Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fr Gary Preaches about Heaven!

Heaven is for Real.
...but we don't need a book written by a kid who has died to tell us that!

In Fr Gary's homily at Vespers last night, he mentioned how the book which is about a young child who had experienced a "near death experience" is making the rounds in his family. And while Fr Gary did not discount anything that may have happened in the book, he reminded us that in the parable of the Lazarus and the rich man when the rich man saw that "Heaven was for real" and he wasn't in it, he asked Abraham to send someone back from the dead to warn his brothers that heaven was real and they should prepare themselves for it.

"They have the law and the prophets, if you brothers don't believe that, they won't believe even if someone is raised from the dead!"

When I was a young christian and, as a teenager, I first read those words, I thought they were wrong. Certainly, if someone saw an actually resurrection then they would be forced to believe! Well, turns out Jesus is right! (of course). I have been hearing a lot of sermons/podcasts lately from Ancient Faith Radio on how belief is really an act of the will. Proof in the scientific sense is never enough to force faith. An act of the will comes first, a leap of faith, if you will and when that happens faith follows.

I'll give you an example. When I was first being beckoned to the ancient faith I used to listen to a podcast called the Rosary Army. It was a Catholic podcast and they shared the belief with the Orthodox about Mary being the Theotokos and an intercessor. Well, as a protestant, I had problems with that. But, after a long time of mental wrangling, I decided to just "let go" and "take a step of faith" and I started praying the Rosary. It was as I prayed the "Hail Marys" that I started to "get it" and asking for Mary's intercession just made sense in my faith life. The act of the will on my part came and faith followed.

So when Fr Gary reminded us of the words that they have the law and the prophets, it reminded me how God honors our actions. When we move just a little bit towards Him, He comes back at us in full force. But God asks us to believe first.

Man, I love synergy!

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