Sermon on repentance and holiness

On service, repentance and holiness

April 27, 2020

Father Valery Zakharov

Priest Valery Zakharov:

Everyone is serving God according to one’s ability. The Body of Christ is formed of many people, and all of them are meant to work together as an organic whole. Each and every member is asking for God’s mercy. All are looking towards Him.

The people around us appear to us like mirrors. The goodness that we find in others is also present in ourselves. Conversely, any sin that we will notice in another will be one of our own, for otherwise, we would never have seen it in the first place.

Sadly, while all of us will sin, not everyone will repent. We should all take great care to be among those who will repent, and are capable of doing so. It takes a lot of effort for us to see ourselves for what we really are - to observe the true picture of ourselves, not the one we would like to present to others or to delude ourselves into believing. Only then could we be in a position to change from within.

Repentance is more than just an admission of our sin. It is our commitment to change. God will make the change in us if we just give Him the chance to do so.

As long as we model our life and works on those of the saints, we may count on making good progress; the lives of the saints are examples that challenge us to work even harder to move in the direction of our Lord. Sometimes, this movement may seem to us as a decisive and resolute break with our past.  Eventually, we may still realize that our progress has been too small to achieve our goals.

More likely than not, we will not see our situation in the same way as the Prodigal Son did. We will choose to believe that it is not as desperate. Perhaps our path towards holiness should start with an exercise in introspection.

The saints had the ability to be mindful of the netherworld while not falling into despair. Let us not despair either; instead, let us remain hopeful; sitting in the depth of our abyss of sin, and with little remaining hope of a life to be, let us not count on ourselves, but lay our hopes on our Lord, Who will take us into His fold, rescue us from the abyss and bring us to holiness.

Our biggest task is to build a church within us. Building this Convent took twenty years, but a whole lifetime may be too short to construct a temple in our souls.

We all wish we could do it in the fastest and most efficient way possible. Let us hope that our ministry among the residents of the boarding homes will help us in our cause. Let us trust that through the prayers of these people, the Lord will shed on us His mercy and grace and give us the chance to see the unfading light of a life eternal.

Priest Valery Zakharov

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