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Evil Unmasked

When I was a kid Halloween was a pretty small holiday. You might occasionally see some paper decorations on the windows of a few houses a week or so before October 31 and we kids wore unfrightful costumes - often cute - sometimes with plastic masks that were quite annoying. But hey, for the candy. Where this tradition came from and what it meant no one knew or was particularly concerned about.

Today it is different. Evil has been unmasked. Even worse, it is celebrated and used to make a great profit.

Most of us are aware of the origins of Halloween. If you are not, you can look it up. Today it’s about profiting from the celebration of fear, it’s about horror, it’s about dark beings that most people don’t even realize are real.

How did such a dark holiday become the second most profitable in the year? How can so many people love such evil?

Mostly, I think, out of ignorance. The enemy is a liar, a deceiver. Those who fall into his snares, who are blinded by his deceptions, do not realize what they are doing is truly evil or their grave peril.

How did this come to be? Because of two things, two idols, it seems to me. First, the love of money. St. Paul teaches that the love of money is the root of all evil. Those who love profit care not for morals and ethics, they don’t take any care of their soul and are unconcerned about salvation. Everything is permissible if they can make a profit. It doesn’t matter how many people are ruined - morally, mentally or physically - or even killed. Profit is power and it is intoxicating.

The second idol, is the idol of the self. It is pride, vanity, vain glory, egoism. Men have become gods unto themselves. They - dare I say we? - have their own set morals, standards of ethics and conduct, sense of right and wrong, all of which are purely subjective and can and do change based upon what is acceptable, comfortable, untroubling, trendy. There is no right and wrong, no sin, no truth, no God.

This hideous holiday is now celebrated all over the world where a generation ago it was unheard of. This is possible because God is absent in most of the world today. Truly, God has not gone anywhere. He is still here, but He has been rejected. Socialism, modernism, secularism, materialism - all devoid of God. Even many - if not most - of those who profess to believe in God are deceived, for having accepting the above isms they are but superficial believers, ungodly facades, whitewashed tombs. Does not the impiety of “believers” contribute to all of this?

Our Lord Christ said: Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Woe to those who bear the name of Christ but are not witnesses to the Truth, to Light, to Love. We are tempted, my beloved, every hour of every day. Our adversary is quite experienced and never sleeps. This is why our Lord told us to be vigilant. We must guard our hearts, our minds, our senses - to the extent that we are able - in this world where they are constantly bombarded, from all that may cause us to neglect our souls and forsake our salvation.

Now this does not mean that we should be rigid rule keepers. For this can and does make us pharisaic. It means that we must abide in Christ, which means be faithful to the Church, which is the Body of Christ, the pillar and ground of Truth. The Tradition of the Church is the life in Christ as taught by Christ through His Apostles and the Saints through the centuries.

Therefore, as I have said many times, let us not merely be called Orthodox - for what benefit is there in that? We must be Orthodox - courageously bearing witness to the Truth in a world that loves lies, bravely bearing witness to the Light, in a world that loves darkness, manifesting our right belief in true worship, unabashedly - yet not pompously - being Orthodox Christians wherever we may be or whatever we may be doing. This is our challenge. This is our calling. This is our witness. How truly blessed and fortunate we are!

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