Simply Receive

It used to be in magazines and newspapers. And then it appeared on late-night and through-the-night television. Today, it is everywhere on the internet. What is it? The multitudinous and manifold mountains of methods to manage and maintain a portfolio of wealth, property, and prestige. While some say it is truly easy to achieve this goal, it tends to be quite difficult and may even be painful. Put in the effort, run the race, and achieve the finish line, and bask in money, wealth, riches, glory, and prestige.

Well, there is another race we run, as St. Paul puts it. And it is all about glory – but it is not my own glory, and it is not about a goal in this life. It is about actually sharing in the divine glory – forever! And the wonderful thing about THIS goal is that we don’t do anything to obtain it. That’s right – it is given to us – all we need to do is receive it – life in the Kingdom of God.

“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

It is for God to give. we cannot earn it; we cannot make myself worthy to get it.

What I can do is become like a child and receive it – at baptism, when I get up in the morning, when I greet my family and bless them for the day, when I work with my superiors and colleagues, when I am caught in late-day traffic, when I witness the defeats and achievements of my children, when I sit before the icons in prayer, when I brush my teeth… simply receive as a pure and unmerited gift.

It is a good thing that Lord came as an innocent Babe—in the very act of the saving Incarnation, He, too, shows the way to receive this Gift!

A blessed Feast of the Nativity of our Lord to you and yours.

Photo by Hanneke Laaning on Unsplash

Even if it becomes necessary for you to give your life for her

And even if it becomes necessary for you to give your life for her, yes, and even to endure and undergo suffering of any kind, do not refuse. Even though you undergo all this, you will never have done anything equal to what Christ has done. You are sacrificing yourself for someone to whom you are already joined, but He offered Himself up for one who turned her back on Him and hated Him. In the same way, then, as He honoured her by putting at His feet one who turned her back on Him, who hated rejected, and disdained Him, as He accomplished this not with threats, or violence, or terror, or anything else like that, but through His untiring love; so also you should behave toward your wife.

… So the Church was not pure. She had blemishes, she was ugly and cheap. Whatever kind of wife you marry, you will never take a bride like Christ did when He married the Church; you will never marry anyone estranged from you as the Church was from Christ. Despite all this, He did not abhor or hate her for her extraordinary corruption …

John Chrysostom. Homily 20, On Ephesians 5:22-33.
(Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1997), 46.

Photo credit: Homini:)