The purpose of the life on the earth is to reach the eternal heavenly life obeying the Word of God, attending the religious services, partaking the Holy Eucharist and doing good deeds according to the will of God, the Patriarch of Romanian said in the sermon delivered today at Techirghiol Monastery.
Today, 25 July 2016, the Orthodox Church is on the 5th Sunday after Pentecost, called also of the Healing of the demonised persons in the region of Gadara. On this day, His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church was at Saint Mary– Techirghiol Monastery, patriarchal stavropegial monastery, where he participated in the Divine Liturgy.
In the sermon delivered at the end of the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel underlined the spiritual teaching of the Gospel text.
This Gospel text shows us first of all the kindness of Christ which releases humans from under the malice of the demons. Secondly, it shows us that Christ’s desire to release humans from under the power of the demons is designed to make them free and worthy of good deeds. Thirdly, Jesus Christ, our Lord, allows the demons to enter into the herd of swine to show that the power of the demons over humans is limited and that on the day of the Universal Judgement they will be sent to hell symbolised now by the depth of the sea. Fourthly, the Gospel text shows us that the material damage caused to the inhabitants of Gadara when the swine were drowned was a rebuke by Jesus Christ, our Saviour, for the inhabitants of Gadara who were too much enslaved by the material gain and too little concerned with the spiritual things, and not sensitive to other people’s sufferance, His Beatitude showed.
Then, the Patriarch of Romania explained to the faithful present that there were several reasons why Jesus Christ, our Saviour, accepted the desire of the demons to go out of humans and enter into the swine. He knew that later on a considerable material damage would be caused, but He allowed this thing to happen in order to show, first of all, that the power of the demons over humans is limited and that they will be judged and sent to hell on the Last Day.
Another reason why Jesus Christ allowed the demons to enter into the herd of swine was to rebuke the inhabitants of Gadara through a material damage, because they were too much enslaved by material gain so that they neglected the spiritual life, with no more time for the sufferance of the tormented ones. They were afraid of them and avoided them, but were not at all concerned to save or reintegrate them in community.
Thus, we see that Jesus Christ, our Saviour, shows us the divine pedagogy when He lets us pass, sometimes, through material loss, just to remind us that we are too much concerned with material gain and forget about the life of the soul as vivid relationship of the human being with God. People are so much concerned with the material things that they do no longer have time for Church, prayer, meeting one another for spiritual talk, or even to wonder what the reason of their life on the earth is. The purpose of our earthly life is to search for the eternal heavenly life by obeying the Word of God, attending the religious services, partaking the Holy Communion, and doing good deeds according to the will of God, His Beatitude Daniel also showed.
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel has underlined, in contrast with the material damage, the fact that this one cannot be compared to the great damage caused by the loss of the salvation of the soul:
This is the true Christian thinking: first of all we try to attain salvation of the soul and afterwards whatever needed for the body. How can we protect ourselves against the bad spirits? When do they have power over humans? First of all when prayer is diminished! When we do no longer pray, the soul is no longer cultivated, it is ruined and becomes free space for the bad spirits. This is why in Orthodoxy, the first of the beginning prayers is the invocation of the Holy Spirit through the prayer: “Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, present in all places and filling all things, Treasury of Goodness and Giver of life: come and abide in us. Cleanse us from every stain of sin and save our souls, O, Good Lord”. If we often pray that the Holy Spirit may come to dwell in us, cleanse us of everything defiling, the bad spirits do no longer have power over us because they meet the Holy Spirit present in our soul through faith, prayer and good deeds.
His Beatitude has also shown that the sign of the Holy Cross is a strong weapon against the devil:
When we pray, we mark ourselves with the sign of the Holy Cross by which the love of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit for the humans is shown and expressed in the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ. The demons are afraid of the Sign of the Holy Cross because the Holy Cross shows the humble love of Christ. But they are proud and their pride is tormented by the humbleness of the merciful love of Jesus Christ.