Fr. Philip LeMasters on Cultivating Faith…
Our faith and trust must be in the God with Whom “we have peace… through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Because He has entered fully into death itself, risen from the tomb, and ascended into heaven, “we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God,” regardless of what difficulties we encounter in life.
In order to cultivate that kind of faith, we must do everything we can to open the eyes of our souls to the brilliant Light of Christ, for the darkness is all around us and deeply rooted in our hearts. Doing so requires mindfully offering our worries and fears to God through prayer on a daily basis, making frequent use of the Jesus Prayer to call upon the Lord’s mercy when our thoughts only make things worse. It means reading the Psalms in order to learn how to cry out to God from the depths with persistent trust, instead of wallowing in despair. It means not allowing ourselves to use food, drink, entertainment, or anything else to keep us from facing the truth about our souls. It means sacrificing the false idols we have been worshipping in order to seek first the Kingdom of God in how we live.
If we want to know Christ’s peace, which conquers even the fear of the grave, we must become radiant with His Light, which means that we must unite ourselves to Him in faith, hope, and love from the depths of our souls. Instead of stumbling in the dark and serving other masters, we must offer ourselves fully to the Savior for healing and restoration as persons with the calling to become like Him in holiness. That is the only way to resist the idolatry that brings worry, fear, and despair. In this world, there will be suffering and death; but those with the spiritual eyes to behold the glory of God will see even their deepest pains in light of hope for the new day of the heavenly kingdom. Let us devote ourselves to opening our darkened spiritual eyes to the radiant Light of Christ, for He alone is our hope for entering into the eternal blessedness that heals every infirmity and sorrow. He alone can make even our deepest sufferings a point of entry into the heavenly joy for which He created us.
– Eastern Christian Insights
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