Quite soon the two brothers remembered the duty, which they had towards the Creator and Ruler of the world.
Taught by their parents the respect and the worship towards God, immediately as they made the first progress at their professions, they rushed to fulfill with their duty of gratitude and to offer the sacrifice of their subjection and their submission towards God.
A brilliant teaching for all of us, for the parents and for the children. Teach, oh father, your children how to fear God. Instruct them, oh mother, how to respect God and raise them «in the culture and the order of the Lord».
So that the day after tomorrow when they will grow and dedicate themselves to their professions, when they will begin to earn money and to prosper, it will not be their first occupation the merrymaking and the amusement and the prodigality with the naughty friends, but instead to be the manifestation of their gratitude and their thanksgiving towards God.
Let them not ever inebriate from the successes in the practice of their profession, but to remember, that God was the cause of their progress. He gives them the wealth, in order for them to make good use of it. And it is Him therefore that they must thank before anyone else, offering to Him and to benevolent causes a part of their surplus.
And pay attention, my reader. The Scripture does not say «it happened after months or after weeks». But what does it say? «And it occured after days that Cain brought from the fruits of the earth as sacrifice to the Lord».
Cain with all the perversion and malice that he afterwards shows, he doesn't let pass weeks and months, but immediately as his field gave him the first fruits, «within days» only, he offered sacrifice to the Lord.
And so you are tought even by the example of a murderer, who afterwards painted his hands with the fraternal blood, that you most basic and most important duty of yours which you must execute even before you get the chance to eat and become satiated, an even more important duty than the duties that you have towards yourself, is the duty of God's worship.
This duty they are performing quite soon the two children of Adam, immediately after the field gives to the first one the first fruits, before he even had the chance to store them for his needs of maintaining himself, and immediately as the sheep give to the other one the first little lambs, even before he had the chance to roast any of them in order to eat together with his parents and with his brother. And they offered sacrifice.
And certainly God did not have any need for the fruits of the earth, that Cain offers to Him, nor for the slaughtered animals, which totally burns over the sanctuary Abel.
But these sacrifices however they must have been an external manifestation of the gratitude, that they owned the two children of Adam towards God; an apparent sign of their submission towards Him; an evidence, which could have seen all eyes, that they recognized God as their Lord and Ruler, to Whom they were debtors for every good, they had in life.
Only therefore as long as these external sacrifices manifested their internal predisposition, that we described, only then they were agreeable and acceptable to God.
And this is, my reader, the true worship of God. To say it the heart first, and then the lips. To exist the feeling of love, of submission, of fear, of devotion towards God.
This feeling must exist extensively, abundant, affluent and to inundate everything. To exist in surplus and to overflow externally and to be revealed also with external acts. It is then that has value the worship of God. Otherwise it ends up in dry and fruitless type.
You might fast; you might perform large signs of the cross and low bows of repentance; you might offer gifts and sacrifices in the temples, you might light up heavy and very tall candles; you might stay up praying.
All these do not have absolutely no value, if also inside the depths of your heart do not overflow the feeling of the humility, of the piety, of the fear of God, of the true love of God and of the neighbor.
The two children of Adam are offering sacrifice. And thus therefore, my brother, the worship towards God is something, that the people are practicing since the epoch that they appeared on earth. It is as much ancient the worship towards God, as much ancient is man also.
Adam, the first man, taught his children how to worship God. And they at once as they became capable to offer Him a sacrifice from their toils and from their sweat, they offered it to Him.
They seemed good from a first point of view both sacrifices that they offered to God the two children of Adam.
And their father Adam, who must have been present and must have had the honoured seat, indeed, near there to the altar, when the sacrifice was offered, he must have found both sacrifices to be good and, as it seems, no comment to no one of his sons he must have not made.
Adam was seeing the external view. He could not ever penetrate to the depths of the heart of Cain in order to see, what kind of feelings existed there. But God however does not see the same way the man sees. Because the man «sees at the face, while God looks at the heart».
The man sees the outside; as much as they can be seen the things from the outside. God however can see at the depth of things; He reads the hearts of the people; they do not escape from Him the secrets of them.
Also now therefore He sees the secret dispositions of the heart of Cain. And because, as we were saying, the superficial worship has no value at all, when it is not accompanied also from the internal pure and sincere disposition of the soul, God rejects the sacrifice of Cain. He rejects it and does not accept it, while He accepts the sacrifice of the benevolent and fair Abel.
«And the Lord respected, says the Holy Scripture, upon Abel and his offering, but upon Cain and his offering He did not respect».
