Wednesday, November 2, 2016

To Go to Heaven, We Must Live Heavenly

By Hieromartyr Barlaam, Archbishop Of Perm
(written in 1908)

Heaven is our true homeland, eternal, holy, safe from all enemies, from every destroying act of the elements, which themselves will be burned, and destroyed (II Pet. 3:10)....

No man with a hard heart, or one who serves his sinful passions, will ascend into the Kingdom of Heaven. How can one ascend to heaven if for his whole life he has served worldly vanity, if he has been daily languishing in a burning thirst for earthly pleasures or has given his heart over to them and attached himself to them as a magnet to iron, while he has not developed the slightest taste for spiritual and heavenly good things? (I say not that he has failed to strengthen it, but that he does not have it at all.) Just conduct such a one, if only for an example - if such a thing were permitted - into the mansions on high, and he will be bored there, because there are not there such things as are here below: there are none of his favorite objects, none of the earthly treasures by means of which he lullabied and fooled his heart. The dispositions and inclinations of soul which have been acquired here go over with us into that world, and what torment will be there beyond the grave for everyone who died with his sinful earthly inclinations, who always choked and suffocated the heavenly needs of his soul with out succeeding in offering heartfelt repentance for them? This is why there will be an undying worm there, as our Savior so often says in the Gospel: this worm is our sinful inclinations, living and not dying even after death, which can be satisfied by nothing. If we sincerely desire to live after death in heaven, we must live in a heavenly way on earth.

The heavenly kingdom is opened, the righteous Judge awaits our conversion to Him, He mercifully calls us to Himself, shows us already the mansions prepared for all who love Him and strive toward Him, and says, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:27).

From Andreyev, Ivan. Russia's Catacomb Saints: Lives of the New Martyrs, Platina, CA, St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1982, pp. 266-267.