Putting on the monastic habit ( 30.04.2005 )
On the eve of Christ’s Resurrection, Metropolitan Nahum of Strumica dressed in raso the novice James (Jacob) from the brotherhood of St Anthony’s monastery in Novo Selo. From the homily delivered on this occasion, we wrote down the following: His Eminence reminded brother James that putting on this monastic habit, he stops being a civilian and becomes a soldier of Christ, and by this also a target of more emphatic attacks of the enemy. The Most Reverend Nahum pointed out to him that he should prepare himself for greater temptations on the road of Christ, which has the characteristic of a filial relationship, perfection and afflictions. The filial relationship means a relationship that is neither a hireling’s nor a slave’s. Building a filial relationship with God implies perfection of love and obedience, which means all we do should not be done for a reward or out of fear, but out of unconditional love, after the model of Christ, Who was obedient to His Father to the very death on the Cross and Who suffered for our sake not because He had to, but voluntarily.
We cannot avoid afflictions in our life. Every man suffers, but if we do not suffer for Christ’s sake, then our suffering will remain merely suffering; yet if we suffer for Christ’s sake, then our afflictions have an objective and meaning and become minute in relation to the comfort and joy they bring us.
At the first degree of our spiritual growth we suffer due to our captivity to the passions we fight with in our struggle. At the second degree we suffer because of the love towards our enemies, when we strive not to respond with evil to evil. Only thus walking along the road of Christ we can be witnesses of Christ’s Passion and His Resurrection.