Through fire, which came from above and totally burned the offering of Abel, God made apparent His pleasure for this sacrifice, while to the sacrifice of Cain He didn't pay attention at all. Why? Because beforehand God saw the hearts of the brothers. And He found the heart of Cain inpure and cunning.
The moment that divided and separated each one of these two the sacrifice that he would offer, various secret thoughts and decisions rose up in their hearts. God saw them, heard them, recognized them. And from that moment His decision had been issued.
What did he think and how was Cain different? He didn't think, that everything, that he had and enjoyed, was given to him by God.
He didn't think, that the rain, that irrigated his field, the earth and the soil, where they sprouted his fruits, the sun, that seasoned and made mature these fruits, the nice and favorable weather, without which they would be completely destroyed his crops, all these were given by God.
God had even given him his own life and health and strength in order to work and cultivate the earth. And since therefore He had given him everything, He also determined everything. He was the Lord and the Ruler of all. And He therefore had the right not only for a mere sacrifice, but He had right over everything that Cain had, even also over Cain's own life.
All these things Cain does not feel them. And he doesn't do, what a foreman does, when his boss comes to visit his farm and to savor from its fruits.
That is, he doesn't select with diligence the best and more exquisite fruits in order to offer them to his master, to God. But instead, he takes casually, perhaps indeed also with certain stinginess, perhaps also with certain fear lest it would fall short your harvest and they don't remain for himself either enough fruits for his own subsistence.
He tries any which way to deal with the occasion, and once their father had told them that the sacrifice must be offered, to have it done in any which way and by using any random fruits. And thus, Cain is offering a sacrifice but he doesn't have in his heart the pertinent and owing gratitude to God.
Everything that he acts, is only external. He offers a sacrifice, but he hides within his heart other emotions. He offers a sacrifice, but he doesn't choose well and with righteous feelings the thing that he offers.
And the fact that he actually offers, he is doing it right, but he doesn't select well what he offers. And for this reason he is being disapproved, because God does not accept such sacrifice.
Abel however is a different man. He feels what he must feel. He chooses with true gratitude towards God. He chooses like that good shepherd who selects the best lamb of the sheepfold in order to take good care his master, when he comes to visit his sheeps.
And he selects for the sacrifice, that he is about to offer, the best and the most well breed lambs of his flock. Not from the feeble and weak, but from the hefty and well bred.
Not from the small ones and from those that, like them, he had also many others, but from the most robust and from those that they wouldn't remain to him other similar. This way he would reveal the warm, the vivid, the arding gratitude, that he feels for God.
And after that, how was it possible for God not to be pleased to the sacrifice of Abel and to not accept it?
When you see, that it was disapproved and renounced by God the sacrifice of Cain, it might comes to your mind, my reader, what kind of sacrifice you must offer to God and with what disposition and with what feelings you must offer them in order not to be disapproved you too, like Cain, but instead to become agreeable and acceptable, like Abel.
And for this question of yours we come now to talk with a few words, before we go ahead to the blood tainted story of these two brothers.
You must know, and you undoubtedly know it, my brother, that since the epoch that Christ offered Himself as sacrifice on the Cross for our sins, He doesn't ask anymore God from us sheeps and lambs and fruits of the earth in order to burn them on the stone made altars as adoration to Him and worship.
He asks something else however much more serious and important. He asks everything that we have even including the very life of our own, the whole of ourselves, with everything that we own, for us to be prepared in any given moment and in any given hour to sacrifice them in whatever way the occasion requires for the glory of His name and for the benefit of our neighbour.
This is what He asks from you and from me the Lord, my reader. What do you say? Have you taken this decision and, if the Lord asks for it, are you prepared everything for Him to sacrifice?
Yes, He doesn't ask us to wholly burn anyone of our animals or of our properties. He asks us however to have deep and vivid the consciousness, that everything that we have are His. And even our own selves «we do not belong to ourselves», we do not belong nor we determine ourselves.
And when God comes therefore through the circumstances to take away from us something, which we consider valuable for us, when for example He sends death to steal from our arms some beloved to us person, let us be prepared to surrender to His will.
This is the sacrifice, which the Lord asks from us in that occasion, but the possession which we are deprived from or the person, from whom we are split, is the victim, which with so much willingness we must offer on the altar of God aiming to God's glory.
How do you think and what do you feel, my Christian? In one such occasion you will abide without resistance to the will of God, as Abraham abided, when God asked him to sacrifice his beloved child?
