Modern society’s infested with malicious and false values; yet, it’s aware of its inability to reconcile its ideals, which centre upon limitless consumption and pleasure, with the fact of death. There are two different understandings of death. The first understands death as a blessed passing, an example of which was the Assumption of the Mother of God. The other view, more prevalent in the modern world, sees death as a tragic end, the conclusion to everything. Mankind has a primal fear of this tragic end; it fears death. However, death came into mankind’s life through sin. If people live according to the law of the flesh and sin, they never think about God, but because death makes you think about the meaning of your life, about how it’ll all end… most only use secularist values to find meaning in their lives. Then, when they come face-to-face with their death, they’re filled with fear and terror, because of their sins.
Orthodoxy teaches that one overcomes the fear of death through repentance, prayer, victory over the passions, work, patience, and a peaceful spirit, that is, a life led according to God’s commandments. Educating people in the faith is a matter of life or death, not just for our society, but for the entire human race. A godless ideology can’t justify heroism; it can’t lead to great feats (подвига) or self-sacrifice, if irreligious people do such feats (подвиг), it doesn’t mean that the motivation for their exploit (подвига) came from materialistic sources. This is a manifestation of latent primal religiosity, it comes into our lives through our upbringing; it comes from the ideals embedded in a person. If we ever destroy this primal religiosity, we’ll be a completely different people (народом), we won’t be able to sacrifice or do great deeds (подвиг)… you could overpower us with your bare hands. Such a society has no future.
29 August 2011
Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias
Feastday of the Assumption 2011