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."
Life in the spirit and the soul begins with one's acceptance of one's neighbour and achieving inner peace. Spiritual life is about simplicity. The first thing that our Saviour and John the Baptist preached to the people was repentance.
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.
We all understand that it is very important to have an inner life, but sometimes this inner life can be rather poor, and then even external efforts produce results. When in difficult times a person constrains himself for Christ’s sake, God will…
We do not exist solely to achieve some worldly goals; we live to please God! It means to be His servants, to do His will; to wish and act in the same way as He would. Sermon by priest Valery Zakharov.
Let us all be conscious and worthy of the honour to be called Orthodox Christians... and seek peace within ourselves, so thousands will be saved around us.
The world is jealous. One finds God and begins to hold little value in its treasures – money, wealth, power, pride and much else. But the world will go to any length to keep us from abandoning its treasures for the love of God.
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.