Little Victories


Abbess Euphrosinia (Laptik)

How can you say something in such a way that people would understand it properly? You may be saying one thing but people would understand it differently.
There are certain points that we fail to appreciate. When you try to talk about them, people hardly comprehend it. For instance, there is a sermon after an akathist but some sisters sit and talk. I know that there is an audio recording. However, you are not listening, you are talking. Why not stand and listen like everyone else?
I believe that these things — these small efforts — mean a lot, even though they appear to be insignificant. If we indulge ourselves too much, we may lose much more. Such behavior leads to emptiness and weariness. In contrast, the Lord rewards us with joy even for the tiniest victories, which make up a great joy.
The dreams and intentions I had when I came to the Convent have started to materialize only recently. Elder Sophrony (Sakharov) used to say that if you win a thousand times and lose just once, you feel upset but if you lose a thousand times and win only once, you think you are a hero.
I would like each one of you to hear that because this is how we can become more deeply rooted in the Church tradition, which is what we often talk about. The Church has existed for more than two thousand years. We have the Holy Scripture and the Holy Tradition, which is transmitted by word of mouth and helps to preserve the orderly life of the Church and its worship practices.

St.Elisabeth Convent in the wintertime.

Why do we look so pathetic in comparison with old ladies? Because they stand the entire service on crutches, while you, although you are still young, are looking for a seat. We don't have less strength than that old lady. She is persevering, whilst we are negligent. The Lord is capable of healing us if we really want it, and if we put more effort into such things.
For instance, when we go on a procession with the cross and icons, some young sisters are too lazy to go with us. Why? Well, don't justify yourself by saying that the abbess does not go, too: I may need to skim through some books to get ready for tomorrow's Liturgy. You must do your best. You are responsible for what you are doing before God. This is very important.
We have a spiritual father, and the Lord has blessed him with a global all-encompassing vision. However, there are some basic things that we also have to pay attention to. They are essential to make our spiritual lives wholesome and full. They must be self-evident but we ignore them. Father Sophrony used to say that there are no things that are too insignificant to be worth our attention, for greatness lies in small things. This is why it is so hard for us to tolerate one another. This is why we are so impatient and annoyed. When you make someone else do what you are expected to do yourself - it means that you are careless, corrupt, and whimsical. What I say now is not an attempt to condemn anyone. Not at all. We are all guilty of it. We should learn to sympathize with each other and support each other. We simply have to admit our shortcomings, grieve over them and admonish ourselves. When I'm saying this, I don't exclude myself, for I am guilty, too.
***
I had a very illuminating experience not long ago. I learned the Saviour's words, "I was in prison, and ye came unto me. . . I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat" (Cf. Matthew 25:35-40) from my own experience. I was driving and I saw a man indicating that he needed a ride. He was visibly drunk. Several cars had driven past him. I stopped and thought, "Wow, I've stopped!" (Laughs) Our ride was short. He talked all the time; he almost wept and asked me to pray for him. You know, people often feel inclined to repent after drinking some alcohol, and besides, I was wearing the habit... When he got out of my car, I felt as if it was Jesus who had visited me in such an unfathomable way. The feeling was so vivid! I had never had such an experience, even when I visited the hospital unit. I was so surprised! Even though that person was drunk and talked nonsense… Christ is near, and you spend your life without noticing him.



CONVERSATION

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