Are we in the South today better than our forefathers? Are we more righteous than they? Are we more neighborly? More generous? More pious? More humble? Do we have stronger extended families? More Christians, and more devout Christians, among us? Tend better the garden of creation? Practice a less materialistic way of living?
Or do we have pride because godless men sneeringly call us ‘the Bible Belt’? All the while we fill the cup of God’s wrath for ourselves and our children by taking into our hearts the sins of the New England Puritans - deifying the American Empire, wallowing in greed, etc. - who have done their best to destroy the culture of the Old South.
We sin more grievously than our mothers and fathers, but do not even know it.
Where are the leaders who will speak to us plainly as Gen Lee did during The War?
‘ . . . But the contest must be long and severe, and the whole country [i.e., the South-W.G.] has to go through much suffering. It is necessary we should be humbled and taught to be less boastful, less selfish, and more devoted to right and justice to all the world . . .’ (Letter of Gen Lee to his wife, Mrs Mary Lee, of 8 Feb. 1862, Capt Robert Edward Lee, Recollections and Letters of Robert E. Lee, Cosimo Classics, 2008 , p. 64; also available here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2323/2323-h/2323-h.htm#link2HCH0027, accessed 31 Jan. 2014).
And again in an order to his soldiers issued on 13 August 1863:
‘The President of the Confederate States has, in the name of the people, appointed August 21st as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer. A strict observance of the day is enjoined upon the officers and soldiers of this army. All military duties, except such as are absolutely necessary, will be suspended. The commanding officers of brigades and regiments are requested to cause divine services, suitable to the occasion, to be performed in their respective commands. Soldiers! we have sinned against Almighty God. We have forgotten His signal mercies, and have cultivated a revengeful, haughty, and boastful spirit. We have not remembered that the defenders of a just cause should be pure in His eyes; that 'our times are in His hands,' and we have relied too much on our own arms for the achievement of our independence. God is our only refuge and our strength. Let us humble ourselves before Him. Let us confess our many sins, and beseech Him to give us a higher courage, a purer patriotism, and more determined will; that He will hasten the time when war, with its sorrows and sufferings, shall cease, and that He will give us a name and place among the nations of the earth’ (Recollections, pgs. 105-6; also available here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2323/2323-h/2323-h.htm#link2HCH0029, accessed 31 Jan. 2014).
What will become of the South if we do not repent? Father Andrew tells us:
If we distance ourselves from the Creator, then we distance ourselves from the grace of God and the protection of the Holy Spirit. God does not leave us, but we leave Him. To abandon God is to be like a soldier who goes into battle without any body armour; it means inviting mortal wounds. To live our lives without God in them is to subject them to the ‘elemental’ forces of the fallen Cosmos, to the ‘elemental’ forces of fallen Nature, to the ‘elemental’ forces of fallen mankind. And what are ‘elemental’ forces? They are simply demonic forces. All ‘natural’ and ‘manmade’ catastrophes, so-called ‘acts of God’ come from this. The demons want only one thing – our suffering, for they are the source of all suffering, whether through corruption, crime, war, disease, hurricane, earthquake or flooding.
Source: http://www.events.orthodoxengland.org.uk/retribution/, published 19 Jan. 2014, accessed 31 Jan. 2014.
God, in His boundless mercy, however, has granted us this great blessing, which our forefathers had not: the presence of His Orthodox Church in our midst. Through her will come the salvation of the South (and all the world). To her, let us hearken and hasten.
Captain Robert Edward Lee, Recollections and Letters of Robert E. Lee,
: Cosimo Classics, 2008 . (Available free to download here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2323) New York, Ny