Different tombstones at a graveyard

Holiness Extends Beyond the Grave

Last week was the annual National March for Life in Washington, DC. Huge crowds gathered in our nation’s capital, including Orthodox Christian Clergy, to defend the rights of the unborn in our society. Abortion, though ‘a little less legal’ since the reversal of Roe v. Wade, is still on the minds of too many people. There are still thousands of babies killed in the name of reproductive rights every day.

What the promoters of abortion forget, is that God is the creator and He alone should determine when life ends. I purposely remained silent last week to avoid all the cliché comments of the day. Today though, I want to speak about why we Orthodox consider life so sacred. It isn’t just about abortion. The holiness of life extends beyond the grave.

Today the Church commemorates the removal of the relics of Saint John Chrysostom. There are many of these types of commemorations in the Church. In many cases they celebrate the ‘coming home’ of the saints to their proper place of honor in the Church. Today is one of those days. Saint John Chrysostom was exiled and it was after his death that his relics were honored. They are still honored today.

Relics of the saints are honored as a testimony to God’s love and grace present in the lives of particular saints. Some relics are known to be the source of healing miracles from God. Some remain incorrupt, which means the bodies do not decay even centuries after death. Visit any monastery and ask permission to venerate the bones of the saints. You will enter a room, depending on the age of the monastery, with thousands of bones being honored for God’s love and grace.

It’s one reason we despise cremation. If the bodies of God’s people are holy, then they should not be intentionally destroyed. Whether they are ‘unwanted babies’ in the womb, or unsavory characters in the morgue, all human beings should be treated with the dignity of having been created in the image of God. The Church even has a special funeral for the bodies of miscarriages.

Unfortunately, our society considers life to be disposable. We throw away relationships. We throw away the sick and poor. We even have begun to honor suicide as courageous. More and more doctors are defending ‘assisted suicide’ as compassion. The last thing on our societies mind is the treat the human body as holy.

How do we reverse this trend? It begins with remembering YOU are holy, set aside by God. Your life was given to you as a gift from God, through your parents. Begin to live your life as if you are protecting something precious. If you have damaged your precious body in the past, don’t panic. It can be restored by God through Holy Confession and Holy Communion.

Begin making decisions with holiness in mind rather than secular priorities. If you don’t want children, don’t have sex. If you want your body to be honored with a proper Christian burial, plan ahead and save money for a proper funeral.

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1 Comment

  1. JoAnn Metropoulos on February 2, 2023 at 9:44 pm

    If all remember that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit they will make better decisions of their lives. My own finality is to be done according to our Orthodox Church / pray my family makes proper decisions as well.

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