Repent Ye, Holy Church

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

The Devil

When this writer was a child some fifty years ago, his parents often talked about the devil and his tempting devices. The priests also preached about the power of the evil one. No more are we hearing about the devil or his temptations from parents or from the pulpits, and the devil is very happy about this era of ours as we do not try to defend us against him. No one feels tempted by the devil any more! The World and Flesh are at our convenience all the time and we consider all the pleasures coming from these two are basically amoral; in other words, there is no sin involved in our encounters with the World and the Flesh. After fasting for forty days, the devil tempted the Son of God by showing the world and its pleasures, and He rejected the proposal of the devil and crushed him down.

Do not think the devil is inactive anymore. The evil power is very alert and vigilant to keep the children of God away from Him. However we do not experience his active role much now-a-days. It is because the world and flesh have already conquered us for him; he does not need to work hard to tempt us, or divert us from God. We are already in his camp, sinning and offending God day after day. The devil really enjoys this generation, because the sense of sinfulness no more pricks it. There is no moral norm, no ethical standard. WE are free to enjoy our lives according to the urges of our bodies; that is what this generation tells us. The dearest terms for the devil are “permissiveness”, “politically-correct”, and “ecumenism”, where there are no strict standards or moral certainties. Standards and norms may make someone uncomfortable, which is the sin of this age! The devil loves this kind of pragmatic and utilitarian ethics. Christians, the Christian Ethics is directly coming from the mouth of God, from His commandments. His commandments are His norms and standards to live by. For a Christian there is no other alternative. When we pray, “Deliver us from the evil one”, we pray that the devil may not take over our soul and body, that we may not become servants of the devil and his standards.

If we study the lives of saints, we see their struggles against the devil. The devil literally tortured them. Every good Christian would experience this struggle if he is striving after Christian perfection. However, not many of us experience this temptation by the devil; it is not because we have already become Godlike, but because we are not really engaged in striving after Christian perfection; and that is what the devil wants and he ignores us.

But, Christians, start living the closest Christian life, you will definitely feel the devil working against you, like the saints. Then you will have two great sacraments to prepare you for your defense against the devil, the sacrament of confession and the communion with our Lord in His body and blood.

During this Lenten season, particularly the Holy week, make your confession and receive the Body and Blood of our Lord for complete communion with Him.

Conclusion

Orthodox Christians, surrender yourselves to the loving mercy of your Redeemer, who suffered and granted you freedom from sin. What you need to do is to come to the feet of the Lord with your tears of repentance.

Let us point out that the Orthodox regularly receive communion; but seldom make a good confession. In some churches there is a rite of granting absolution (Husoyo) without a genuine confession. In some churches the congregants receive communion without any rite of absolution. Both are not genuine practices. If you have committed a serious sin, you need to confess to a priest of God for absolution. An absolution without confession is spiritually dangerous. They say absolution without confession is only meant for minor offenses. But the people have no sense of clearly discerning what is grave or what is light. People may approach this practice in receiving absolution even with very grave sins. Hence the sacrament of auricular confession is the only genuine alternative to be reconciled with God before receiving communion.

Those Orthodox who receive communion without any rite of absolution, we urge you to regularly seek the grace of absolution through genuine confession. The purifying grace of this sacrament is an important weapon against the temptations of this world, the flesh and the devil, and it will guard you against committing sins in future.

We know that the Great Fast is going to end soon, and for another week we are going to meditate on the mystery of our Lord’s suffering on our behalf. WE want every Orthodox Christian all over the world to repent and make his sacramental confession by the end of this fasting period or during the Holy Passion Week.

May this Great Lent bring you peace of mind, reconciliation with your Creator and take you to the joy of Resurrection! May you be spiritually recharged, refreshed and restored for His Kingdom! +TVOO

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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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