May the Holy Spirit always be with you, and so, by strengthening ourselves with the gifts of our Church we will overcome this world that lies in sin.
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.
We may imagine ourselves to be masters of our lives and make our plans for decades ahead - only to find them derailed someday. But the Scripture tells us: "As for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me."
Has it ever occurred to us that with God, nothing is meaningless? Without experiencing a loss, how can we appreciate a gain? How can we embrace joy without knowing any sorrows?
In the pains of our inner struggle, our new selves are born. Perhaps the moment of this rebirth is what likens us to the proverbial Samaritan woman.
We long for miracles but forget that Christ is near and ready to say to us "Stand up, pick up your mat and walk! Walk after me."
In our lives on this earth, the lobby of Heaven, are we not like these invalids at the pool? Are we not waiting like them for some Angel of God to perform a miracle that will make us see, hear and live?
Our congratulations go to all our women. We wish them to grow in their faith and success in their hard work to keep the peace in their families.
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.
In the kingdom of heaven, there is no need for human values or hierarchy. It is a new life, a new world and new relationships. We need to focus on Christ, Who came not only to give us courage, but also to teach us to live differently.
Christ is taking us to a new life, free from all sin, sorrow and illness. We have a whole life to look forward to while we use our time on earth to practise.
He did not arrive in a chariot, or a limousine, not even on a colt. He came on a donkey. We need to be like children to believe it.
Is there any problem that God could not resolve? Is there a question that He could not answer? We only need to ask the right questions and be open to hearing the answer.
Jesus had not come to Jerusalem to reign there. He only wanted to be King in people's hearts. He made it clear that he had come to seek peace, not make war.
Our first step in our journey of Divine Ascent is to overcome our dependence on the material things of this world, to dissociate ourselves from them.
Along the way, we must defeat our old selves. We must survive their demise and give up our lives to Christ. Are we ready?
We hear the call from heaven - "Lift up our hearts to the Lord! Lift your hearts to His love!" It urges us to question ourselves, "Where is your heart?"
The Rite of Orthodoxy today returns us to our roots and identity. It reaffirms our birthright, and we will not sell it, like Esau, for some lentil stew.
During the Great Lent, we abstain from certain foods and entertainments, but this fasting is not limited to abstinence; we aim at the the restoration of our inner peace.
To say "forgive me" to the Lord and the people, and do so from our hearts, is a remarkable achievement of our inner self. We cannot begin to transform from within without forgiveness.