Orthodox world, have shown themselves to be active, conscious and vibrant Christians, true protectors and confessors. This was said by Chancellor of the UOC Metropolitan Anthony of Borispol and Brovary in an interview with the Pravlife resource.
Such spiritual unity relieves and comforts, says His Eminence.
“The recent events around the Church somehow testify to the rebirth of the spiritual life: the reinforced joint prayer of the faithful canonical Church, and the protection of the temples by joint efforts against attacks and desecration, when people are on duty near the temples for days and guard their holy shrines as the most precious; an active parish life and large-scale religious processions that took place on the first Sunday of the Great Lent on the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, attended by many times more people than in previous years,” he said.
According to him, all this and many other facts and evidence testifies to the spiritual awakening of believers, to the living Church.
“Christian faith is built on paradoxes. Enemies, with the right attitude towards them, can teach a good lesson and even bring spiritual benefits,” the hierarch emphasized.
He says, “We should remember that God's mercy and His love are infinite. The Lord is able to turn a petrified lump into a beautiful flower, a dried and scorched desert into a blooming garden, and make a callous, icy heart kind and gracious. The latter is the real miracle, the greatest and most incomprehensible.”
“With Divine help, even the most disgusting evil and betrayal can turn into a spiritual gain, but under one condition – to live by God: not to fall away from Him under any circumstances, prayerfully keep in touch with Him constantly, strengthened by His grace in Holy Communion and Church Sacraments,” explained the bishop.
In his opinion, difficulties will more likely open the door to Eternity than a cloudless, comfortable life: “It is precisely the various difficulties that force us to seek God, to know Him, to slightly open the portal to eternity. After all, in nature there is no other Door to eternal life.”
Metropolitan Anthony recalls the words of Blessed Augustine: “You are the perfect Being and the perfect Life. You are perfect, and You do not change.” “And further in his “Confession”, Blessed Augustine speaks incomprehensible words, profound and incomparable by their beauty, unveiling the concept of ‘time’, indicating how transient and ephemeral earthly days and trials are, as well as the intimacy of human destination,” he added.
"These words are sobering: Lord, "today does not pass with you and at the same time it passes with You, because You have everything; nothing could pass if You did not have everything. And since Your years do not run out, then your years are today." Here the saint says that the "today" of God is eternity, which includes the past, present and future. Permeating this thought, we, perhaps, might come up a bit closer to understanding the illusory nature of our life, everyday fuss, or at least try to do it,” says the bishop.
Quoting further St. Augustine: “How many of our days and days of our fathers passed through Your today; they acquired their appearance from it and somehow emerged, and others will pass, acquire their appearance and somehow emerge,” the hierarch says, “Everything flows and ever ends, the Lord is always the same.”
“We should remember this axiom and comprehend the Incomprehensible, while recognizing our inconsistency and insignificance in being able to grasp it, and in this humility we should find God rather than in the false certainty that ‘I have found God’ and ‘understood the essence of the Divine’,” he said.
“I prefer to find without finding than not to find You finding,” concludes St. Augustine, recalled Metropolitan Anthony and continued, “Let all trials do us good, while the knowledge of God be the eternal goal of our life.”
As the UOJ reported, earlier the UOC Chancellor Metropolitan Anthony of Borispol and Brovary declared that God protects from evil and relieves from fear of him: evil will always be defeated by good whatever it takes God.