Image by Fr. Shadi Beshara
Why are people going downward when the road to God leads upward? People are carrying many loads and burdens that are causing their backs to bend; their foreheads are touching the ground, and they are no longer able to stand upright and raise their heads to see the face of their Lord. They are trying to free themselves and each other of these burdens; they throw them on each other and make each other carry them, making their loads heavier.
Only Jesus Christ can free human beings of all their loads, burdens, and weights, for a slave cannot set another slave free. Man is born bound with ropes and chains and shackled in bonds within which he is reared and lives, and very many are those who die in them.
People are getting used to these bonds, which are becoming part of them, thus making it difficult to save them from these shackles. The glittering of their bonds is dazzling them so they can no longer see the face of the Lord, and the rattling of their chains is deafening them so they can no longer hear the voice of the Lord. They boast of the glitter of their bonds, which hobble them, and delight in the tinkling of the chains which bind them. Shackles remain shackles, no matter how they shine, and the chain that binds you remains a chain of bondage, even if it is of gold. Instead of polishing your shackles, shatter them, and instead of composing music from the tinkling of your chains, untie and break free of all of them.
The Lord is in pain seeing the people for whom He became man to set free shackled as slaves, looking for happiness in places where they will not find it. It was to give life and eternal happiness to these very people that he died and rose from the dead.
- Your happiness in this world is not from this world. If you were from this world, you would stay in it.
- Your happiness is not in stones. Stones do not give happiness. Why does man seek after gold? Is it to give value to himself? Man is far dearer than gold, man is the child of God; his value is intrinsic. Gold does not set man free from his shackles; it only makes them shine more.
- Your happiness is not found in other humans either, for they cannot offer happiness as they do not own it, and no one can give something one does not own.
Only Jesus Christ can give you true happiness. People, however, have become arrogant, living amid asphalt and cement. Their minds have become asphalt, and their hearts, cement. Their minds produce only dark and gloomy thoughts, and their hearts are hardened, cruel, and devoid of love. People have become matter that moves without spirit, and some of them are mobile rocks spreading the stench of sin. People have become arrogant and they insist on finding happiness in sin. Sin only gives them anxiety, sadness, misery, and emptiness. People have become arrogant; they boast to themselves, they boast to others and they boast to God. Are they not aware that God can turn them back into dust at the speed of lightning?
But the love of our Lord is great. Our Lord loves us greatly because we are His children, and He has made of us a light to the world.
Every person is a torch of light; our Lord created him to illumine the world. Every person is a lamp made by our Lord to shine and give light. Whoever gets a lamp, receives it to illuminate the darkness. A lamp is made to illumine the darkness. But these lamps are preoccupied with their outer frame: they are coloring their lampshades, painting them, decorating them and embellishing them. These shades that our Lord had made thin and transparent to protect the light, have become thick and hard, and they are blocking the light, and so the world has become immersed in darkness. These lamps that our Lord had made to carry the light, and illumine the world, have become works of art, decorated, embellished and colored but unable to give light. What is the use of a lamp that cannot light the dark? A lamp cannot be seen in darkness unless its light shines out. No matter how beautiful a lamp is, its light is more beautiful.
The world is drowning in darkness, and this, while you are the light of the world. Your glass should regain its transparency so that you may light up the world and achieve the objective for which God has created you.
God made every creature to fulfill the purpose of its existence. Observe the creatures of this earth; each one is performing its duty with utmost precision and integrity, and none is miserable. The most miserable creature on the face of the earth is happier than the sinner. On the day of reckoning, the sinner will not worry about the harsh reckoning as much as he will feel ashamed before the greatness of God’s love, that love which created the universe and gave life. Love is the only treasure that you amass in this world, and which remains with you through to the next.
All the treasures, money, glories and achievements you think you have owned in this world and believe are yours will remain in this world; even your very bones are not yours. Only love will go with you to the next world, and whoever stands before the Lord devoid of love will die of shame, and that will be the moment of his real death.
Man dies if he does not turn into love, for God is love, and only love is eternal. Let love reign over your hearts and humility guide your minds. Pray and repent. Pray to Jesus Christ and He will hear you; open your hearts to Him, He will enter them, and peace will come into them. But pray with all your heart. Do not mumble words that come from your lips while your hearts are elsewhere. Our Lord knows what is in your hearts and He wants your hearts.
Do not tire yourselves looking for the truth outside of Christ. There is no truth outside of Christ. Christ is the truth, and when you know Christ you will know the truth and become free, and Christ wants you to be free. Do not be afraid: Be strong and be sure and confident that Christ has defeated the world.