The Apostle Peter had been fishing all night and had not caught anything. However, when the Saviour told him to cast the net again, he obeyed, and he pulled out more fish than he could carry. Such is our life: we do something, we sweat, we are nervous, we worry and we get nothing in return. However, as soon as we have God's blessing, everything assumes its rightful place.
The motto of an unbeliever's life is "you and me". That is, we want to say something, do something, help someone, change something and interact in the following way: you do for me, and therefore, I do for you. Meanwhile, the motto of our life should be "Do everything through God". That is, you should really let God into your life.
I want to say something to a person, but I don't know if he will accept my message. I do not address him directly because I do not know how. I appeal to God and ask Him to grant me insight and to bless me, and I ask God to make me wise enough not to offend that person but to make sure that my words are beneficial rather than detrimental. We do a lot of things without consideration. We hope that if we hit the person on the head with our words it will help, but in fact, we have no effect or even a negative one. Therefore, it is very important to turn to God even in the most obvious cases. He is looking down on us from above, and He knows the consequences. So, we should ask God to make our actions and words yield positive results. It is very important to remember that if we do it on our own, we will be fishing all night. We will be building something all our lives, but we will not get anything done. Everything will fall apart, both the individual and the family and everything around us, because we do not have God in our lives. We do not have God's blessing.
This is not a theory. This is what happens in our lives when we introduce God into our lives in the most hopeless and unclear moments and ask him or his saints... This is what I often recommend when I am told that a person could be convicted of a crime unfairly, to mention just one example. Who knows if it is fair or not? That is why I say, Go to Saint Nicholas. He will intercede for you. However, you have to learn to pray to follow this advice. That is the little "but. If we don't know how to pray, we will not be able to address anyone. You and I need to change our lives before we can get down to pray. We have to change everything and not just a little bit of our lives (as in "I started praying every day, and that is all it takes").
Of course, that is a problem, too, but it is doable. Slow and steady wins the race. You start small and end up big. However, don't leave anything small behind. If we regularly partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, then the love of God will penetrate into every heart, even the toughest one, and purify every mind, even the ones that are cluttered and tangled with sin. Still, one should take Communion regularly. One has a period of enthusiasm when one feels invigorated and does not seem to have any problems. At times, however, you have some troubles, complications and adverse circumstances, and it knocks you off your feet. You crawl into your shell, start imagining something that isn't true, feeling offended, grudging and losing your connection to God. The road to church for you becomes the way of the cross, which is very narrow and painstaking. It is a path of a soul that lacks the grace of a soul that is filled with void, despair, and mistrust. Imagine a person who used to rely on someone who then betrayed him. He went on to rely on someone else, but that person turned out to be untrustworthy, too. He tried to have trust in yet another person, but he was betrayed again. That person will inevitably tend to think that there is not anyone he can trust, but that is wrong! I saw a person who seemed as beautiful as a love song. I trusted him and relied on him. Well, he was a wonderful human being at that time; I can vouch for it. However, then, suddenly, that person let me down. Was I wrong about him all that time? No, I was not. The thing is that each of us has two different personalities living inside us. In spite of our taking Communion, sin still persists in each one of us. As soon as you threaten someone else's self-esteem, as soon as you threaten someone else's interests, as soon as you don't pay your employee half of his or her wages, that person will immediately become cool towards you even if he or she used to be a very gentle person. That is our today's love. It is made-in-China or love-for-sale. Now, we need it to be not for sale. Even if we get laid off, we should say, "A boss is a good man anyway". If a husband slaps his wife, she should say, "Well, I deserved it; I had it coming. I made him do it". Then, they would have different relationships that are more authentic. However, with us, it's like: Come on, just touch me. I'll show you, and you'll remember the lesson for the rest of your life!
Because of our bad relationships, we torment ourselves and our loved ones. It is because of the mess in our heads. It is time to grow up. We partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, and it is time to be wise. What does the Lord say to us about the way we should live? A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another (John 13:34). . . . learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29).In everything, give thanks (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Appreciate everything that you have and thank God for it, and you will live in paradise here because you will be with God, and in God, there are no problems or issues. God has all the answers.
There are disabled children who come to us, and they make a little noise. You know what? The Divine Liturgy without them is no longer a Liturgy. We stand in the sanctuary with Father Boris, and we hear that it is suspiciously quiet and that something is missing. It is those sick children whom we miss. They are the ones who pray the most here because they have more of God's grace in them. In fact, we are much more handicapped than these children. We consider ourselves healthy, and this is silly as well. There are many other things that we have learned incorrectly from birth because the world taught us so. Now, we have to re-educate ourselves. Now we have to learn to live differently. Unfortunately, we are too lazy and say, "No, I already know everything..."I don't know anything! So let us thank God.
Glory to you, God. Glory to you, God. Glory to you, God.
At some point in our lives, we will find God’s grace and make steady progress in our spiritual and worldly lives. Our hearts will rejoice. Hope and faith will dwell in them, and there will be no room for despair.
On the 21st of July, the Orthodox Church celebrates the feast day of one of the most revered icons of the Mother of God in Russia - Our Lady of Kazan. This sermon was filmed in 2019 after the Divine Liturgy on the day of the feast.
Along the way, we must defeat our old selves. We must survive their demise and give up our lives to Christ. Are we ready?
More likely than not, we will not see our situation in the same way as the Prodigal Son did. Perhaps our path towards holiness should start with an exercise in introspection.
We can fight off the virus by wearing a mask and keeping our distance, but to keep at bay the spirit of hostility is much harder, as it attacks us from afar.
We have two windows on the world - our minds and our hearts. Our eyes and ears tend to see or hear what we want them to. Therefore, we are all learning to pray so we can connect our minds with our hearts.
During the Great Lent, we abstain from certain foods and entertainments, but this fasting is not limited to abstinence; we aim at the the restoration of our inner peace.
As Christians, we know that there are many people tonight who need our prayers because, sadly, they cannot pray for themselves. So we will spend this night standing at the Divine Liturgy, praying for the secular and Christian worlds together.…