Our Vocation in Christ, Part 1: Homily
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Admin in Homily, Plebe Summer, Teachings

Readings

Homily

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saints Cosmas and Damian, whose memory we keep this day, were fully devoted to Christ. As a result of their piety, God granted them the gift of healing others and of bringing many people to the knowledge and love of Christ.

There are many such examples in the lives of the Saints of God working miraculously through these holy men and women for the salvation of others.

What do they share in common? The men and women we call Saints lived their lives to the glory of God and learned to submit themselves continuously to God’s will. They came to be united with God, the Holy Trinity, that is, to be in constant relationship/communion with Him who is Life and Truth.

Christ says, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.” Christ God is Life so if we want to truly live, we must be united to Him who is Life itself.

Salvation for Christians—for Orthodox—has always meant our continued growth and participation in the life of the Holy Trinity. That is, an ongoing relationship and communion with God.

*Christ God must be the focus of our lives. It is only in putting Him and His Church first, that all the other important aspects of our lives come together and fit into their proper place, glorifying God.

It is through His holy Church that the true Faith is preserved through the ages so that each generation may come to know the one, true God, and His way of salvation.

For some of you, taking your faith seriously may be a new concept. Others may have experienced what communion means. The fact is that it’s not enough just to be baptized. We must all come to live out our faith, ‘own our faith,’ and apply it to our daily lives.

Here you are with a new opportunity to grow in your Orthodox Faith and learn how He can form you into a godly man and leader.

The Naval Academy will test your faith and form you. There is no doubt about that! You will be former here! The question is, “How?” You will not be the same person in four years that you are now.

The Academy will demand all from you. The key is that in order to give your all for your country, to serve your country—you have to put Christ and His Church first.

Only in putting Christ and the Church first, will you be able to become the man of God that He desires you to be. Then and only then can you can serve your country with the strength, fortitude, and whole-mindedness that a life formed in Christ offers.

The Academy recognizes this truth: You will be taught that “moral and ethical development” is vital for making good officers. This is why it is specifically stated in the mission statement of the Academy. Don’t let anyone here tell you otherwise. This is why the military invests in a Chaplain Corp. Atheism and Agnosticism, in the end, do not make good, ‘whole-minded’ leaders.

The Military wants people with integrity in its leadership. And true integrity has to come from the heart; it cannot be imposed through fear of being ‘fried’—though some will try to impose this upon you. It can be taught, but to be truly effective, it must become part of a person; it must be caught and lived through practice!

This is where your faith and the Church and this Orthodox Midshipmen’s Fellowship/OCF ministry of the Church comes into play.

This ministry is here, the Church is here, to help you be formed as a whole person: body, soul, and spirit.

The military will teach you to march, to line up for formation, to use artillery, to follow commands, to teach you facts, but it cannot change your heart. It cannot, on it’s own, grow you into a person of truth and integrity; that must come through your formation in Christ and His Church, the fullness of which we find only in Holy Orthodoxy.

In the Orthodox Church, the tools of prayer, the Scriptures, and the Sacraments stand ready to assist you!

True leadership cannot be separated from what it means to become “a man of God.” Think of the example of the heroic3rd and 4th-century officer, St. George. He served Rome valiantly and was loved by his men. In the end though, he gave his life not for the State but for his fellow Christians. He is known to this day for that reason! Like him, Saints Cosmas and Damian, paid the ultimate sacrifice and laid down their lives so that others might live.

In the midst of your running, sweating, being cussed at, and your mental and physical fatigue, your temptation to sin, call on the Lord so that you may persevere and continue to be formed in Christ.

God will enable you to persevere and He will be your strength—a reserve that others without Him do not have!. This is where the ancient prayer of the Church, the ‘Jesus Prayer’ comes in handy: “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

So, I encourage you, in the midst of your military formation this summer and beyond to cooperate with God’s ongoing work in your lives, to deepen your prayer life and communion with Him in the midst of your training.

Strive to keep God in mind at all times. This is what it is to “pray without ceasing,” as St. Paul admonishes us to do. Ask God to be with you and help you to endure and give you strength—physical, spiritual, and mental strength to make you into the man of God He desires..

Remember the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

God will not fail you. He will come to you with His strength when you need it most.

Christ is in our midst! He is and ever shall be!

Article originally appeared on AnnapolisCollegeMinistry.org (http://www.annapoliscollegeministry.org/).
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