“Daily the world is oppressed by new and growing evils”

The Lord says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” He means: “Nothing that is lasting in your world lasts for eternity without change; and everything that in me is perceived as passing away is kept firm, without passing away. My utterance, which passes away, expresses thoughts that endure without change.”

My friends, what we have heard is now clear. Daily the world is oppressed by new and growing evils. You see how few of you remain from a countless people; yet daily afflictions still oppress us, sudden disasters crush us, new and unforeseen misfortunes afflict us.

In youth the body is vigorous, the chest remains strong and healthy, the neck is straight, the arms muscular; in later years the body is bent, the neck scrawny and withered, the chest oppressed by difficult breathing, strength is failing, and speech is interrupted by wheezing. Weakness may not yet be present, but often in the case of the senses their healthy state is itself a malady. So too the world was strong in its early years, as in its youth: lusty in begetting offspring for the human race, green in its physical health, teeming with a wealth of resources. Now it is weighed down by its old age, and as troubles increase it is oppressed as if by the proximity of its demise.

Therefore, my friends, do not love what you see cannot long exist. Keep in mind the apostle’s precept, in which he counsels us “not to love the world or the things in the world, because if anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him.”

The day before yesterday, my friends, you heard that an old orchard was uprooted by a sudden hurricane, that homes were destroyed and churches knocked from their founda­tions. How many persons who were safe and unharmed in the evening, thinking of what they would do the next day, suddenly died that night, caught in a trap of destruction?

We must reflect that to bring these things about our unseen Judge caused the movement of a very slight breeze; he called a storm out of a single cloud and overthrew the earth, he struck the foundations of many buildings, causing them to fall.

What will that Judge do when he comes in person, when his anger is burning to punish sinners, if we cannot bear him when he strikes us with an insignificant cloud? What flesh will withstand the presence of his anger, if he moved the wind and overthrew the earth, stirred up the air and destroyed so many buildings?

Paul referred to this severity of the Judge who is to come and said: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Dearly beloved, keep that day before your eyes, and whatever you now believe to be burdensome will be light in comparison with it. The Lord says of this day through the prophet: “Yet once more and I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”

You see how he moved the air, as I said, and the earth did not withstand it. Who then will bear it when he moves the sky? What shall we call these terrors we see but heralds of the wrath to come? We must reflect that these troubles are as much unlike the final one as the herald’s role is unlike the judge’s power.

Give hard thought to that day, dearly beloved; amend your lives, change your habits, resist and overcome your evil temptations. The more you now anticipate his severity by fear, the more securely will you behold the coming of your eternal Judge.

St Gregory the Great

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14 Responses to “Daily the world is oppressed by new and growing evils”

  1. That makes God sound just like my earthly father was. A evil bully. Who was quick to punish, and did not forgive. No thanks. I don’t need a god I fear like that. I need a God that I know forgives me and loves me. Whose love and patience changes me. Not his anger. His anger will not make me change. My fathers never did. It made me hate.

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  2. JBG says:

    “The more you now anticipate his severity by fear, the more securely will you behold the coming of your eternal Judge.”

    Depending on the meaning of the term “fear” used here, this quote perfectly captures the pathology of some facets of popular religious belief.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It needs to be remembered that they thought apophatically about this. It was more in terms of their own judgment. A reminder God will judge us all. He will have mercy on those who show mercy, forgive those who forgive.

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      • Calvin says:

        But in so doing is he not demanding a standard to which he will not hold himself? If God can or will not forgive someone who is totally unforgiving or impenitent themselves, why should the burden to do thus fall on mere humans?

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        • Did you create Heaven? Do you have an inherent right to be there? Can you make demands of God? But if you refuse to forgive people, then you are literally drinking a toxic poison.

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          • Calvin says:

            “Did you create Heaven?”
            No.

            “Do you have an inherent right to be there? Can you make demands of God?”
            In a sense no, in that I did not have to exist. In a sense yes, the same way any son has a right to be in his father’s house by the sheer fact of what he is. And yes, I do. Shall not the judge of the earth do what is right? If it is good to forgive, and God is good, then forgive he must.

            “But if you refuse to forgive people, then you are literally drinking a toxic poison.”
            Then God is apparently chugging barrel-fulls of said poison on daily basis. One wonders if that might have an effect.

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          • You miss my point. God allows people to drink their own poison. Hell is nothing more than the sins people create for themselves.

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          • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

            “God allows people to drink their own poison. Hell is nothing more than the sins people create for themselves.”

            But even if self-chosen, Triumph, that doesn’t make eternal hell morally acceptable. I think that is the point Calvin is trying to make.

            There are a couple different ways for the universalist to respond to your claim, but they all begin with the gospel confession that God is absolute, infinite, unconditional Love who would never ever condemn or abandon his children to interminable torment and suffering. I have written many articles that discuss this from different angles. Here are a couple you might find interesting:

            Apokatastasis and the Radical Vision of Unconditional Divine Love

            Dogma, Damnation, and the Eucatastrophe of the Jesus Story

            The Triumph of the Kingdom Over Gehenna

            Please do read through them and let me know what you think.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Hello. Sorry I took so long to get back. It is very obvious that you have studied through this issue a lot more than I have. I truthfully can see problems in both so what I will do is I will ask my priest and go with what he says so that I can avoid being manipulated by people online regardless as to how smart or kind they can appear to be. I have had a track record of being manipulated online. God bless you!

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          • Calvin says:

            You miss mine. If he refuses to forgive people that drink said poison and condemns them to an eternity of misery (or abandons them to it if you like, it makes no difference), then he himself drinks the very same poison of unforgiveness. If it is evil not to forgive, then in order to be good God must forgive even those who themselves haven not forgiven others yet. And, having forgiven them, must not give up on them. Meaning he cannot allow even one of his children to be lost forever, no matter how long the pursuit takes.

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          • What you owe God is much greater than what your brother owes you. I would strongly recommend you reread Matthew 18.

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          • Calvin says:

            And what, dare I ask, does God owe me? It was, after all, he and no other who thrust me into the position in which I and the rest of humanity find ourselves. What does any parent owe their child, if they would be called good?

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          • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

            Triumph, your decision to seek out your priest is wise. May I also suggest that you avoid online discussions and debates. Your soul will thank you. 👍

            Liked by 1 person

  3. fily63 says:

    The gospel is: Christ did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world…. This is exactly mercy and forgiveness

    Liked by 1 person

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