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. It all comes to how willing we are to let Him act in us and with is. Some try their best to be masters of their worldly lives, others become hermits to pray for the world; still, others build churches, sing in a church choir or join the clergy. God is present in all of these exploits, the One who is all-seeing and all-powerful, but also humble.
The Lord taught His disciples that they can find peace if they follow His example of humility: Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11: 29). He is not saying, "Do what I do" - although they, too have healed the sick and revived the dead. But these miracles were not an end in itself. They were only a means towards the goal of the inner silence of the heart. The path towards that goal lay through sorrows, denial and persecution. Whether we are on Mount Athos or on a crowded bus in our city, we must never part with God. Saint Silouan of Mount Athos was dreaming of the Holy Mount even as he was sitting in a crowded pub, among friends who were enjoying their drinks. As long as we are willing to be with God, nothing can stand in our way. Presumably, God wants the same for us. Perhaps for this mutual desire to be fulfilled, we need to do all we can to let God act within us. Anything that we do for Christ's sake - standing at the Liturgy, or taking communion - helps Him do His work in us.
When a priest comes out to say the sermon, he begins it with the words "In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit." God speaks through Him, for everyone at Church to hear. But hearing is the beginning. Translating words into action is key. Typically, it takes us a long time to act, and time is short. We should all hurry, before long, to do God's will every day, minute and hour that He gives us. After the end of our life on earth, it will be too late to repent. We make our choices in this life. We ramble and lose our way, we go back to square one and resume the uphill struggle with temptations, laziness and sloth to continue our journey to the light. Let us continue to lay our hopes on Him and have a conversation with Him from our hearts.
by Priest Valery Zakharov
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.
Sometimes, the magnitude of human suffering, hardship, and pain can throw us into despair. But let remind ourselves that people in worse situations have come out of them successfully, and emerged stronger than before.
In the Scripture readings, our actions are likened to a tree, and their outcomes to the fruit of that tree. It can be very difficult for us at times to decide if we should act or wait. The right answer may not be obvious.
What is real repentance and how to truly repent and turn to God? Is it only going to a confession and naming our sins? How to depend and be saved?
Our pleasures in this world are finite, shallow and illusory. They can bring us the sensation of momentary happiness, but to agree to spend the whole eternity in this state of self-deception would be sheer madness.
Our fixation with our moods, grudges and displeasures will not take us far in the way of God. It will not keep us from our sense of despair, frustration, disappointment and failure.
Out of pride, we isolate ourselves from others and also from God. Instead, we must be willing to do God’s will, even when it is different from ours. We must be prepared to put aside our desires, however painful it might seem.