Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God(c.f.: 1 Corinthians 15: 50).
I wish that we can all learn how to become inspired. Inspired so we do not live our lives like some crawling thing looking for earthly comfort, pleasure and satisfaction of the flesh; inspired to look beyond our daily existence towards the Kingdom of Heaven, our true home. Ever since the original sin, people have lived their lives on earth separately from the Lord, and the earth has harboured our bodies at the end of our physical existence. There is still no escape from physical death; we cannot avoid or hide away from it, and there is no power on earth that can offer us a reprieve. But Christ told us that there is no death, and this means everything to all of us. Living one foot in the grave and in existential fear is a source of great despair. But putting our whole trust in the Lord, and surrendering our entire lives into His hands is truly liberating. We are not living on the brink any longer, and it is immensely empowering to be able to say each day: "Lord, into your hands I commit my spirit; let me stay if such is Your will; if you call me, please raise me up to You!"
The end of our earthly lives is no longer death, but only a transition from our temporary existence to a life eternal. In it, we leave behind all things perishable that we cannot take with us and are so prominent in our earthly lives. Very few of them - in fact, a very small proportion - are of the spirit. We are flopping about in a sea of our daily chores; we are close to drowning, but we still find this exciting and even hope to find some benefit. What a sad mistake! Sooner or later, all things material will become dust, even the best and most durable of them. An avid shopper may exclaim: "I really like this piece of clothing, it looks so nice on me!". Eventually, it will be discarded, or at best given away.
We will find a lot of clutter if we dig deep enough in our hearts, while all we are looking for is some breathing space and freedom. The Grace of God is our only hope for burning the thorns of our passions. "We need nothing but You, O Lord; I can find in You all the things I need for this temporary life and for the life of the world to come".
The fullness of life can be found in the Lord alone, not in men. "Man - how proud it sounds!" - wrote Maxim Gorky. In his famous poem, he glorifies the Stormy Petrel for soaring proudly between the storm and the sea. Soaring proudly now, we will all fall eventually, even the Stormy Petrel. It would be much wiser for us to cast aside our vain pride and learn humility and obedience to God's will; we should start by admitting God knows best what we all need. Instead, we are deluded to think we know it all, and can even tell the Lord Himself what is best for us. But the Lord may have different plans. It is only by living in unity with the Lord and thankfully embracing all the things that happen that we can have all our needs fully met because He is the plenitude. However, living separately from the Lord is like living in a void; however hard one tries to fill it; by living apart from God, one will never succeed in meeting the true needs of one's spirit - for peace, purity and humility.
Let us all pray, therefore, for the Holy Spirit to direct us towards the Truth; to give us guidance in this life and to provide us with all the things that we will need to save our immortal souls.
We can fight off the virus by wearing a mask and keeping our distance, but to keep at bay the spirit of hostility is much harder, as it attacks us from afar.
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.…
If only Adam could have said, while still in the Garden of Eden: "Forgive your indocile and disorderly servant, O Lord, for not listening to you". Sin acts on us subtly and covertly. We transgress once, and we cannot stop.
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?
Let the Christians rejoice, even though few people want to talk about the joy and are preoccupied instead by the troubles and misfortunes of the world. Christ has overcome this world, and we are going His way to the Kingdom of Heaven.
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.
The reality is often different from our wishes. It is cruel to say to someone who is terminally ill, "You are going to get well." Instead, to talk to the person about their eternal destination is to express deep and genuine love.