Text Box: Volume 16 No.  1         OF THE CHURCH
Text Box:     OF MAN WITH GOD   May, 2007 A.D.
REUNIONText Box: IMITATION OF CHRIST
By Thomas a Kempis
                                   
BOOK THREE
                                   
The Seventh Chapter
                                   
Grace Must Be Hidden Under the Mantle of Humility
                                   
The Voice of Christ
                                   
   It is better and safer for you to conceal the grace of devotion, not to be elated by it, not to speak or think much Text Box: ~ THE HOUSE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF ~

From Metropolitan Archbishop Paul, S.S.B.
To the flock entrusted into my care:


THE FIRST ATTEMPT

Beelzebub, Satan, the Devil, learned a valuable lesson from Jesus Christ God when Our Saviour said, “Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation; and house upon house shall fall.” (Luke 11:17). Though he could never bring his own house to order because one of its foundations is in rebellion against authority, forming chaos, and anarchy, the Devil was able to use this truth, that a house divided against itself will fall. He used this truth against the Church, the actual and real living body of Christ, attacking that part of the Body of Christ still bound to life in the material world through exciting the material and spiritual weaknesses of fallen human nature.

At first the Devil had used fear of torture and fear of death as inducements for Christians to forsake God. Though many Christians forsook the Faith because of these threats, or while in the process of enduring them, an amazingly large percentage of those who apostatized because of torture, repented, and returned to the true Faith. An even greater number of people, much greater than the combined number of those who who apostatized then repented and those who apostatized without repenting, endured torture and death, winning the gold crown of martyrdom. At first the Devil was pleased, for if Christians did not recant, they were killed, and thereby eliminated. But the Devil then saw he was sending people to Heaven in ever increasing numbers, so he began to change his tactics.


DISSENTION IS INTRODUCED

The Devil has always been an astute observer of human nature. He perceived human nature to have many qualities in common with the nature of the angels. One of these qualities is the desire to be in charge - perhaps not a desire to be in charge of everything, but at least in charge of something. This quality is related to another quality, the desire to be honored, or respected, or acknowledged, in at least some fashion or manner. He had used a variant of these qualities to lead Eve into sin, and then another variant to induce Adam into the same sin.

So Satan began spreading dissention amongst the early Christians by inducing different factions amongst Christians. Amongst the earliest were those who required Gentile converts to Christianity first become Jews, and those who could discern no necessity for this intermediate step. Those who advocated conversion to Judaism as a necessary step for advancement to the status of Christian also insisted upon circumcision and the following of Jewish dietary regulations. The Holy Spirit intervened, inspiring the Apostles and Elders of the Church to meet in the very first Ecumenical Council, the Council of Jerusalem. At that Council it was decided that Gentiles who became Christians would not have to become Jews first, would neither have to be circumcised nor have to follow Jewish dietary laws. It was also decided that Christian Jews could Text Box:  The Society of Clerks Secular of Saint Basil 
(The Basilians - The Basilian Fathers )
Text Box: CONTENTS ARE LISTED ON THE LAST PAGE
Text Box: THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE

                          CHAPTER IV

     9.  Theft is punished by thy law, O Lord, and by the law written in men's hearts, which not even ingrained wickedness can erase.  For what thief will tolerate another thief stealing from him?  Even a rich thief will not tolerate a poor thief who is driven to theft by want.  Yet I had a desire to commit robbery, and did so, compelled to it by neither hunger nor poverty, but through a contempt for well-doing and a strong impulse to iniquity.  For I pilfered something which I already had in sufficient measure, and of much better quality.  I did not desire to enjoy what I stole, but only the theft and the sin itself.
     There was a pear tree close to our own vineyard, heavily laden with fruit, which was not tempting either for its Text Box: Congratulations and Blessings to Rt. Rev.