Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
I’m through with the introduction! I want you to understand that if I write to you, I actually try not to write inspired by my weak mind but according to the teachings of our Holy Fathers. As a son of the Church, I cannot believe anything but their teachings. If you can understand how natural things are settled in our Church, you will understand what I’ll further write to you as well. If you do not understand the dogmatic authority of the Church, it may be possible that you become more alienated from the Church due to the things I write, a fact that may not be the worst for you. Maybe it is better for you to admit that you do not want to be an Orthodox instead of deluding yourself and others as well. And maybe, if you stay away from the light for a while, you will realize that you are actually in the dark.
Let’s see, brother Thomas, what the matter is with the letter you sent me. You say you have healing powers and you believe in reincarnation and all that jazz. I could write a whole book to you, not just a letter. I will try to briefly express my opinion on your ideas.
“I don’t like at all what I see in churches. That’s not faith. I prefer to have my own way of communication with God.”
Even if not all the people from the church live a pure life, that is none of our business. The Church is the House of God and only there we can be partakers to the holy services; you cannot become one with Christ only by yourself, but only as a member of His Body. You should know that you are not the only one unsatisfied with the life of some believers. Do you think that the Heavenly Groom does not suffer seeing how some members sin? And not only Christ suffers, but also the priests and some believers who live a holy life. Those, without judging the sinners, but judging their own sins, pray to God to bring them on the right path. The change for the better does not start from outside: it starts from inside of us. So, if we are better, the Church is better (and if you really want the Church to be better, you should also make a first step – leaving behind the heresy you are in; because criticizing without trying to do something to better ourselves is not to our benefit). And regarding your personal way to communicate with God, you look to me like a survivor from a shipwreck that is far from the shore on a motorboat. There is a guide in the motorboat about how to use it, maps and other instruments that could help him reach the shore. And refusing to use the instruments in order to drive the motorboat, he uses it just as a boat. He makes two paddles and starts to aimlessly row. Man, you don’t have the power to row to the shore. Don’t play with your life! You cannot reach God on your own, you can only do it by using the map He gave to you. The map is understood only by the sons of the Church, the ones who are bestowed with the wisdom to use that motorboat as they should – not just like a simple boat.
2. “I believe what the Church says about the judgement of our souls, but I believe in reincarnation and the karmic law as well.”
Don’t you realize that you cannot simultaneously believe in reincarnation and Judgment Day? Either we reincarnate because that’s what the relentless karma law implies, or we get the eternal punishment – as Christ Himself taught us. You tell me that your spiritual father died and he allowed you to believe in reincarnation. He even gave Communion to you! Well, a priest who gives Communion to misbelievers goes deceitfully by the name of a priest. Christ will place one like that at Judgment Day next to the ones he gave Communion to. And their communion itself turns into their condemnation.
The first question any priest should ask the one who comes for confession (and if you don’t believe me try to get a Church book and go through it) is: “Do you believe that the teachings of the Church are true?”
He who believes any other teaching than the one of the Church cannot have confession. I know there are dowsers and yogis and adepts of all kinds of bioenergetic practices who come for Communion in order to “earn more power”. On Judgment Day they are going to see how things really are because they came unworthy for the Holy Mysteries.
What an absurdity: a yogi takes Communion. If the beliefs of yogis were true and we had to melt in the divine essence, then the Communion would be poisoning because through Communion you unite yourself with Christ, a fact which is an impediment in canceling your personality. Beautiful crone and yogi who took Communion! My God, there are many crazy things coming up… Try to understand that until the moment you renounce all heresies no priest can release you from your sins. The priest is invested with the power to forgive any sin, but only when the confession is complete. But if you hide the sin of heresy during confession, which is the biggest sin, how do you think your sins can be forgiven? Do you think that the priest is a kind of wizard who can forgive your hidden sins as well?
If up to now you joined those who “sneak” to the Holy Communion, without being a member of the Church, I am telling you very seriously that you can even die for such type of sin. Saint Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about such way of getting the Communion: “For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the Lord’s body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.” (I Corinthians 11, 29-30). Think well about what you want: if you want to unite yourself with Christ and take the Holy Communion, you need to renounce all heresies.
For the present, I cannot help you with anything; I can only wait for your return. There is no sin that the Holy Confession could not absolve, and the soul can heal only through repentance from the wound of heresy. Keep in mind that in order to renounce the heresy and being received in Orthodox Church there is a special service for heretics which is found in a Church book. He who wants to be received in the Orthodox Church needs to confess he renounces all errors.
I don’t know whether such a similar service will ever be done for the ones converted from Asian beliefs, for the ones who believed in reincarnation, horoscope and yoga. The priest should ask the ones like you: “Do you renounce the unclean belief in reincarnation, the idolatrous star gazing, all superstitions and all other teachings adverse to the truth?” And only in case of an affirmative answer he could receive them for confession.