His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry: There are no crooked roads to God
There are no crooked roads to God. We must preserve the purity of the holy faith so as not to get lost in this life, says the Primate of the UOC.
On June 24, 2020, the Primate of the UOC, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kyiv and All Ukraine, explained why God gives more talents to one person and less to another, and why salvation is impossible without fulfilling the Commandments of God. The Primate’s interview was published by the UOC Information and Education Department.
The Primate said that God loves everyone equally, but He gives one person more talents, opportunities in life, and less to another.
“God loves everyone and has no specific preferences for man. This means that in His attitude to human, He does not look at the beauty of a person’s face, at his clothes, social status ... But those who love Him, i.e. those who adhere to the Commandments, are more pleasing to God. He said: “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them” (John 14:21).
As regards opportunities and talents, there is not a single person who would not have talents or endowments. Everybody has his own abilities; everybody is unique in this respect. The task of life is not to bury your talents but to develop them and apply them for the sake of the glory of God in the interests of people.
Talent can be compared with the grain the Lord sowed in every person, and a person should in turn grow it in order to reap spiritual fruits. With the help of talents, we must learn to pray, forgive, endure, love, thank God and repent before God – talents are given to us so that through them we cultivate Christian virtues that lead man to eternal salvation in Heaven. As regards why the Lord does not give every person the same amount of talent, I will say the following words: this is the work of God, not human. We should gratefully accept from God those talents that the Lord honor us with and try to prayerfully multiply them.”
Speaking about the need to fulfill the Commandments of God, His Beatitude Vladyka emphasized: it is wrong to think that God's Commandments, such as “love your enemy” or “turn the other cheek”, are difficult to fulfill.
The Primate noted, “What is impossible with man is possible with God”(Luke 18: 27). God saves man if man wants it, if man directs all his efforts to fulfill the Commandments of God.”
“Our Lord Jesus Christ said that ‘whoever comes to me, I will never drive away’ (John 6:37). He reaches out His omnipotent hand to everyone, who wants to be saved, and leads to salvation. The Lord in His Church has left us all the fullness of grace for our salvation. And when a person works spiritually, purifies his heart, and thus becomes able to contain the grace of God, then all the Commandments of God become desirable, joyful and not hard for him/her, because the grace of God comforts a person’s heart and gives the power to fulfill them.
If today man does not meet the requirements and rules that the Gospel reminds us of but recognizes these Commandments, he still has a chance to be saved. He can at the last moment, like a robber on the cross, say "Forgive me!", and God will forgive. However, for this to happen one needs to get to know the Lord."
According to the Primate, in order to recognize the Commandments of God, “one must preserve the purity of the holy Orthodox faith, not depart from it anywhere, neither left nor right. Today they try to confuse us, interfere in the affairs of the Church, indicate where we should go, what we should do. What we must do has long been spelled out in sacred laws, and the interpreters of these laws are holy fathers. It is they who correctly interpret the sacred laws, rather than people who are far from the Church and who in their spiritual inexperience supposedly want to do good, but this good turns out to be evil.”
“Saint John the Baptist, preparing people for the advent of the Savior, called to “prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him” (Mark 1: 3). There is no crooked road to God. Therefore, we must maintain the purity of the holy faith so that we do not get lost in this life and will be able to be with God forever,” concluded the First Hierarch.
As reported by the UOJ, earlier on the eve of his St. Patron’s feast, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry spoke about his heavenly patron and his most valuable spiritual heritage.