About 1982 years ago (2012 after Christ minus the 30 years of hidden life, when He was a child and then a carpenter in Nazareth), the Holy Face of the Only Son of God was revealed to the whole world by his Forerunner, Saint John the Baptist. That auto-revelation of God had an effect so big on the world that all the scientific discoveries, revolutions, inventions, philosophies from all eras pale in comparison, even if they were madly worshipped by man.
After thousands of years, the celebration of Epiphany (epiphany= appearance, manifestation; the Baptism of God is also called Epiphany or the manifestation of the Holy Trinity : the Son in the Jordan river, the Holy Spirit in the body of a dove and the Father speaking from the skies) and it remains a curiosity and many once-Christian countries, including orthodox Romania and secular Great Britain. Few people, including so-called Christians really understand the meaning of the holiday.
Outside the Christian world (composed of the Original Orthodox Church, as well as other heterodox beliefs), people still continue to hate and mock Christ, as Irod did when He was born or the Judeans when they put Him on the cross. If there were only not-believers (agnostics), maybe their sin would be smaller (and forgivable), but by calling themselves atheists (in war with their Creator), they also mock the Holy Spirit, not to mention the fact that they are in a completely unscientific position- nobody has ever proved, scientifically the inexistence of God.
They want Him out of all His things, without seeing that, the more they fight with the inexistent God, the more they actually prove the contrary- His existence. And that is because all the demons that inspire atheists ideologies know that He exists.
But these things happen outside the continuously reducing Christian world. Inside it, there are other demonic traps whose purpose is to dilute faith. The devilry of the enemies of our salvation has existed ever since the time of the apostles, have lead to the separation of Christianity from 1054 to the present. In a world full of hedonism, Christ appears as ‘relative-Christians’ ( heterodox people, but also non-ascetic orthodox people) want Him to be, as they ‘draw’ caricatures of Him in the most strange circumstances. The world is disfigured, living under the spell of ‘I do what I want to do’, thus disfiguring Christ.
People today, very little resembling of the man-angel John the Baptist, state they have seen the Son of God, and these appearances are thought worthy of holding the web or printed pages of journals such as They Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph. Sometimes this kind of news rapidly reaches places throughout the world.
A girl from Great Britain saw Jesus in her chewing gum, a banker states that he was saved through a divine intervention, after Jesus appeared in a frying pan, a so-called church advertises through the Face of God drawn with the foam from a glass of beer,
A man from Southampton is sure that an image took by Google Earth from a field in Hungary shows Jesus, while a woman and her paramour say they saw Him in an ecography, near their baby who was sucking his finger.
Members of a (probably wacky) community from America saw Him crucified on a telephone pole, a couple would be ready to swear that He was on the door of a toilet in an IKEA store from Glasgow, while a family from Hertfordshire recognized Him on a flaming log in their fireplace. And the list of appearances (surrealist, psychotic ?!) can go on and on. Thus, the relative-Christians of all names believe they are refreshing their faith, while atheists are laughing out loud at the stupidity of the so-called Christians. Both parties are satisfied. 😦
According to the teachings of the Orthodox Church, hardly the saints that try to live by the model of John the Baptist see Christ for once in a lifetime, so how would regular people, especially those coming from a desacralised society like that in the Great Britain suddenly manage to see Him?
Then, is it really true that all these appearances change somehow clearly the existence of these people, such as in the rare cases when the future saints have seen the Saviour or His Sacred Mother and changed completely their lives after that moment? Maybe not more than one man or woman from a half-million people is drawn to the monastic life. God knows how many of those called are really chosen – not by blind faith, but by their own need to be ascetic.
Those whose hearts are purified, so that they are worthy to see His Face are few, very few. It’s very probable that there are as few as one from a billion (from all the billions that lived in the world) that have seen Him during their lives on Earth.
However, in the present world, so disfigured by sin, so far away from Him and separated by His commandments, seeing Him has become a cheap curiosity. We’re not far from believing that seeing him is something common, such as going to the supermarket or turning on the TV.
Actually, things are not at all like this. Seeing God is something for which John the Baptist would have lived even a hundred years in the desert and would have accepted to be decapitated for a hundred time. And still, a price for a such priceless gift would not have been discovered.
So full of the emptiness inside us, a lot of us can’t understand the words full of humility of the Forerunner: “So this joy of mine has come true. He must grow greater, but I must grow less.” May those, very few, who still are humble be blessed! It is for them that the Lord keeps the world alive.
(Bogdan Munteanu – MunteanUK)