Repent Ye, Holy Church

Written By: on Apr 16th, 2011 and filed under Editorial, Features.

The Flesh

We live in era tragically characterized by the glorification of the flesh and its pleasures.

The windows of your computer show indecent and sexually provoking materials; you will see hundreds of sites that cater to immoral cravings. Pornography is depicted as an innocent game for pleasure, because it is justified as amoral, having no victim or perpetrator of any crime. If you are an adult and choose to visit such sites and enjoy, the government does not find any criminal act involved. The concept of sin is not in the book of the penal code of the government. But God’s Word says that the body of every human being, particularly the body of a baptized person, is the temple of God. How many Christians are seriously thinking that pornography desecrates the abode of God? Because it arouses human body and mind against sexual purity and chastity. It even destroys the sanctity of the sacramental union of married couples. How many of our Orthodox Christians are victims of this disastrously sinful habit, and how many are confessing this sin and seeking forgiveness in the sacrament of confession? If you are a slave of this vice, shake it off and come and reconcile with God and restore enduring purity. You will have peace of mind.

What about our habit in reading? Are we given to the habit of reading indecent books that arouses voluptuousness and sensuousness? A good number of adult reading materials do not foster Christian ethical values on human sexuality. As Christians we have to safeguard ourselves against opportunities that lead us to sexual immorality. Some of the modern secular books, including sex education reading materials, deal with sexuality outside marriage as amoral, and even healthy. Even some liberal Christian thinkers have tried to explain fornication as an acceptable practice before marriage. Most of them consider masturbation or self abuse as simply very natural and hence not imputed as sinful or immoral! A young man who came for seeking spiritual counseling told this writer that he was told by a monk-priest that masturbation was “just a weakness of the flesh”, not a topic to be confessed in the confessional, nor was it a grave sin at all. An elderly priest in America has told this writer that recently there is very little mention of such sins when he listens to the confessions of young people; some thirty years there was frequent mention of such moral issues pricking the mind of young people who sought guidance and counseling. Are our young people properly prepared for the Sacrament of Reconciliation with the help of the Book of Examination of Conscience, which reflects the moral teachings of the Christian Church? Yes, fornication and masturbation are no more considered among the sins to be confessed or repented! Thus the human soul becomes the property of the devil. Once a person is possessed by the devil, he does not realize he is under the grip of the devil; nor would he ever recognize that he is in sin. This is what happened to our generation. Sins are no more sins. Take for example, homosexuality: some Protestant churches are ordaining homosexual men and women to the ministry of their churches! Why worry? These actions are all results of our natural urges, like the biological functions in washrooms. But God’s Word emphatically tells us that these are violations of His laws, and invite eternal damnation for those who commit them.

Look at the advertisements: Who are we watching mostly? Modestly dressed young women? No! Most of the advertisements are exposures of partial nudity, if not total nudity. These provocative exposures do lead us to sinful voluptuous desires. But Christian morality clearly teaches that sexual arousal outside the holy matrimony is a grave sin, which is to be confessed in the confessional. Utilitarianism and capitalism exploit your sensuality to generate more money for the entrepreneur.

Is our married life morally safe? We presume that every marital act in our marriage is morally acceptable; but the fact is that it is not so. This is an age that demands limiting of children in a family. The truth is that when couples deliberately limit their family size without morally justifiable reasons and through questionable means are basically on ethically slippery grounds. An Orthodox Christian has to make this decision only with the moral guidance of his spiritual father or pastor. Enjoying marital relations for the sake of meeting only the noble unitive objective of sacred marriage may not always satisfy God’s demand for the sacrament of marriage. Seldom has this writer seen some childless marriages, a situation voluntarily embraced by couples. Please understand that a prenuptial agreement for a childless marriage renders a marriage null and void. It never brings grace; and it is not a sacrament according to sacramental theology. The Christian marriage has two inseparable goals or objectives, unitive and creative; although every unitive act does not entertain a creative aspect every time, both of these objectives are sacramentally intertwined in a Christian marriage. What about artificial marital enhancers? Use of drugs like Viagra may be morally questionable if it is not meant for treating a pathological condition that might impede the unitive objective of sacred marriage; if it is used for sheer intensification of pleasure or on selfish motive, there definitely rises an ethical question.

One of the beautiful aspects of our Orthodox life is that we are mostly nourished by our married clergy; and it is an apostolic practice and it is a glorious tradition unlike the Roman Church. Our married clergy should be living examples of Christian married life for the laity. We urge our priests to examine their own married life and see if it is without moral inadequacies. Approach your altar every Sunday, every day, with a clear conscience of pure and holy marital relationship behind you. The Ark of Covenant is said to be an object of fire; if it is so, the holy altar of the New Covenant, where the body and blood of Christ are offered, is indeed FIRE; and if you touch this Fire with a morally tainted married life, you will be burned, and the Church you serve will also be destroyed! We wonder the lack of sexual purity could be a reason for many perilous situations our churches have gone through or are going through. Let no celibate priests or monk-priests approach the holy altar with the stains of self-indulgence or other immoralities. The flesh is very powerful and if we do not subjugate it with prayer and other appropriate disciplines, like fasting and manual work, it will subjugate us and make us its saves, and we fail as Christians. If you have any such stains, repent and approach the church for God’s forgiveness through the sacrament of reconciliation.

