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Render Unto Caesar

[Tit. 1:15–2:10; Luke 20:19–26] Ren­der there­fore unto Cae­sar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s. This means that each gets what is his own. In our times, instead of “the things which be Caesar’s” we should say, “the things which are earth­ly.” Also, earth­ly things have their turn, while God­ly things have theirs. But every­one has rushed toward earth­ly things alone, and they leave the God­ly things behind. That is why God­ly things not only are left out of their prop­er place — that is, the first pri­or­i­ty — but are com­plete­ly for­got­ten. A con­se­quence of this as if unin­ten­tion­al for­get­ful­ness is that the God­ly is dark­ened over in one’s con­scious­ness, and then both its con­tent and foun­da­tion become un­ clear. From this come weak­ness of con­vic­tion and unsteadi­ness of faith; and then alien­ation from faith, and influ­ence of the winds of var­i­ous of teach­ings. Every­one goes down this path when they begin to be care­less about God­ly things; soci­ ety takes this path when it begins to ignore what God requires of it. When God­ly things are left in the back­ground, then eman­ci­pa­tion from God­ly require­ments begins to set into soci­ety, in the intel­lec­tu­al, moral and aes­thet­ic sense. Seculari­ zation (serv­ing the spir­it of the time) occurs of pol­i­tics, cus­toms, en­ ter­tain­ment, and then of edu­ca­tion and all insti­tu­tions. At the cur­rent time, peo­ple do not think, speak, write or even keep God­ly things in mind — not in any of their under­ tak­ings. Is it sur­pris­ing, giv­en such a mood, that teach­ings con­trary to the faith find access to soci­ety and that soci­ety is inclined toward total un­ belief?

Saint Theo­phan