Many of the great infirmities to which man is subject have their ori-gin, known or unknown, in his past. The origins of these great infir-mities, such as madness for example, are none other than violations of the moral law of God. While St Charalampus was undergoing martyrdom, the royal torturer learned of his wonder-working power and ordered that a madman be brought before him, to find out if Charalampus could heal him. The devil had tormented this man for 35 years, driving him into the deserts and mountains and casting him into mires and abysses. When this madman drew near to Charalampus, the demon smelled the fragrance of the holy man and cried out: `I beg thee, O servant of God, do not torment me before the time, but order me and I will come out; and, if thou desirest, I will tell thee how I entered into the man.' And the saint ordered him to speak. The demon said: `This man desired to rob his neighbour, and thought within himself: "If I don't first kill the man, I shall not be able to take all his goods." So he went and killed his neighbour. Catching him in such an act, I entered into him and have been resid-ing here these 35 years.' Hearing this, the saint of God ordered the demon to come out of the man at once and leave him in peace, and the man was healed and became calm.
Let me ponder on the Lord Jesus as the beauty of the whole created world: 1. As the beauty of all things, a beauty dimmed by the fear and melancholy of sin. 2. As the beauty of man, the most rational being in this material world, a beauty dimmed by the fear and melancholy of sin. 3. As the beauty of the pure and bodiless world of the angels. 4. As the beauty of the Holy Trinity, revealed by and through Him.
- on the sin of those who assert that they see.
'If ye were blind, ye should have no sin' (Jn 9:41).
These words were spoken to the Jews by Him who gave them the Law through the prophets, to serve them as sight to the soul. The Jews received this sight, but deliberately and wickedly screwed up their eyes. Therefore the righteous Lord spoke these righteous words to them.
These are words of pure righteousness, both yesterday and today and for ever, for the blind do not sin if they walk in another man's crops or take another man's clothing in place of their own. But if those with sight do such things, they sin and incur judgement. If those with sight deliberately close their eyes and do so, they also sin and incur judgement.
What can be said, then, of those who have received baptism and chrismafion, the two eyes of the soul, but still sin like the unbap-tised? At the Dreadful Judgement it will not be for them as for those born blind, but they will be judged as transgressors who wilfully screwed up their eyes and blinded themselves.
And then, what can be said of those who receive the other blessed mysteries, in the fullness of Orthodoxy, having the example of the saints before them, who have the admonitions and teaching of the Church of God constantly in their ears, but still go off and travel to strange places? At the Last Judgement, they will not be able to plead any sort of blindness but will be condemned as transgressors who twisted themselves and those around them by their blindness.
O fearsome Lord, save us from sin. O merciful Lord, open our eyes to see the way of salvation. To Thee be glory and praise for ever. Amen.
* From "The Prologue from Ochrid", by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic - Lazarica Press - Birmingham 1985
Four Book Edition - Translated by Mother Maria - Dates based on old church calendar.
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