Terrible Signs and Christian Peace of Mind

"But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken" (Mark 13:24-25).
Vladimir Basenkov | 09 March 2022

The Church was preparing us for pre-Lenten Sunday, on which we once again remembered the coming Last Judgment. Before the Last Judgment, events no less terrible for the human mind accustomed to the rational development of events will occur. Natural disasters will end with the return of the Savior to the world. Angels will come with Him, whom Christ will instruct to gather together  all Christians scattered throughout the world. What will happen to the rest of the people? According to St. John Chrysostom, “they will suffer not only from that punishment, but also from this one,” in other words, they will suffer from the catastrophe of the visible world, and then their souls will come in contact with the abyss of the spiritual world… It sounds like lines from a science fiction film script, doesn’t it? The end for civilization when the ontological need for God and sincere faith in Him will be so negligibly small in people is even more logical, so that the only way to reach them will be through such supernatural intrusion into the orderly laws of space and time.

Fear, as you know, paralyzes the will. Why did the Savior tell the apostles about this, why did the apostles write down these words, and why does the Orthodox Church focus on them on the eve of the Sunday of the Last Judgment? One wants to shout: “Don’t exaggerate! We have enough trials already!” But in Christ’s words only scenes of the future are reflected with the description of the roles of people depending on their free choice in the days of the calm flow of their personal time. The time that should be used correctly.

What is always striking in Christians who live in the spirit is their amazing calmness, peace of mind and joyful mood, despite the trials that have befallen them. The point is that these people love God. Not in words, but in the very fact of their lives. First, they talk to Him. With the help of the past centuries’ wondrous words of the Church Slavonic language, and “speeches” that came from the heart. Building a connection with God is a very personal process. Since God is a Person, it is essential to make a conversation with Him as with a Person, not an abstraction. Especially since He calls Himself our Friend. And how else can we talk with a friend, if not heart to heart, about personal worries and asking for help? It is precisely communion with God that is the first way to receive that transforming grace that illuminates our minds. The same thing happens during our participation in the Sacraments of the Church. Naturally, they always precede prayers for the grace of God. By uniting with God, a person receives that piece of eternal peace that covers all worldly anxieties. Why grieve when you are protected and in unity with the Creator of the universe?

Secondly, Christians, who live in the spirit, constantly focus their attention on learning those Gospel truths that are reflected in our Tradition directly, from the mouth of Christ Himself, or are already interpreted by the Holy Fathers and teachers of the Church. It is not enough to read only, it is worth reflecting on what you read and expressing the gospel text in a personal act. The commandment to “love your neighbor” sounds great. Christ gave man a foundation, and it is up to each believer to creatively implement this idea in action. This is living by faith. This is active Christianity, concluded in a personal deed, going beyond the usual and comfortable behavioral egoism. To always think: how would it be useful for my neighbor? What can I do for God? The mind of a believer is always directed to the treasures of Christian wisdom. And this also brings one closer to God, makes one similar to Him, because a person changes the way of thinking and acting in accordance with what the Lord teaches.

And no matter how bad one feels and how much evil rises in the world, weaving into terrible labyrinths from which there seems to be no way out, there is no need to despair, but it is important to maintain confidence in God. It is this confidence that will help us overcome any trial and give us an understanding that the Creator loves us and that eternal life is a thousand times more valuable than what we have now. The Last Judgment and the events preceding it, recalled by the Church, act as a warning, a kind of motivation, which, along with the commandments of happiness, help us focus our attention and work hard in ascending to the image of God. There is no need to be afraid, you just need to believe. And God will not leave us, even if the sun fades outside the window, the moon does not give light, and the powers of heaven waver.

Translated by pravmir.com

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