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pray_hands.GIF (680 bytes) Prayer & Spirituality
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Love of Goodness

God's dealings with man are not limited to our legalistic ideas about reward and punishment. Salvation, which is the ultimate goal of Christian life, is not a "reward" but a gift freely given by God. We cannot "earn" or "merit" it by anything we do, no matter how pious or self-effacing we think ourselves.

In everyday life we naturally think that good deeds should be rewarded and crimes punished. But our God does not "punish" on the basis of human standards. He corrects and chastises us, just as a loving father corrects his erring children in order to show them the way. But this is not the same thing as being "sentenced" to a "term" of pain and suffering for some misdeed. Our God is not vindictive; He is at all times perfectly loving, and His justice has nothing to do with human legal standards.

He knows that we cannot come to Him without purity of heart, and He also knows that we cannot acquire this purity unless we are free from all things: free from attachments to money and property, free of passion and sin, and even detached from bodily health if that stands in between us and true freedom before God. He instructs us, through both revelation and correction, showing us how we may acquire this freedom, for 'Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free' (John 8:32). As St. John Cassian teaches:

God "leads you on by a still higher step to that love which is free of fear. Through this you begin effortlessly and naturally to observe all those things you originally observed out of fear of God and punishment, but now you do them no longer from fear of punishment, but from love of Goodness itself, and delight in virtue." (Institutes)

Anonymous - The Teaching of the Fathers ON ILLNESS
page 6-7,Nikodemos Orthodox Publications Society, 1986

Source: A Little Spiritual Help by Fr. John Brian, Madison, WI

See Also:

Isaiah 53: The Lamb of God
More than 2,500 years ago, God revealed the greatest message in history to the Hebrew prophet Isaiah. In chapter 53 of the book that bears his name, Isaiah unveils God’s message of salvation to the world, and in so doing, he reveals the identity of the Messiah – the Lamb of God who would lay down His life as an offering for the world’s sins.

Finding God
John Powell writes about a student who learns that God is Love. "The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them."

What is heaven? It is the eternal bliss which God is enjoying.

When Donald Trump Washed My Feet
Most of the classic scenes in the Bible have become so over-familiar we don't see their message anymore. This article gives strategies for drawing the power from the Bible by applying it to your life in innovative ways.

Is Prayer Good for Your Health? 
Studies found that healthy older adults who participate in private religious activity -- prayer, meditation or bible study -- "appear to have a survival advantage over those who do not."

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