Elder Justin and the Richness of a Life Sacrificed for Christ
In the history of mankind, there are people who can change others destiny by their faith, courage, and struggle. Such man was Elder Justin Pārvu, the Abbot of Petru- Voda Monastery, in the beautiful land of Neamt-Romania. If we could grasp in few words the spiritual figure of Archimandrite Justin, we would not be mistaken to deem him a heroic confessor of Christ in times of persecution.
Many of his actions lead us to this conclusion, however the answer given by father Justin, after fulfilling 12 years of imprisonment for his faith, to those who came to reassess the inmates, is the most eloquent.
Asked what he would do after his release, Father Justin replied: “I’ll return home to continue my mission where I left it!” Unexpected response for those who believed him to be devastated by the suffering and reeducation of the communist gulag… and these courageous words have cost father four more years of imprisonment. […]
A total of 16 years of imprisonment for confessing Christ, is the unequivocal response to any pursue [of today’ world] to abandon the faith in Jesus Christ or the moral values guiding our life in Him.
The clarity of father Justin understanding of the life in Christ, came from the thought that the smallest mistake that man fails to take heed and correct, can vanish his “power” of repentance.
“We are responsible, said Father Justin, for the spiritual legacy that we leave to our future generations. Each one of us has a crucial role in the body of the Church, and by your carelessness you’ll ruin not only your soul but also the Orthodox spirit that those after you will inherit. “
Father’ period of imprisonment was excruciating, but not without spiritual fruits:
“By knowing myself, I’ve discovered the true meaning of life, its superior purpose, high above the daily routine; I’ve discovered myself standing strong or weak in the faith… like you’ll never experience in the ordinary circumstances of life.
Therefore the time we have before us, and the difficulties we face in life, is very precious. Know that the burdens that God places on our shoulders, if they’re carried wisely, with time will sanctify our soul, will clean it, lighten it and we’ll no longer entangled with the unnecessary, but we’ll pass with grace any dark obstacles…
After we had discovered God’ dispensation for us in those conditions, we were strengthen. We suffered this martyrdom with joy; we endured every injustice that by our patience and sacrifice we may expiate our sins and the sins of our nation. By the grace of God, we understood that those abject, humiliating conditions were in fact true methods of dispassion. Many prisons in those times became, in the deepest sense, factories that produced countless martyrs.
For this reason, the life of a Christian lived in freedom, could not be one of comfort and convenience”.
“Living as Orthodox means self-sacrifice, not for one minute or one day, not for a week, a month or a year, but for a lifetime – day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Many of us are Orthodox only through our baptismal certificate, while we’ve forgot to become Orthodox in the way we live and keep the right faith. “
“The role of a monk, Father Justin said, is to be a model of prayer, a burning light in the eyes of the world, a witness who sacrifices his/her life for the Truth.
The layman wants to see monastics’ holiness now and here on earth. And this cannot be faked in any way. We ought to be icons of prayer, burning with the love for God for all. Our mission here on earth is to live a holy life in the midst of so many temptations we have renounced”.
Father Justin, in his humility, was thinking that although he had not accomplished any of these duties of monasticism, had hope that God in His great mercy, will find a way to save him.
“We all shall be judged by our good or bad deeds. Death does not wipe or simplify things or deeds, or our words or our thoughts here on earth, but it complicates them, transcending them into eternity. At the last judgment there will be no cover, your actions will show who you were on earth. They will be the judges, whether you were bishop, president, official, priest, layman, officer, janitor and so on … “
Now father left the cares and infirmities of this earthly life, and moved to the place where is no pain, sorrow, or sighing.
May his memory be eternal! Amen.