Christ is in our midst!
Do you know, my dear ones, what the meaning of life is? Do you know what essence of the Orthodox Faith is? Do you know what the Cross is? Do you know what salvation is? Do you know what the Church is?
God created all that exists, not out of necessity, but out of love. He bestowed upon the crown of all creation - man - an invaluable gift: His own image and likeness? Why did he do this? So that man, and through man all of creation, could participate in the very life of Life Himself, to become partakers of the Divine Nature, as St. Peter says.
God created everything, including man, our of His free, goodwill. But for man to participate in the Life, the Goodness, of God, man also had to make a choice of his own free will. Unfortunately, the first created man, and each subsequent man excluding our Lord, has chosen to follow his own will. This is sin. To reject the goodness of God, the will of God, which alone is good, and thereby the love of God, to go our own way.
How does God react to our rejecting His love? By loving us. He ever calls us to repentance, which is to forsake our own will - which is corrupted, and embrace His will, to abide in His goodness, to partake of His life. He became one of us, that, through His humanity we could commune of His Divinity. He gives us rebirth in the waters of regeneration, fills us with His Divine Spirit, thereby making us living temples of His, and He nourishes us with His own Body and Blood. And even if - or better said when - we again sin and fall away from His love, He receives us back through confession of our sins and tears.
Thus it is necessary for us to love one another - everyone really. Why? Because whom is it that God does not love? This is very important to remember, for our faith has very beneficial practices, traditions, statutes, which, if practiced devoid of love, make us no better than the Pharisees.
So the answer to the questions posed above: Do you know, my dear ones, what the meaning of life is? Do you know what essence of the Orthodox Faith is? Do you know what the Cross is? Do you know what salvation is? Do you know what the Church is? It is love. All that we do must be done with love. God is love, thus without Him we can do nothing. I pray we never forget this.