Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk: Now is the Time to Search, to Knock on the Door of God’s Mercy.

15-8-7You see that everything is set within its own time as Ecclesiastes said “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” (Eccl. 3:1). Birds build nests in their time and hatch chickens; animals flock in their time and give birth to their offspring, and so do fish in their time; trees and grass in their time unfold, blossom and give fruit; farmers in their time plow, plant and gather fruits;  everything has its time appointed by our Creator God. This teaches us that to us God has, also, appointed our time to attain eternal salvation. This time is the present, “until it is called “today” (Евр. 3:13), until we are present in this world, until we live and are passengers. This time is appointed for us to search the salvation which Christ God’s Son has given us through His Blood.  That is why this time in the Scriptures is referred to as time to plant: “Whatever a man sows, this he will reap: the one who sows to please his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; but the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8)”. Who sow in tears, shall reap with joy. He that goes forth weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with joy bringing his sheaves with him  (Пс. 125:5-6). Time will come when no one will receive this  even if they search for it in tears. Like the lazy farmer, if he misses the right time, even if he sows, he will lose the seed because it was not sown at the right time; very much so unwise will be the sinners who seek salvation on that day but will not be granted any because then will be the time for judgement and not for repentance. Today is the time to sow, today is the time to search, to knock on the doors of God’s mercy, when God has promised to hear and help, and does hear and help. “For it is said: “At the acceptable time I heard you; in the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.!” (2 Кор. 6:2). “Today everyone who  asks, shall receives, and who seeks shall find, and who knocks, the door shall be opened to him.” says Christ (Маtthew 7:8). Then this shall not exist. Someone might object: but I could repent before death comes. With such repentance you might as well go to hell. O man, is it then you want to repent when the time for repentance has gone and the time for judgement and sentence has come?  Is it then you want to turn to God, when God summons you for judgement? Is it then you want to search for Him, when your time is up? Undoubtedly, we must repent in our deathbeds too, it is even more important to pray and seek God diligently, because especially then the soul is about to embark on a big deed. But to delay repentance until death – this is a seduction of the mind, nonchalance about one’s salvation, these are devil’s deeds, planting that thought into man’s heart, driving him to a fearless transgression of the law of God, urging him to stir God’s wrath and to delay his repentance day after day, so that through such cunningness man can be destroyed. Затова, ако искаш блажена кончина, днес бъди такъв, какъвто искаш да си при смъртния час. Мисли днес за света, почестите, славата, богатството и разкоша, както мислят за тях умиращите, които оставят всичко това. Пази се от греха и се покай за стореното още днес – тъй, както тогава би се каял. Искаш в оня ден да получиш опрощение за греховете от Бога в името на Христа? Днес се погрижи. Искаш да получиш милост от Бога тогава? Днес я търси. Ала, който иска да получи от Бога милост, престава да Го гневи и да жадува предишното си безстрашие. И само онзи успява, който престава да греши и принася плодове на покаяние. Размишлявай над това, грешна душо, и уразумей какво е казал Предтечата: “Секирата лежи вече при корена на дърветата; затова всяко дърво, което не дава добър плод, бива отсичано  и хвърляно в огъня” (Мат. 3:10). Знаеш къде отиват грешниците, непринесли плодове на покаянието: те биват отсичани като безплодни дървета от брадвата на Божия съд и хвърлени във вечния огън.