We have a great challenge and a duty to ourselves - never to lose sight of God. The Lord is surely not going to lose sight of us - even when we attempt to run away from Him and go into hiding. I have tried this myself at one point in my younger years. He did not let me go. He held me like a parent would hold a rebellious child. I was crying, "I want out! Let me go! I want to live my own life!" But He kept me firmly within His fold, saying, "My obstinate Child, where are you going? It is folly to live by your own desires; you should live in a way that will bring salvation to your immortal soul!"
Today, we have heard some brilliant singing. There is always something special to every church and every region, some feature that makes them distinct from all others. This is exactly what makes the Orthodox Church so beautiful. Creativeness and ingenuity are at its heart. To be an Orthodox faithful is to be versatile. It means looking for and exploring the best means to express one's spiritual movements and sensations in the fullest and most vivid way. All of these aspects are present in the singing, the icons and in the atmosphere of the church. They are what makes Orthodoxy truly universal by virtue of its variety. There is no expectation for all the worship to be done in one and the same way in all places; no one church should be the exact copy of another. We just want everyone to be reach out to God, and to do so in good faith.
Our lives are full of distractions and temptations, which look very appealing, especially for younger people. When we worship at Church, we stand on solid ground; God Himself is holding us in His fold and keeps us from falling down. To me, this is the most important thing. It is also important to know that we will be succeeded at Church by our children and grandchildren; that they will be able to keep their faith alive in a world that is going awry. Orthodoxy is not a conveyer belt; not a factory for indoctrinating masses of people ready to follow a leader thoughtlessly, unquestioningly, and with little understanding. We are all with Him, and on His side. But what exactly is His will and His plan? This question becomes the starting point for a constructive process of reflection within ourselves. "What is the will of God for myself?" we ask. This is our way to have a conversation with God through prayer.
To pray does not to recite some well-known texts that we had committed to memory. It is our way of reaching out to God. True prayer comes from the heart. It is a sacrament, much like the Holy Communion. We may come and we may say over and over again, "I repent in all my sins in deed, in word and in thought". But this will not be repentance. Our words should be born of our anguish, and only in this way can we find relief. Speaking of the communion... we should always be mindful of the fear of God when we are taking it. "How am I going to accept the Lord into myself? Am I worthy to partake of His body and His blood with so much sin in me?O Creator, let me not be burnt by communicating: for Thou art Fire, consuming the unworthy.
There is no standard model to follow; it is a continuous search for the right way of serving, living and acting. It is important to avoid a hasty decision and rushed choices. We should all know that God is near us, and all we need is to listen to him. Sometimes, we just do not hear amid the haste and rush of our daily lives, for lack of peace in our hearts, or just because of being so fixated on being in too many places and doing too many things at the same time. We always lose out on something important when we do so. Where are we hurrying? Why are we on the run all the time? Would it not be better for us to sit down and spend some time in silence? Let us all learn to live with God and to seek out His will.
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.
On the 18th of July we celebrate our Convent's Patron Saint Feast and commemorate the Holy Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Elisabeth. "It is a great feast for all those, who are inspired by the life of this great ascetic." Fr Andrey Lemeshonok
Sometimes, we might think that nothing is happening, when in fact a lot is going on. Things that we believe to be unimportant are of the essence because they prevent us from seeing God. An ailing mind is vulnerable to misconceptions.
The Apostle Peter had been fishing all night and had not caught anything. However, when the Saviour told him to cast the net again, he obeyed, and he pulled out more fish than he could carry. Such is our life: we do something, we sweat, we are…
We theorise, philosophise, or find comfort in psychology, only to find ourselves entrapped more deeply in our sins and infirmities. If only we were humble enough to cry out to the Lord, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
We should all keep the fire of life within us, and not let it die out. A sparkle of this fire is present in each of us, we just need to let it grow. The Divine Liturgy is a shared blessing. We celebrate the liturgy just as we live our lives.
There is hardly a person or circumstance that we find perfect. Only a peaceful heart makes it possible to accept all turns of life with gratitude. This does not necessarily mean that these circumstances are favourable.
Some of us might say, "If Christ came to Belarus, we would not shout to crucify Him; we would listen to Him.” We would be wrong. Few of us today will be willing to be servants to the King of Heaven and follow him through the end.