Great, tense, many-sided fight for religion and against it
is waged in the world.
But what is religion? Religion in Latin means
"connection," the connection between God and people.
This connection is many-sided. First of all, it is
the connection of faith. With all the forces of his soul, i.e. with mind,
feelings and will, the man establishes the existence of God and His main
qualities, though he have not seen God with the physical eyes, and have not
heard Him with the bodily ears. Therefore, in faith the triumph of the
spiritual side of the man is revealed in the most distinct way. The man
comprehends God with his spirit: mind, feelings and will, and establishes
connection with Him. This is the basis of religion.
Having believed in God, having established His
existence with all the three sides of his spirit, the man appeals to God in a
prayer. The prayer is the conversation with God. This is the second
manifestation of religion, as of the manís connection with God. The prayer is
not at all begging something from God, as the people, not knowing of faith,
imagine it to be. An appeal occupies an important place only by the primitive
people. The main, basic content of the prayer is addressing of the loving heart
to the Loved One. The letters of those in love, the conversations of true
friends, the appeal of loving children to their parents ó this is what is similar
to a true prayer, if to look at the everyday life. Joy in God, the gratitude to
Him for His lenience, His glorification, delight with His wisdom, goodness and
power, and beauty and truth ó this is what fills our prayers in the greatest
measure, and this is what our divine servicesí texts and those of simple
prayer-books are full of.
The realization of the personal nonentity, sinful
state and guilt before God is the next important element of the Christian
prayer. To ask for the forgiveness of sins, for, that in spite of our sinful
state the Lord would not take His love away from us, ó this is another
important element of the prayer.
So, the prayer is the second type of the manís
connection with God.
The third type of the manís connection with God is
his life according to Godís rules. Having believed in God, having established
for himself His existence with all sides of his soul, having strengthened the
connection with Him in prayer, the man feels the presence of God in each moment
of his life and wishes that every moment would be God-pleasing. Thus, religion,
i.e. the connection of the man with God, fills the whole life of the man,
enlightening it and making it precious and full of sense.
A religious person is a person, connected with
God. As a loving husband, neither being upset, nor like a slave, under
compulsion, but freely, and happily realizes that in all the minutes of his
life, in everything, he is connected with that one, whom he loves and joyfully
uses every moment in order to tell her everything, what happens in his soul, in
the conversation and show her his love, trying not to do anything that might
make her sad, ó the same way a truly believing person always rejoices over the
free, voluntary accepted connection with God, strives to be with Him mentally
all the time, to tell Him about all the movements in his soul, to express his
love for Him, and tries never do, say or think anything, that could upset
loving God, be unpleasant to Him or break connection with Him.
St. Basil the Great, who reached this ideal in his
life, writes: "No eye should act without God, no hand should move without
Him, and no heart should think of the unpleasant to God" (vol.1, p. 147).
Not accidentally, the unity of the man with God,
our connection with Him, i.e. religion, is compared in the Holy Scripture with
marriage, the marriage of the Lamb, the Son of God, with a believing soul, and
the Church calls the Lord "the Bridegroom of our souls and bodies."
This is what religion is, that is why for the
personal religion, the personal connection with God any believer must fight
till the last breath, with all his forces, in the greater measure, than any
loving person would fight for the one he loves.
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