We take pride in being a part of the modern affluent societies. Although there is poverty in many parts of the world, a good number of us have been given good food and modern comforts. In western societies, we eat more than what we need; and we also waste life-sustaining foods. WE do not need steaks and chops or heavy dinners everyday. Occasional festivities for a reason could justify such menus. We eat for our nourishment and health. But wasteful spending for foods and other comforts is just a thirst for satiating our gluttony; and gluttony is one of the deadly vices in Christian life. Eating more than what is required or indulging in very luxurious edibles is also a mark of gluttony.

Get back to your God, Christians, through genuine repentance, and restore your unity with your Savior Jesus Christ!

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4 Responses for “Repent Ye, Holy Church”

  1. john says:

    I applaud !!! … Rev Fr. Kuriakose. He is truly representing Jesus words!!!remarkabe words of wisdom !! rare in IOC leadership !!! Bibilical !!!

  2. Bibin Babu says:

    I had some suggestions which I felt would be useful for everyone including children and youth if you could please include a series describing

    a) The history of Orthodox Church in India and the overall history of the church around the world from the time of St. Thomas.
    b) The impact of Christianity and its role in the shaping of modern Indian and World society.
    c) Church and Regional Politics
    d) The present Leadership
    e) The Legends (Scholars, Academicians, Priests, long serving members).
    f) A biography on our saints
    g) The several terms we use during the Holy Mass and the name of the prayers we recite in the church all Fridays and the meaning of those prayers.
    h) The new denominations that came out of the church since the time of its inception including the Protestants and Marthomites, the reason for their revolt and following separation
    i) The various legal battles we have been fighting with other denominations, the history, the present and the future scope of its ending and the benefits of mutual cooperation among all the churches to form “One God, One Church”.
    j) The various institutions run by the church including Schools, colleges, vocational training centres, SHGs if any, industries if any, Hospitals ( run by the church or have tie-ups) etc.
    k) The various reforms being carried out for the upliftment of the society, generally the poor and the helpless mass around us.
    l) The budgetary allocations for various events sponsored by the Church ( Devalokam) and our Maha Edavaka Etc.

    What I am trying to emphasis here is that we need to instil belief in people that we are a transparent group interested not only in fighting with each other and peeping into other’s pockets but we are equally keen in educating its people and children about our tradition and values. More than the in-fights and legal battles with other denominations, we should try to find out a path of compromise as it is our dutiful responsibility as the oldest followed faith in India. We should lead the way and path to other churches by showing ourselves as an example. Our spirits should be high in thinking of repent than revenge.

    By fighting with other denominations, we are just inflaming the already fragile situation, putting pressure on the pockets of the very few faithful remaining. We should show the ones left that the door they opened to go out can be used by us to go after them and work in tandem with them keeping up the status and record of being the oldest denomination in this part of the world. Here we see a “Divide and Rule” policy designed by the evil forces. It was the Satan or the Satanic influence Christ had in him to bow in front of the Satan (Give up to the temptations) and rule the whole World (Live a common life as anyone else). But he chose to curse the evil spirit and continued his fasting. But we in the name of God fight blind folded with our brothers for some materialistic benefits as positions, power and money and are destroying the very roots of our community. Here if Satan could influence Christ, Just imagine what he can do with us. The only way out. Open up our spiritual eyes and ears and listen to His Voice. Ego and Prejudice are evil. It is Satanic. How can a church do such a thing to its believers! Or is it that since Jesus Christ himself once told that he was here to save the down trodden, the Church is pushing down all the souls to mud so that even they too can be saved!!!

    Christ taught us to love each other and come to compromise with our friends before dusk of that day. But now we are teaching others the game of hatred.

    He wanted to keep the materialistic thoughts outside the church, but we are bringing in even politicians to flame up our emotions and burn our pockets. By symbolically throwing the merchants out of the church, he wanted us to think that our heart and mind belongs to the Lord Almighty and it is to him we owe our gratitude and thanks and we should not be falling into evil hands thinking of material gains and profits

    If we stop fighting with our brothers in the other denominations and start cooperating and work together with them, we can achieve a lot of our dreams of uplifting the society, if they were true by any chance. We will get more resources to spare as the legal battles will not be needed. Also the human resources we spent on the fights can be used for a better tomorrow, both for the people and the Church.

    He wanted us to be the salt of the Earth, but by fighting with each other, we have become the fools on the surface, few bunches of puppets in the hands of its political handlers who are using the numbers and their feelings for improving their voter base. Our feel for the church is being milched by these people for their own energy and benefits. They are using us for a bargain. Beware of these Jackals in sheep skins.

    More than money and funds to support the activities of Church, what we need is a complete education on what our Church is and what can do or dream of in the future. That why I thought the suggestions I gave at the beginning would help us know more on the Church. With education comes Enlightment. People will start thinking of these matters. They will start asking questions. They will start correcting the ways they have been wrong trekking till date. The pressure from the people can make the Church and its instruments think. They will think of reforms. If all people can come together in the name of God, then the Pappa’ at the top will come together and they will make the dream come true. I.e. One God, One Church, The True Bride of Christ.

    In the name of Holy Trinity

  3. Let me first of all congratulate Kuriakose Achen for a challenging and thought provoking article, also commend IOH for publishing the same.

    I would definitely expect worthy guidance from such a senior priest as Kuriakose Achen in this respect, both for the good of the diocese and the Church.
    Yours in Christ
    Fr.Thomas Ninan

  4. Martin Jose says:

    Thanks Rev Fr Kuriakose for these prophetic words. This article needs a more prominent space. Your rhetoric against the three vices, especially flesh needs to be dessiminated to the lay public for bringing in a moral awakening in the Christian world.

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