Will you humbly say «Thy will be done»? Or will you groan against God and you will blaspheme thinking, that He tyrannizes you and tortures you? Alas then! What dreadful and terrible evil awaits you!
Indeed; God does not ask from you to offer Him the blood of animals and the smell of meat burning of slaughtered animals. He asks you to offer Him your heart. Your heart full of consciousness and repentance, full of faith and gratitude and love towards Him.
He asks for your will to be disciplined and to obey to Him. He asks you a living sacrifice. That is, a sacrifice in which while your body is alive, nevertheless with all of its members to be dying and to be withering every day and every moment.
That is, to die as long as sin is concerned and to live while pursuing the virtue. All your bad habits, all your hidden passions He asks you with a sharp knife, with the knife of an iron and of a rigid determination, once and for all to deaden them on the altar of the divine will.
And your hand, and your eye, and your ear, and your tongue, and your body and every body part of yours you should be prepared rather to kill it and to cut it off with a sharp knife instead of using it as an instrument for the sin and the evil.
And thus, it should be dead your whole body for the sin. To not be moving at all and in the slightest way for the sin, as it is completelly immobile also the body of a dead man.
On the contrary it should be full of movement and action and life, tireless and always willing, when it is about to work for the virtue and for the good.
Yes, my brother, this is the living sacrifice, as he mentions it the apostle Paul in the «to the Romans» epistle of his; the agreeable sacrifice, the logical worship, which with our bodies the Apostle invites us to offer to God.
If you feel, that you are weak and the sinful passions defeat you, resort to Him through praying. Ask Him for the help, the reinforcement, the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Ask Him for yourself, for your friends, for your relatives, for your acquaintances, and for me the one who writes these very lines, my brother.
And the Holy Spirit is capable and powerful to bless us as soon, as we also offer ourselves as a living sacrifice and logical and agreeable to the Celestial God and Father. Amen.
As it was expected, after God rejected and didn't accept the sacrifice of Cain, that miserable «was very sorry». He got very sad. «And it fell his countenance». Which means that he sulked and he frowned and he dropped his face.
He got sad. I wish this sadness were sadness that leads to repentance and correction. I wish this sadness would bring forth in the soul of Cain the humility and the decision to offer another sacrifice, as God wanted it.
Unfortunately however his sadness is sadness of pride. It is the resentment and the bitterness, which is born in the soul of the egoist person, when it gets offended his egoism.
It is a kind of anger and uprising illogical of course and foolish, which however is justifying in the soul of the egoist the darkness, that causes in him his egoism and his cruelty.
The logical and the correct would be for Cain to be humbled, to confess his sin and to look for his correction. But he instead is sad and becomes angry and frowns.
Let us psychoanalyze a little the sadness and the anger and the frowning in the face of Cain, in order to see what do they reveal and what meaning all these things have.
Cain is sad. He is sad, because God did not accept his sacrifice. And he doesn't seek mercy for himself because of that. Because, if he was seeking mercy, he would certainly humble himself and he would correct himself.
Cain justifies himself. And his sadness therefore disguises an unfair complaint and an illogical one against God, Who rejected his sacrifice.
As if God was not fair to him. As if He was partial in favor of Abel. As if God was not impersonal and fair.
Instead, therefore, to turn around and get angry against himself Cain deeply conscious, that he has not been sincere and truly faithful in his sacrifice, he turns against God.
And while God is trying to correct him and to bring him into repentance, he gets indignant and worsens his position.
His egoism does not let him see his error and while God tries, with what He did to him, to discipline him for his salvation, he instead falls into deeper darkness.
Ah! poor me. How many times, lips and an honest tongue, while speaking the truth, which indicated to me my defects for my correction and salvation, I have despised; and instead of me crashing into repentance, I felt very sorry and it fell my countenance, as once also happened with Cain!
And how many times instead of turning against myself for these defects of mine, I turned against the people who out of love they disciplined me, as if they were not persons with special interest for me, and sincerely loving me, as if they were my enemies, who treated me unfairly and pressured me!
Ah, cursed egoism! How are you blinding and obscuring our mind, into not being able to distinguish the truth and becoming enlightened from its life giving rays into salvation.
But the sadness of Cain is also directed against Abel. As it becomes evident from these events that happened next, Cain envies and hates his brother Abel. And he hates him, while not existing any reason and any occasion.
Because Abel did not make any insult to his brother, whom in fact as he was older he must have particularly respected and honored him. He must have never reviled at him, nor dishonor him, nor provoke him in any way, so that he would become his enemy and his rival.
