Saint Seraphim of Sarov
The memory of some of God’s men lives on with us for centuries and shows the direction to many generations onwards. The Venerable Seraphim stands out among such men: after many years, his legacy is not fading, and he continues to be a lamp that brings the bright light of God into our lives. His life was an outstanding example of sincere and heartfelt prayer, self-denial, asceticism, and other Christian virtues. It continues to inspire all of us to persevere in our efforts – however modest at times– to perfect ourselves as persons, to grow in our faith, and ultimately, to secure the salvation of our tormented souls.
I still have fond and vivid memories of the days when the first edition of St. Seraphim’s conversations with Motovilov appeared in my native Brazil. Brazil is the world’s largest Roman Catholic country with a very small presence of Orthodox Christianity. It was the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, and Orthodox religious literature and works were extremely scarce. Their translations into Portuguese were almost non-existent. Seraphim of Sarov’s conversations appeared to us like a long-awaited bright star on our spiritual horizon. I was a child back then, but I still recall the excitement, enthusiasm and great inspiration with which this work was received. My parents were reading it, so was our Batushka, the other clerics, and the laity. All were impressed by the simplicity and great love that his writings conveyed, and took heart in his spiritual advice. I began to read his works too and continued to do so as a monastic. I have felt his presence in my life ever since, and I am deeply grateful to him for his wisdom.
Saint Seraphim has inspired many by showing them a direction for their life in Christ – acquiring the Holy Spirit and letting it enter their hearts. He demonstrated with his entire life that this was not only possible but also within reach. He taught that everything we do for Christ was the gift of the Holy Spirit, of which prayer was the most readily available. His prayers undoubtedly have given meaning to life in Christ for many a searching soul. He explained simply and lucidly how unity with the Holy Spirit could be achieved: “acquire inner peace and a thousand around you will be saved”. Finding inner peace, however, demanded great inner vigilance and self-sacrifice.
The wisdom of Saint Seraphim of Sarov enlightened the souls of many Orthodox believers, but also the followers of other Christian faiths. Today, we glorify with great spiritual awe and affection the memory of Saint Seraphim of Sarov and pay tribute to his angelic life, which showed to many the path towards salvation. May his inner light shine on for all of us and show us the way forward.
Venerable Batushka Seraphim, pray to God for us. Amen!
On this feast of Saint Seraphim, if you would like to send a prayer intention, you can do so by clicking on this link. The community of Saint Elisabeth would be delighted to pray for you during our liturgies.
Sister Anastasia of St Elisabeth Convent tells a story of a miracle performed by St John of Shanghai and San Francisco that she not only witnessed but was also involved with.