Thoughts on Death…
“Death is the mysterious center of our existence. Whether our awareness is focused upon it or not, we are all hurling towards the inevitable end of our mortal frame. What we witness in the worldly-witted is the blithe denial of death which attempts to appease the frightful fear of the grave by constant distraction. Christians are of a different mind.
When the Master of all appeared in the flesh, the bondage of fear which held us captive was destroyed. That through death He might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. (Heb. 2:14) If we do not know Christ by partaking of His life through the living experience of the Holy Spirit, the infernal force of fear will crush us. From dread of death comes a multitude of other fears: fear of others, fear of getting or spreading disease, fear of the future, fear of the unknown, fear of ourselves. Therefore, our Lord Jesus Christ again and again counsels us to be not afraid; tells His followers fear not little flock; and in His final discourse exhorts His disciples to let not your hearts be troubled. Christ knows that fear has an ancient grip on fallen humanity. If a pharaonic phobia of anything has enslaved us, then we have not followed the New Moses into the promised land of fearlessness.
Death, the world, disease, sin and the devil have power over us only inasmuch as we fear them. Of themselves, they pose no threat to the Christian. The martyrology is replete with those who rushed in triumph to death—unhindered by even the slightest fear—aware that true life is not of this world. Many saints prayed that sickness afflict them so that compassion might consume them; thus could they enter into a new mode of existence, beyond the corruption of flesh and blood. Having already risen with Christ, the saints boldly mocked death itself. Many encouraged others to embrace death as coming from the hand of God; some encouraged even their own children to run after death for the sake of God. When the fear of God subdues all worldly fear, the light of discernment manifests true love in all its authenticity. Our union with Christ is measured by the maturity ofour fear, which when perfected is the glorious liberty of the children of God—for, perfect love casts out all fear. The heart imprisoned in the cocoon of fear cannot yet fly with the wings of love.”
– Doxa from the Monastery of the Holy Ascension in New Mexico
***Now and then we include a particularly thought provoking or inspiring excerpt not from one of our regular ‘Elders’***