June 11, 2023

Homily One for the Sunday of All Saints (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 Is It True That Christianity Has Failed?

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on All Saints Sunday - May 31, 1953)

One of the frivolous eighteenth-century French philosophers, called Encyclopedists, said a scathing word that was immediately taken up and became a catchphrase: "Christianity failed."

So, did it really fail? Of course not! It failed for those who are like these philosophers, for those whose hearts are full of pride, conceit and self-exaltation.

It failed for those whose hearts are dragged into the dirt of the earth - for them, of course, it failed. They did not become Christians.

In order to become Christian and follow Christ, to take up one's cross and follow Christ, one must deny oneself. Have they denied themselves? Of course not.

They did not have a goal at all to acquire the highest blessings, they cared only about earthly glory, their inflated philosophical glory, they cared about luxury, pleasures, and a rich life.

Of course, Christianity could not succeed for them, because they were not looking for it at all. If Christianity has failed for these proud, arrogant ones, has it failed at all? Oh no, oh no! It succeeded quite well.

The preaching of Christ, the preaching of His holy apostles, penetrated like a powerful, unrepressed stream into the hearts of millions and countless millions of Christians. Do not think that there has always been the present ungodly time. This was not the case not only in our country, but in almost all other countries. Until the end of the Middle Ages, the faith of Christ was the inheritance of the European peoples. The people were pious, the people followed the teachings of the Church, the people accepted the Christian sacraments and were sanctified by them.

And there were countless people who were sanctified, who became close to God, became friends of God and even brethren of God. Regarding how many, how innumerable there are these, for whom Christianity has fully succeeded, listen to what the holy Apostle John the Theologian says in his Divine Revelation: “I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands … These are those who came from the great tribulation; they washed their clothes and made their clothes white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9, 14).

You see, an innumerable, boundless multitude dressed in white robes stood before God. This is salvation, these are those who came from the great tribulation, these are those who came after Christ through the path of suffering, through tribulations and washed their clothes with the Blood of the Lamb.

There were an innumerable number of them. Do we not see that in our time, when the violent winds of atheism blow, the churches are overflowing with worshipers, they stand in the church courtyard and cannot enter the church.

How many are there, how many are pure in heart, how many are still washing their clothes with the Blood of the Lamb, how many are still suffering severe sorrows. There are countless, countless...

Of course, Christianity is quite, quite successful for them! Let the shameless lips of those who dare to repeat after godless philosophers that Christianity has failed be silenced!

Today we are celebrating the feast of all saints. Why is such a feast established? There are very few canonized saints, those saints whose names are included in the ecclesiastical calendar, there are some one and a half to two thousand of them, and the saints of God, who washed their clothes, who came from great sorrow, are an immense multitude. Their names are not in the calendar, but they are known to God. There are many of them among you standing before me.

Many are those for whom Christianity has succeeded, that are washed by the Blood of the Lamb. Who are they, how do you recognize them? These are modest, quiet, completely inconspicuous people, simple people who have not studied anything, but are full of faith in Christ, full of piety. These are old men and women, young adults and youth, who do God's work imperceptibly for the world: with small deeds, deeds of love, deeds of mercy, they washed their clothes.

You will recognize them by their appearance. You see on the street the proud and rich, walking high holding their heads and pushing those who interfere with them.

It's not them - they are not like that at all, they outwardly differ from the proud, for they are humble. They walk at a quiet pace, their eyes downcast. All their movements are proportionate, not sharp, not rude. They are silent, they avoid places of fun and enjoyment, they are where there is grief, where they cry. Here they are ... Here is their memory - the memory of non-canonized saints - the Church celebrates today.

None of these saints, unknown to the world, will be left without glorification by the Church, and today the Holy Church glorifies them.

Live in such a way as to be these small, invisible, not known to the world, but known to God as saints. Remember that the hol Apostle Paul called all Christians, of course, true Christians, saints.

Remember that the holy Apostle Peter says this about all of us: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a people taken as an inheritance, to proclaim the perfection of Him who called you into His wonderful light. Proclaim, all of you proclaim the perfection of Him who called you into His marvelous light!” Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos. 

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