Patriarch Daniel: What is our priority, the concern for our body or that for our soul?

In his homily delivered last Sunday, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel asked the believers attending the Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest what is our life priority, the concern for our body or that for our soul.

His Beatitude said that even though Christian teaching clearly shows what the priority should be, many of us are encompassed by worldly worries and forget to take care first of our immortal soul.

The Romanian Patriarch cautioned that ‘worries can become the tyranny,’ while the man becomes enslaved by the care for money, the care for transient material things.

He noted that there are tragical cases of persons ending their life ‘because they had succumbed to worries’.

Patriarch Daniel reflected on the Gospel reading from Matthew 6:22-33 noting that ‘our Saviour Jesus Christ wants that Christians be free, not slaves of material things.’

Christians have to be free to love God and their neighbor.

‘This is our sole freedom. Let us express it as love of God in prayer, and as love of our neighbor through good deeds,’ he said.

On the third Sunday after Pentecost, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel presided over the Divine Liturgy at the Sts Constantine and Helen Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest, having as concelebrant his auxiliary bishop Varlaam of Ploiesti, Secretary of the Holy Synod.

Episcopul Varlaam Ploieșteanul. Foto: Basilica.ro

By saying do not worry about your life, Christ does not encourage laziness

The Patriarch went on to speak about God’s providence noting that it is not an encouragement to be lazy.

‘He takes a special care of man, because not all beings created on earth are called to eternal life, but only to the passing, biological life. Man, on the other hand, being fashioned in the image of the eternally living God, longs for eternity, is called to reach the resemblance with God.’

The Saviour did not urge us to be lazy, not to work, or to be concerned about nothing.

‘He urges us that the worry about food, drink, and clothes may not paralyse or quench the concern for the salvation of our soul,’ the Patriarch noted.

Referring to salvation, His Beatitude said that it is ‘man’s union with the eternal, unlimited, and intransient God’.

The Saviour wants to free us from the soul’s slavery to material things, the Patriarch concluded.

Daily worries and prayer

The Patriarch said that we ought to begin all works with the thought to God.

In the morning, we should start the day with the morning prayers, asking Christ the Lord to forgive our sins and grant us His help to live according to His will.

‘This way, we first seek the Kingdom of God,’ the Patriarch said, ‘and our whole day becomes illumined by the love of God and his care for us.’

Patriarhul Daniel
Preafericitul Părinte Patriarh Daniel. Foto: Basilica.ro

The Patriarch of Romania also referred to the text of the ‘Our Father’, in which we ask for His Kingdom to come, noting that from it we can learn the priorities a Christian must have.

‘The Orthodox Church has included in the daily prayers the remembrance of our connection with the Kingdom of Heaven to live not merely biologically as beings lacking reason,’ His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel explained.

Patriarch Daniel also said that the Kingdom of God can be sought at home in the family, but especially by attending the services of the Church.

He said that the Divine Liturgy, beginning with the words ‘Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,’ shows our greatest pursuit of the Kingdom of God.

We respond to the invitation to enter the Kingdom of God through prayer, good deeds, through chant, by listening to the word of God, and especially by partaking of the Holy Communion, His Beatitude added.

The Patriarch ended his sermon by praying to God ‘that this Gospel be a special light for us all and to feel the joy of seeking the Kingdom of  God.’

Photos: Mihnea Păduraru / ZL

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