By Fr. Nektarios Kanias
Many people who do not appear with the flag of faith, during this difficult time of the pandemic, have found reasons to express joy and gratitude. Of course, even within the Church you discover such people. But they are not heard. They don’t make noise.
It is a great pain to see brothers (priests, monks) sowing terror in the name of the God of Love; lashing out and cursing; unapologetically criticizing public figures and their bishops, and urging others to do the same; bringing the end of the world with prophecies and sayings about the dominance of evil; creating the impression that the universe is conspiring, even the virus is there to eradicate Christianity; demonstrating their disobedience as heroism against those who “have little faith” who obeyed; blaming the flock for “betraying Christ”; transferring videos and images made by extreme Protestant groups to confirm the flimsy argument of their terror and grumbling.
On the other hand, comments highlighting a person with good reasoning give hope: Scientists explain how reality is and share the message of optimism and faith.
I mentioned at the beginning that it is a pain to see brothers fall, because I would expect people who are experiencing existential impasses without the asset of faith to be anxious, afraid, angry, frustrated. As I also expected, the Christian, as long as he is cultivated within the Church, to face the deadlocks he encounters in his life – if nothing else – with hope. And even more, at the time when the greatest deadlock of existential death has been annuled with the Resurrection of Christ.
And this pain has to do with the very core of the Church, which is the Eucharist. The more we whine, the more we lock our hearts both to Grace and Joy. As long as we whine, we deny the Eucharist with our thoughts, words, and actions. We are annuling the raison d’être of the Church. If life in the church does not mean a practical Eucharistic way of life, if Holy Communion is not participation in the Paradise of Pleasure, of Joy and Eucharist, then we have transformed the Church into another religion (a human construction) with a distorted Christ, that is, an anti-Christ, of Pharisaism and prohibitions. We have turned away from Christ who did not come to judge the world, but to save the world through His infinite love.
As Fr. Christodoulos Bithas states, “Resembling Christ does not mean ethicism. That was implemented by the Khomeini regime. It means a blessed relationship with matter, goods, the senses, emotion, my logic, all enlightened in the light of Eucharist. This must be our testimony to the world inside and outside the church community. Faith means absolute trust in God, which means gratitude for everything, even difficulties, because they will show us our failure; unceasing gratitude with the joy of meeting Him from now on to eternity.”
I am really afraid that if we do not orient ourselves to this practical Eucharistic view, what Saint Agios Paisios used to say will apply to us as well: “The more one grumbles, the more one wrecks.”