Once however that the effect of the envy and of the jealousy entered in the heart of Cain, it disrupted everything and turned everything upside down. Cain cannot tolerate his younger brother to be agreeable to God more then himself.
And although it entirely depends on Cain to enter again to the straight path of virtue through repentance, he prefers instead to take the cliff and the downhill path of wickedness. He envies and hates his brother and after a while that envy will lead him to a terrible act and criminal, the murder.
He hates his brother, because his egoism which is hurt presents it to him, as if he is humiliated him, the elder brother in front of the younger and minor, as if he is inferior. And this he cannot accept; it is impossible for him to endure it. And for this he gets angry against Abel and hates him.
And thus, my reader, it enters in the heart of Cain the bitter seed of the sin, which immediately begins to grow. A kind of pregnancy is taking place inside his soul.
How easy would it be in the beginning for Cain to prevent it or even after it entered to fight and to avoid this great evil, that is about to happen!
But he doesn't want. And so, little by little, this hate and this anger and this envy, that Cain is hosting in his heart, will bring forth after a while a terrible and dreadful and horrible act, which will evoke for the ages to come the horror and the aversion of all the generations on earth.
There is still time to be prevented this great evil, that is about to be born out of the envy and the hate of Cain against his brother Abel.
And God, Who is a benevolent Father and does not tolerate to see His children to run straight to the cliff and to the abyss of destruction, He tries to save Cain from the chaos of hell, into which he is going to fall on his own fault, blinded and obscured for his egoism and his envy.
And the benevolent God is discussing with the cunning and perverted Cain. He is discussing and He advices him, as the affectionate father advices his child, as the friend is discussing with his friend, as the benevolent teacher is teaching his disciple.
Truly benevolent and forbearing is our God. Behold, my brother, with whom He condescends to discuss and for what kind of filthy and deplorable and dark case He is discussing. It's not just that He is discussing the Great and Almighty God with a measly and weak human, the Lord of everything with the worm of the earth.
He is discussing, the holy and benevolent God with the so much perverted and wicked and sinister Cain; with a criminal who in a while he is about to kill his own brother. And He precisely discusses about these criminal thoughts and predispositions, which will lead him to the terrible crime, about which the whole world will shudder.
He is discussing. He doesn't get angry. He doesn't threaten him. He doesn't intimidate him. He is trying to persuade him, that he is not thinking well and that he is not right to be sad and to be angry.
«What for have you become sad? And what for it has darkened you face?», says God to Cain. «Isn't it true that when you offer, as you should, but you do not select well what you offer, then you sin? Calm down; to you Abel will always come for support and you should rule over him».
Why, He says to him, have you become gloomy and great sadness has taken over you face? Why have you dropped your face and you have become cloudy? You have no right to complain against Me, because I didn't accept your sacrifice.
Because I ask you this: Don't you sin, when you offer, on one hand, the sacrifice in a good way, but before that you haven't separated well and with an honest disposition of true gratitude and devotion the thing that you offer as sacrifice?
Separate well, select, as he selected your brother Abel, the very best of your products and then you will see that I will accept you sacrifice.
Nevertheless, whatever happened happened. «Calm down». Why are you upset against your brother? Calm down. He's not to blame for anything this poor one.
«To you he will always come for support but you should rule over him». He always will recognize you as being older than him; he will respect you and will honor you as minor and younger that he is. And you shall be the lord and commander for him.
This is what God says to Cain, my reader, trying to prevent the great wickedness, that is about to happen.
And you can see very clearly, my brother, that indeed God does not want the death of the sinner. He is sorry like an affectionate father, when He sees us to run unstoppable towards the sin and tries in any possible way to prevent our disaster.
And if the devil is working by all means in order to lure us into wickedness, do not doubt that God also is incessantly working and much more than devil in order to save us.
And observe with how much patience, and with how much tolerance, and how much condescension is speaking the fair and saint God to the so greatly aberrant Cain.
The mother, when her child is to blame for something, it's not difficult even to curse him. The friend, when his friend insults him, it is to be expected from him to respond with bitter words. The married couple is not difficult even to a violent fight to enter.
Cain here blasphemes against the great God. He believes Him to be unfair, he complaints against Him, and God speaks to him with the greatest sweetness, without getting angry, without detesting against him.
This is a great solace for all the sinners. No matter how bad you are, oh Cain even if you are bad in the intention and also in the predisposition, God wants you, He is interested in you, he doesn't want your destruction. Pay attention. God does not get angry against you. God is forbearing.
