Two weeks ago, we commemorated Saint Paisios Velichkovsky. He takes the credit for reintroducing the tradition of spiritual doing in the practice of the Russian Orthodox Church. He lived at an unfortunate age when the teachings of the church fathers on spiritual life were losing influence. Fasting and church worship were becoming less meaningful and more ritualistic. Having spent many years as a spiritual disciple on Mount Athos, he established several monasteries in Moldavia, and his spiritual children became teachers of the Optina elders.
Elder Paisios returned spirituality to church life. He put in the centre stage the inner being of the person, not his visible accomplishments. We appreciate the difference that he made because the reason for our coming to God is to transform ourselves from within. We need to learn how to keep track of our thoughts and sentiments, how to question them and discuss them in our confessions.
At some point, we will all face up to eternity. But to have eternal life, we must already learn to live a full life in love and faith. We are all vulnerable to deception, illnesses and all kinds of depravity. But we are at Church. Christ is in our midst, and He will never abandon us. He is the One who gives us strength. If there is one thing we need to fear, it is stepping away from Christ and treating our human wisdom and fears as the ultimate truth. Where there is Christ, there is life.
The Church is where people gather in the name of Christ. They partake of His Body and Blood and thereby defeat the world of the flesh. Every liturgy is like a bomb blast in the darkness of Hades. It is the victory of God, the source of life. Here, Christ joined us together with His love into a single, undivided Church. In it, we are invincible. All its saints are praying for us. No matter how hard the secular world may try to divide us and put us apart, we will stay together because Christ is in our midst. "Where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them."
We all need to seek medical care when we are sick. We go to a physician to heal our bodies, and to our Doctor in Heaven to heal our immortal souls. However indispensible physicians may be on earth, our lives would become a total disaster without…
We should have a purpose to our lives, and do all we can to live up to it. Yet some lives look more like an abandoned corner of a field overgrown with weed. People seem to be living them without a sense of purpose, and some may have given up.
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.
The Mother of God is our Mother in Heaven; she intercedes for us and comes to our help throughout our lives. Her love is salvific and everlasting. Mother of all the world's children, she defeated death in her heart.
How can we change our world? To quote Saint Ignatius Bryanchaninov, do not try to shake the foundations, but be vigilant; take care of yourself, your family and kin; be an example for others, and thousands will be saved around you.
This is not the definition of humility that we’re used to. How do we tally it with the understanding of humility as “feeling inferior to others”, which is typical of so many spiritual books?
The Divine Providence is our path to the Kingdom of Heaven. A man was created for the service of love, which is the service of the angels, but the earth has torn human beings apart from Heaven and shackled them to its surface. Human beings have…
Having faith in God is not enough; you need to put your trust in Him. We should learn to see His providence in all that is happening, to see life not as a chain of coincidences but as God's unconditional participation in our destinies.