Life from within our Death


The following is taken from Archimandrite Sophrony’s His Life is Mine. It is a deep word of encouragement to us all that in Christ healing is truly possible. 

It is usual for the Christian to be aware concurrently of the prsence of the never-fading celestial glory and of the brooding cloud of death hanging over the world. Though the feeling of death torments the soul, it cannot extinguish the fire of faith. The prayer throbbing within us sets us on the frontier between two worlds, the transient and the one to come (cf. Heb. 13:14). This painful rending forces us into still more fervent entreaty. We recognize our sickness – the mortal power of sin working in us – and plead for a physician. Then He Who said that He was ‘not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’, adding that ‘they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick’ (Matt. 9:12-13), does indeed answer our appeal. He heals our souls from every ill, giving new enrgy, enlightening with an undying light. The age-old experience of life in the Church has proved irrefutably that for prayer – that is, for God – no sickness of spirit is incurable. We may be born into the most unfavorable circumstances. We may grow up in ignorant, rough, even criminal surroundings, and be attracted by the general example. We may suffer every kind of deprivation, loss, injury. We may be deformed from birth, and know what it is to be despised, wounded, rejected. All that is unfortunate in the contemporary world may make its mark on us, possess us, even; but from the moment we turn to God, resolved to follow His commandments, a process of basic healing begins. And not only are we healed of our wounds or passions – even our outward appearance may alter.

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a retired Archpriest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, and Face to Face: Knowing God Beyond Our Shame, as well as the Glory to God podcast series on Ancient Faith Radio.



2 responses to “Life from within our Death”

  1. Handmaid Anna Avatar
    Handmaid Anna

    Father Bless,
    My family lives in a small rural town and our Orthodox church is a 3 1/2 hr. drive away which we manage to get to about every other Sunday. I have an invalid friend with many health problems who is wanting to become a catechumen in the Orthodox church. She has been told that she does not have much longer to live and is realizing that her “process of basic healing begins” in the church. Her husband and adult children oppose her making the trip with our family to go to worship. It is even difficult for her to visit with a priest because of the family’s negativity about her faith. Do you have any comments on situations like this where a person deeply desires the healing benefits of the church but is completely blocked from attaining it?

  2. Fatherstephen Avatar

    I could not comment on the particulars of her situation – because I am not there, etc. But in general I can say that the Church has always understood that there is a “Baptism of Desire.” That is to say, that there are no road blocks that the world can put between us and Christ. If she desires union with Christ in His fullness and the circumstances of her life prevent finding or being part of an Orthodox Church – she should not give up her desire, but pray. God will hear her prayers and give her the desire of her heart (Christ in His fullness). I can only state that in general, because, as I’ve noted, I do not personally know her circumstances. But the general rule holds. God is not limited by what man may do.

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