Whenever Elder Paisios of the Holy Mount received a layman, he always began the meeting by repenting the visitor's sins as if they were his own. Nowadays, people seem to have different habits. They prefer to shun responsibility and blame others. They ascribe their problems to their adverse circumstances or the ill will of other people, or they attribute their children's poor behaviour to the influence of the street.
Only by learning to accept responsibility for our sins and take the blame for the sins of others can we hope to find the grace of the Holy Spirit. But by denying responsibility and shifting the blame on others, we stand no chance. We may continue to go to church and partake of the sacraments, but that will change little. The absence of the Holy Spirit will fill our lives with sadness.
When we go to Church and trust our Lord, we have no reason to complain. So let us live as Christians and thank the Lord in our prayers.
Priest Rodion Alkhovik
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.
So what kind of fasting should we aim for if we want to please God and benefit our spirits? There is no need to muse too much over these questions - today's Gospel readings give us the idea.
To grow up spiritually is to develop the habit of spiritual life. You start small but practise every day. We all took the Holy Communion today. To remain with Christ, we must all take communion at every Liturgy.
The Feast of the Ascension is past us, and the day the Holy Trinity is fast approaching. With the Lord, we have the plenitude of life, wherever we find ourselves - in a hospital ward, in a prison jail or in any other inhospitable location.
Spiritually, we are still as immature as little children; we are not prepared to face serious hardships and trials, so let us all be thankful to God for understanding our weakness and for his mercy on us sinners.
Living in God gives us the freedom to be ourselves. So let us throw off our masks by becoming more genuine and sincere. Let us own up to our weaknesses and admit our need for transformation.
Let the Christians rejoice, even though few people want to talk about the joy and are preoccupied instead by the troubles and misfortunes of the world. Christ has overcome this world, and we are going His way to the Kingdom of Heaven.