Only now am I beginning to realise that my life in Christ is just beginning. Before, it was finding grace and losing it. When I found grace, I was joyful. I had the energy to pray to God and please Him. When I lost it, I protested and felt discouraged. Yet spiritual life should be different, more even and thoughtful. It takes spiritual growth, which we all need.
Now some might read something from a book on Christianity and think to themselves, "I did not sleep or eat today. I must be ready for everlasting life." But demons do not eat, either! Nor do they sleep. People need to sleep! Others might decide, "From this moment, I will pray and fast day and night!" Good idea. But how long will this zeal last? And what if you break at some point and stop the practice of faith altogether?
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, we must accept the Body and Blood of Christ in ourselves. We come to the church to be one with God. We need to be in conversation and have a spiritual connection with Him all the time, but we also need to take His body and His blood.
The Gospel tells us: "For He who endures, he shall be saved." Our will to endure and follow Christ's way to the end without diverting from it is also essential to our growth. We all remember the enemy's ploy to deceive the Prodigal Son. He feigned sympathy with the son. He said how hard it must be to spend all his life working from dawn to dusk with no parties and no big money to be made. But there is a different life waiting for him in a distant country.
In monasticism, taking tonsure means the death of our sensuous selves. How can someone who had come to church wounded, struck, numb and blinded by the burden of their sins turn suddenly become a saint tomorrow? The way to sainthood is long and difficult; it takes hard work for the sake of one's immortal soul. To become temples of the Holy Spirit; to return to the fold our the Father and remain there unhesitatingly, we also need to work all the time. The father met his Prodigal Son with joy and arranged a feast; but after the feast is over, the Son will have to work hard. We all need to attune ourselves to the proper understanding of our Christian life.
My warmest greetings to you, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on taking your communion this Sunday. Let us celebrate the love in our hearts, and keep it there. May the Lord strengthen your endurance to follow Him. May God save and protect all of us!
Today, we commemorate the Icon of the Holy Theotokos "Joy of All Who Sorrow". It sends us a powerful message: joys and sorrows are two sides of the same coin.
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.
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.
Apostle Paul gives an apt description of the inner struggle that many of us will have experienced: "For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do I do". These words are very true, but in reality, our dilemma lies even deeper.
Last Sunday, we celebrated the feast of Archangel Michael and his army of angels. It is composed of his loyal warriors, and our guardian angels are among them. They accompany all our lives from baptism, interceding for us before our Lord.
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?
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…