Monk Moses the Athonite: Orthodoxy is Truth, Freedom, and Love

Many people think that the Church is the same as a church, i.e., a parish. They believe that the Church is an organization, a group, a charity, a good ideology, which possesses large wealth and countless property.

There are many people who believe that the Church is a huge financial organization, a successful business startup, which attracts the ignorant and the weak. Others think that the Church is a great place for networking, a place where you find friends, jobs, satisfy your metaphysical demands quickly, and settle things with your conscience so as to have no issues with it.

In fact, the Church is a motherly embrace, the Body of the Living Christ, the assembly of God’s people in the upper chamber. The Orthodox Church is not the hard theology for the elect few; She is more than elegant philosophy, dry ethical doctrine, cruel and inhumane moralism, full of restrictions and prohibitions. The Orthodoxy is the truth, freedom, love, redemption, pleasure, salvation, and joy. We usually talk about things the Church does, not about her real essence.

The Church was established by God on the foundation of blood of Christ and martyrs. She has a reliable foundation, and She isn’t afraid of any shock, any headwind, any enemy, war, or persecution. Elder Tikhon from Mount Athos said that the Holy Spirit is the Steward of the Church, and he constitutes the whole building of the Church. The Holy Spirit is constantly vigilant; He teaches the truth properly; He inspires, guards, cultivates, and empowers the faithful — both the clergy and the laity. The humble and zealous prayer of the believers connects the earth to the heaven and keeps one from getting disappointed, depressed, afraid, or demoralized.

“The Church teaching stems from silence, prayer, preparation, labor, reading, pain, and abundant love to the fallen and the suffering.”

Prayer is not something you do individually or in private. No way. A person who prays is united with Christ and with all members of the Church. It helps him to avoid the troublesome and tiresome loneliness. One can see it more clearly during the Divine Liturgy by conscious participation in the sacramental life of the Church. The Church teaching is not a presentation of ideas and good-sounding words. It is not verbalism. It does not consist of chasing demons or beating up the impious and infidels. The Church teaching stems from silence, prayer, preparation, labor, reading, pain, and abundant love to the fallen and the suffering.

No one in the Church commits lawless acts or improvisations. No one pretends or isolates oneself in order to correct the Church or defend her. Unity, unanimity, discretion, and proper confession of faith are extremely important. The Church fights for the salvation of all people. Her mission does not imply gathering fanatical followers: She aims at gathering her beloved children bound by holy love and holy humility.

Imitating the Orthodoxy, we must not hate anyone. Christian love is always selfless and self-sacrificial, and it is in no way related to disingenuous smiles, tactful civility, intolerable concessions, superficial hugs, false flattery, and pseudo-politeness. The Christian love goes hand in hand with the truth.

The authentic church spirit dwells within a person who infinitely loves God and his neighbor. The rest are just pious words. It is time for us to see the essence of the Church in order to acknowledge her liberating grace, dive deep into her unspoken mystery, and encounter Christ.

Translated from: http://dysha.info/public/duh/5442-pravoslavie-eto-istina-svoboda-i-lyubov-pravoslaviefm.html