28th August 2016

alexander_schmemann

The source of false religion is the inability to rejoice, or, rather, the refusal of joy, whereas joy is absolutely essential because it is without any doubt the fruit of God’s presence. One cannot know that God exists and not rejoice. Only in relation to joy are the fear of God and humility correct, genuine, fruitful. Outside of joy, they become demonic, the deepest distortion of any religious experience. A religion of fear  . . . The main source of everything is ‘my soul rejoices in the Lord . . .’ The fear of sin does not save from sin. Joy in the Lord saves. A feeling of guilt or moralism does not liberate from the world and its temptations. Joy is the foundation of freedom, where we are all called to stand. Where, how, why have Christians become deaf to joy? How, when, and why, instead of freeing suffering people, did the Church come to sadistically intimidate and frighten them?

~~Alexander Schmemann

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