What Christians Are in This World

Saint Sophia Cathedral
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Topic of the Week – What Christians Are in This World

True Christians live in this world as travelers, pilgrims, and sojourners, and they look ever toward their heavenly homeland with faith and with the eyes of the soul, and they strive to reach it….” (From Journey to Heaven: Counsels of the Particular Duties of Every Christian, Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk)

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 “… We were created for the eternal by our Creator, we are called to it by the word of God, and we are renewed by Holy Baptism. And Christ the Son of God came into the world for this that He should call us and take us there, and He is the one thing needful. For this reason, your very first endeavor and care should be to receive it. Without it, everything is as nothing, though you have the whole world under you.

Every sin and attachment to the vanity of this world lays obstacles to the obtaining of Eternal Life. Then avoid all that, lest you be deprived of it. You cherish your temporary life, although you will inevitably leave it, yet you do everything so as not to be deprived of it. How incomparably more must you safeguard your Eternal Life and make every effort so as not to be deprived of it, for all things temporal are nothing as compared to the eternal. Seek, then, Eternal Life as your sole true good, and with every effort flee everything that closes the door to it. God Who loves man wishes you to be saved. Then let that be your desire too, and without fail you shall be saved. Desire it and seek it as a hungry man seeks food and a thirsty man seeks water, and you shall receive what you desire….” 

Taken from Journey to Heaven: Counsels of the Particular Duties of Every Christian. Read an excerpt here.


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“Paradise is the Kingdom of Heaven, where the Lord shows Himself most clearly, and where the good angels and the souls of the righteous live.
Many people have tried to describe what is waiting for us in Heaven, how wonderful it is, but no one has been able to do it. The Apostle Paul, whom the Lord allowed to see Paradise while still alive, said as much when he said about what he saw that ‘man shall not utter’ it.
All that we can say about Paradise is that there, every person will finally get to learn and experience what he was created for. Each of us will feel the force of Divine love and know true happiness. God has prepared for each of us what we need and what He created each of us for. Just like a key fits a lock because it was made for it, so we each fit in Paradise. We will be in joyful communion with each other and with God. God will find a task for each of us that gives meaning to eternal life. As we fulfill that task, we will ascend further into limitless joy and continually draw closer to God. Since God is infinite, that means that our joy will also be infinite, doesn’t it?”
Excerpted from The Law of God for Children by Exaltation Press
Middle School:
Read the story Grandma’s Icons here.
What was the man’s problem at the start of the story? What was he going to do about it? Why did he decide not to do what he originally intended? In the beginning of the story, the icons represented something to the young man, what was it? At the end of the story, the icons represented something else to the young man, what was it? Why was it important that he changed his way of thinking?
Are there things in your life that you are elevating above the eternal things of God? What are they and what will you do about it to change those priorities?
High School:
“…Do not imitate those Christians who desire and seek to become rich, to pass their time in honor, and to be glorified in this world. They have forgotten that Christ, the Son of God, died and suffered for them and that by His suffering and death He has opened the door to eternal life and has called them to it. It is evident that they only desire and seek what they see, but they do not desire and seek what they do not see. Every day, they stretch their hand out to the forbidden tree as Adam did in Paradise, and they taste of it to their own misfortune, and so they depart in their heart from God…” Taken from Journey to Heaven: Counsels of the Particular Duties of Every Christian. Read an excerpt here.
As high schoolers, in addition to your current studies, you are probably contemplating your vocation in life. What will you wind up doing? Who will you grow up to be? If from now you always keep in mind that first and foremost you are living in a temporal world, a Christian whose goal is eternal life with God and that everything else should flow from that, you will make all your decisions – both the large and small ones – wisely.
Read some advice about How to Make Major Decisions here.
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A Message from Maria Spanos

I am passionate about our Orthodox Christian faith and seek to help others learn as much as they can about it. My purpose here is to share online resources that help strengthen our relationship with Christ and bind us closer to His Church. I believe they are invaluable in learning about our precious Orthodox Tradition, and are a great aid for teaching family members, friends and others about Orthodoxy. ~Maria

Two of my favorite quotes:

“A true Christian behaves in this life so that it may be a preparation for the future one and not only a life here below. In his actions, he does not think what will be said of him here but of what will be said there in heaven; he represents to himself that he is always in the presence of God, of the angels and all the saints, and remembers that someday they will bear witness of his thoughts, words, and deeds.”  — Saint John of Kronstadt


Of all the holy works, the education of children is the most holy.”
— St. Theophan the Recluse