The Fifth Wednesday of Great Lent. The Banishment of Hell. Repentance.
One of my favorite authors as a young man, was Thomas Merton, the famous Trappist monk. In the introduction to his work New Seeds of Contemplation he wrote: “Hell was where no one has anything in common with anyone else except the fact that they all hate one other and cannot get away from each other and from themselves.”
This very much fits with the Orthodox view of hell as being in the presence of God for all eternity, and hating it. For the one who has never loved and who is consumed in his own ego and his own passions, being with God for all eternity will be to him, hell. Without love, we cannot experience the Fire of God without being burned.
The Lenten journey is the perfect time to reconnect with God’s love by strengthening love within our own heart. By reaching out with an ever expanding love and charity for everyone around us, be they family members, fellow believers in the parish, or strangers on the street, loving others becomes our Lenten goal. As love increases, hate and anger decrease. As Christ increases in our own heart, the power of hate and sin decreases around us, and hell is banished.
With love in Christ,
~The Morning Offering, https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/2019/04/the-banishment-of-hell-4/
In our struggle on the path to God, repentance must be the central theme. Only in repentance will we find the true meaning of life, for only in repentance can one enter into communion with God. This life has been given to us for one purpose, that we might be deified, and be united with God, as was His purpose from the very beginning. In our fallen state, our brokenness keeps us separated from God, for our darkened nous cannot see clearly. Repentance changes our nous, clearing the way for complete union with Christ, and making us whole.
“Ask for repentance in your prayer and nothing else, neither for divine lights, nor miracles, nor prophecies, nor spiritual gifts—nothing but repentance. Repentance will bring you humility, humility will bring you the Grace of God, and God will have in His Grace everything you need for your salvation, or anything you might need to help another soul (Elder Paisios of Mount Athos).”
Love in Christ,
~The Morning Offering, https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/2018/03/repentance-3/