We are accustomed to being guided solely by our personal experience. We do not have the courage to speak about the struggle and the triumph over sin because it is beyond human power.
Notwithstanding this fact, we see that there is God and there is the grace of the Holy Spirit that empowers and restores every person who repents. We hear the words of St Symeon the New Theologian that genuine repentance can bring back one’s chastity.
Indeed, it’s a miracle when someone rejects the sin and goes on to subject himself to God completely. It is a miracle that can happen in everyone’s life. Currently, we see the opposite. People tend to quarrel and say mean words to each other. They offend and criticise one another. They indulge in self-pity. People just won’t admit that they are guilty before God. When we come to confess, we see a priest who is a human being like us, not Jesus Christ. We utter some words which don’t contain the treasure of repentance. In fact, repentance is a radical change — a transformation that the Lord does to us.
It would be great if we learned to stand in church and take part in worship, in the Sacraments of Christ that bring renewal to our souls. Our souls must constantly receive the aid of grace to be able to wage war against the world of sin and lures.
May God help us not to lose that droplet of the Spirit that we now have. May we preserve it till Easter. It is extremely easy to lose the Spirit. One can lose the connection with God for just a single word, a single thought, for taking offence or passing judgement. That’s terrible. We must stay awake and remain attentive: how we look, how we speak, and how we walk — it does matter. Everything must be graceful and filled with God’s Spirit. We came to church not only to look at the images of saints and enjoy them because the light of Christ shines through all the saints. We must become holy, too. We must be able to maintain in our hearts the holiness that we have partaken of and share it with our neighbours.
God bestows so much love, care, and mercy upon each one of us! We have touched the immortal Fountain of Life — the Chalice — so many times! Why are we still the leaking vessels, unable to hold that grace? Passions, despondence, desperation, and resentment besiege us, blocking our neighbours and God from our sight like walls. We must keep breaking that wall at all times. St Seraphim of Sarov would carry heavy rocks on his back and say, “I torture him who tortures me.” We must always remember that the enemy is near. We must not rely on ourselves. Instead, we should seek God’s help and God’s blessing for every moment of our lives.
Living with love means to harbour in our hearts healthy thoughts, to seek goodness and beauty all the time and to see God.
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.
The proverbial Lost Son acknowledged the depth of his fall and found the courage to return to his father. But many could find it extremely difficult to do the same.
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.
So where has our zeal for God gone? We still see our lives revolve around Christ. We still cannot imagine our world without Him. Why have we lost the ardour?
The enemy is working hard to divert us from our narrow path of salvation; he wants us to lose sight of our homeland in heaven and follow fake leaders in pursuit of a false cause. We plead for the Lord’s help all the time. We need Him every step…
The real war is going on inside us; there is a sin within us, and we are all called upon to defeat it. Let us all pray, my dear brothers and sisters, for peace to return to our lives, and for the turmoil to end. Sermon by Father Andrey Lemeshonok.
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.…