On Sunday afternoon, March 24, 2019 his Eminence, the Bishop of Corfu, Paxoi and Diapontian Islands, Mr. Nektarios did the Archieratical Panegyrical Vesper of the Annunciation of the Holy Theotokos at the Holy Church of Saint Spyridon the Wonderworker.
The address of Bishop of Corfu was: “the inside human is hidden in his/her heart “.
In his First Letter, Apostle Peter writes: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight,” that is, the outward human with the elaborate hairstyles and golden necklaces and luxurious garments. but the inner self of the heart, the concealed, with the incorruptibility of the meek and quiet spirit.
The Great Lent, invites us to an intense spiritual struggle. We are asked to fight more strongly for the purity of our soul. Let us take our attention from the daily routine of the worldly things, turning inward, towards the hearts of our hearts. It invites us to discover our hidden self. The word of God speaks to us both about the outward man and about the person inside, about who we really are. The inner man, Apostle Peter, calls him the hidden of the heart. Who is this? People are judged by that. They judge superficially from what they see.
On the other hand, it is true that what God is examining, is not what it looks like, but reality, our inner state. So He does not judge what it seems to be, but what it really is. Because people are actually what we hide within us. In the depths of our heart lies our evil, our passions, and our true love. There is joy for the prosperity of our brothers. There is the jealousy and evil for our brothers. In the depths of our hearts the moods of greed, vanity, prosperity, every form of selfishness are dominating. There, in this depth, after a very spiritual struggle, humiliation will also have its place, which is not evidenced by a contracted behavior and a simple external appearance, but it depends on our inner mood and condition of our heart. The biggest and most difficult battle that humans go through is against themselves. But this battle is not only difficult, it is nice too. With this struggle, the purification of our soul is achieved. Christ Himself invites us with His teaching, to deal with the depth, to discover the essence of our spiritual life, not to remain in the form of an external, otherwise impeccable behavior.
The Lord asks us to seek integrity in the mind, authenticity to the spirit, and authenticity to our lives.
In addition, his Eminence pointed out that Christ in His teaching connects the mind of humans with the heart. The mind is directly related to the heart. Our thoughts are withing our hearts, Saint Isaac the Syrian tells us.
How can the purification of the heart be achieved? First, with our self-criticism, strictly controlling ourselves in what spiritual state is. Secondly, with our struggle. When we see our situation, we must act dynamically, fight, be hurt and humiliated. Thirdly, it is not enough, neither self-criticism nor struggle unless the Uncreated Grace of God comes, which cleanses the heart and comforts the struggling Christian. And the fourth element for the purification of the heart is patience. The inner work is long in time.
Moreover, Mr.Nektarios referred to the results of this fight for the purification of the heart. The Apostle Paul urges us to lay down the old man, who is likened to the unclean garment that we need to take from us. The old man is the natural man who has the torment of sin, the descendant of the fallen Adam. Apostle Paul also urges us to take the new human in our hearts, who is no other than Jesus Christ.
In his conclusion, the Eminence, he stressed that the Great Lent we are invited us to three entrances. A) The first is the entrance to our private room, the place we pray for. B) The second entrance is our heart, in which we enter from the gate of repentance. C) The Third Entrance is the Heaven, through the gates of the Sky that we are passing through. When the human is cleansed internally, paradise is born and the entrance to it, is Easter.
So our course is introversion, repentance, resurrection, avoiding the distractions of the world, meeting with ourselves, and discovering God within us.