One of the most important ministries of the Church throughout its history has been providing spiritual care to the sick. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has always being sensitive to the needs of this ministry from the years of the Byzantine Empire up until now. Its clergy are active in providing pastoral care to the ill, both on a parish level and in specialized facilities. read more...
Holy Week 2021
Pseudo-charismatics and the Cross
“The disciples came unto him privately, saying, ‘…what shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world? ‘And Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Take heed that no man lead you astray’.”
It seems that throughout the ages, human beings have always been enticed by pseudo-charismatics that supposedly can read the “signs” and foretell the future, particularly regarding when the world will come to an end. It is as if we have a need to know the “unknown” to be able to control it, to avoid and overcome the pain and the feelings of fear that accompany it. Our adherence to such pseudo-prophets serves as our safeguard, an anchor of hope, in face of our fears.
In like fashion, there also seems to be a need to romanticize the pain and turmoil of life’s predicaments, even those associated with the Crucifixion. We venerate the Cross, but it is questionable if we identify with it the “holy agony” that the Crucified Christ had for the salvation of those that are suffering on the many levels of human existence. In seeing the Crucified Lord, usually we think of our own individual agonies and suffering; not His or that of others. For the most part, we may either have pietistic sentimental thoughts and feelings regarding His crucifixion that will easily be forgotten after the Easter celebration or, we may continue to romanticize about Christ and the world as we continue to live our self-centered way of life, looking for charlatans who will sustain our happy state of mind and give us a sense of security.
What we forget is that, after the Crucifixion and Resurrection, there is no need for any more prophecies. The Cross is the fulfillment of all prophecies in the person of Jesus Christ, who was incarnated and took on the form of a servant for mankind. After the Cross and the Resurrection, our life continuously acts as a prophet. The critical factor that will determine the outcome of our life is if we establish a loving relationship with God and our fellow human beings (John 12:47-48). If we do, we will not need to find pseudo-prophets and charlatans to give an answer to our existential fears. Our trust will be in the Lord, our Father who is in heaven (Matt. 23:9).
To establish a trusting and loving relationship with God, we will need to search to find the One who laid down His life for mankind with open arms on the Cross. As Mother Maria Skobtsova points out, in searching for Him, we should not search for singers and for prophets who wait by the ladder to heaven, who see signs of the mysterious and sing songs beyond our comprehension. We will find Him in the people who are restless, orphaned, poor, drunk, despairing, useless, lost in whichever way they go, homeless, naked and lacking bread. To add, we will need to search for Him as a Crucified servant. We will need to live out our pain in Christ’s crucifying “agony” for the world, as crucified servants of God, together with those that are suffering on all the levels of humanity, caring for one another according to His philanthropy. It is then that the Resurrection will come.