And only when you reach on your own with your refusal to repent and your persistence to the final limit of wickedness, only when you finally end up being impossible to correct, then alas!
God will abandon you and will become angry with you, because you on your own you have angered to yourself. You wanted it and so it happened. Who is to blame?
The benevolent God talks to Cain. He also talks to you and to me and to all of us in general, my brother, when we violate His will and we are in danger from one transgression to the other getting carried away to end up to catastrophe.
He talks to us with the words of the Holy Scripture. He also talks to us through a voice, that He Himself placed at the depths of our soul a voice which is called conscience. For this reason be careful to these voices to never scorn them.
Cain didn't pay attention to God's guidance and advice, and behold where he ended up afterwards! Bad and disastrous it will be our decline too and our end, if we close our ears to the words of God and to the control of our conscience and we do not align to its appeals.
Alas! The time will come that this voice will be silenced and us, having become tough and hard to change our minds we will be capable even the worst crimes to commit. Oh Lord, Lord, save us from one such abandonment.
God doesn't expect from Cain to reveal to Him what is going on in his soul. God knows it. Cain seems disturbed and sorrowful.
What is he thinking, what does he feel, what does he conceive inside him nobody knows, nor anyone can distinguish it. He knows it however and He distinguishes it God. What can be hidden from His eye? And what exist that is not apparent in front of Him?
Not even a movement of indignantion of the soul remains secret; not even a sting of envy even a thin and imperceptible one; not even a desire of the heart deep and concealed. All is apparent in front of Him and for everything He will ask us someday, as He is asking now to Cain also.
He shall ask us for everything. And if ourselves we have not anticipated through the bath of repentance to clean ourselves, during that terrible jugdement day, when He will question us asking for the reason of our actions our God, we will find ourselves in a much more difficult position than that, in which Cain was found now.
Because finally Cain still had the time, if he wanted, to repent and to be corrected. And exactly for this He calls him and He discusses with him God, in order to amend him and save him.
While for us now there is not no hope for salvation, and none of mercy and of pity refuge, if we do not manage in time already from here to be corrected.
Also you see here, my reader, that with a few words God indicates to Cain, that he had no right and no reason to be sad and to be angry.
And it's go big his wrong, that Cain himself does not open his mouth to respond not even a single word. He finds himself outargued and remains with the moutn shut, mute and speechless, because he cannot find, and it neither exists in order to be found, any excuse.
First of all, that most of the times that I get angry and I get enraged and I resent against the neighbor, for not saying all the times, I am wrong;
and if I contemplate in a somewhat dispassionate manner and deeper, I will find out that it doesn't exist no reason for me to be angry and that on the contrary there are many reasons, that must persuade me to remain unperturbed and peaceful.
Just take a look here to a whole mountain of distress and bitterness that has piled up in the heart of miserable Cain. Without any reason and without any cause.
And he is sad and he is worried the poor man and he decides after a while to commit the crime and the wrongdoing for nothing, in a occasion in fact that he could through the repentance to become himself as well to someone agreeable to God and to a friend of God.
Thus by one word alone, about which, if someone would listen it apathetically, he should rather laugh, married couples are separating, friends fighting to each other, relatives enter into violent conflicts, and many other things happen and great disproportionate things from insignificant causes and trivial ones.
And even in between jokes and friendly treatments just one look, one careless act can produce a misunderstanding, that could lead to a real bloodshed. Such we have become by the sin, my brother, so stupid, so foolish, so much captives and slaves of it.
When God judges and interrogates the man, the man remains mute. God is so much righteous, they are so correct His decisions, that the man cannot find something with which to accuse or deny from what God is saying.
God will accuse us for that thing, about which we are guilty. Our culpability we well know it ourselves. If we want to hide in front of Him, we will not be able to do it.
To deceive Him, it's not possible, but neither it's possible to take the courage to even try it. To justify ourselves, again it would be impossible, because the fair Judge will prove us to be unjustifiables.
And thus we shall bow the head down tarnished and totally ashamed, without being able to utter not even a word. What terrible hour and what horrible moments then, my brothers! What a dreadful court and what Judge unbridable and implacable!
But behold; that we might find a lawyer, that will defend us and will prove us innocent over there. It's only enough that we become friends with Him already in this present life, so that in that very moment that we shall find ourselves in front of that judgement the terrible one He shall recognize us as His own.
He is Jesus Christ. Let us all come nearer to Him with faith, with devotion, with obedience and certainly then instead of the horror to experience joy and instead of the shame to experience jubilation.
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