by Edward Razook
A Student in the Church School, St. John of Damascus, Boston, Massachusetts


The true key to my existence is my Faith. To know my Faith, to understand my Faith, to love my Faith, and to sanction my Faith, are my responsibilities as a teenager.

To have absolute knowledge of my Orthodox Belief is my first obligation. I must know and live by the Creed, as this is my doctrine which assures me that there is only one God, Maker of Heaven and earth. I must know and live by the Ten Commandments, which every human should adhere to and practice throughout his life. I must know and live by the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you.” I must know and live by the Beatitudes, the nine rules of happiness which our Lord Jesus preached. To perceive these divine words of wisdom of the Creed, the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, and the Beatitudes is not sufficient. I must cherish them, comprehend them, and confirm them. Having the knowledge, the understanding, and love of my Faith are my weapons in upholding and defending it — if necessary — not through any act of violence, but through my sanctified convictions.

Since my early childhood days wise teachings have been injected in me so that I might attain the goal of my responsibilities. My parents, my teachers, and my reverent leaders have relentlessly guided me out of the mystic darkness and embarked me on the lighted road of my True Faith. For it is in the seeking of knowledge that we gain our wisdom, and it is in the seeking of love and understanding that we gain our Faith.

As an Orthodox teenager, the reality of life has begun to blossom.  These virtuous blossoms of life are obedience, kindness, honesty, faithfulness, and — Truth. Most of all, TRUTH — for Truth was nailed to the Cross, and although He died His truth lives on. It is my responsibility to see that these blossoms of reality live on.

Also my responsibility is observing the Fast days during Lent, observing ALL FAST days throughout the year, and remembering that our Lord — Jesus Christ — sacrificed Himself on the Cross for us and for our salvation, and that He shall come again to judge the quick and the dead.

Further, my responsibility is serving my pious priest at the sacred altar as he devotedly delivers the Holy Oblations to our Almighty God. My most solemn duty is to humbly receive the blessed sacraments of the Church, to accept them and to guard them as my treasures so that my mind, my body, and my soul shall be enriched with righteousness.

Another unspoken responsibility of mine is to faithfully carry out all my duties so that I consciously motivate the younger Orthodox children to achieve their obligations.

Yes, these are my modest responsibilities as a teenager to my Faith, but to me they are glorious privileges.

Knowing my Faith gives me understanding.

Understanding my Faith gives me love.

Loving my Faith gives me strength and security.

This undaunted security of my Faith is the pure and invincible formula to an honest and unselfish existence.

From Word Magazine
Publication of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
October 1966
p. 19