What does it take to forgive?


This is the death for our old man. I have to speak about repentance but what I say is beyond my own measure. This is why I have to trample my own dead self in order to be able to say something. Is it easy? No, it is not, and this is always a miracle. Each time when I come to talk with people, I feel I am about to die; and I am serious because I do not have anything to share, not even a thought, and sometimes I desperately need to sleep but I have to go and talk. After so many years, I have developed a habit of overcoming myself: I do not care what I want, I simply go and do what I am supposed to do.
Now I lay my hopes on fasting, not on medicines but on fasting. I would like to fast more seriously even from the external point of view but I am not sure if I am able to do it. I have a habit not to eat anything on some days, and this makes my task easier.
We should remember God as often as it is possible during the Great Lent. Personally, I am now in the state of not being capable of anything and not being able to understand anything. Now I see that nobody listens, that each person has his own opinion and only a miracle can change that opinion. I am afraid to say something to the sisters. Each time you say something to another person, you are in for a counterattack, and these counterattacks may turn out to be very painful, that is why I spare myself and think, “Let it be, OK, everything's fine.” They tell me something, and I answer, “Yes, that's fine. Do you prefer it this way? Okay, let us do it the way you prefer. Do you have any preferences?” Sometimes people do not want anything. Let us wait to see what happens. However, I can see that God still acts. This surprises and even inspires me. God does act even though you have long been defeated and you understand that you are good for nothing. I have not had such a feeling before but now I see that I have neither willpower, nor willingness, but I continue to live on and to speak with you.
I recall the words of Father Nicholas Gurianov, which are very important for me. These words help me. He said, “People think that I am OK, and I have to keep to myself what I really feel.” In fact, when you convince yourself that everything is fine and do not retreat into your own shell, this may be a good choice. For example, I was in a dead-end for many years: although I spent days and nights in church, when I came back home I saw that I could not control myself and there was darkness around me, I thought I was to die together with all people around me. I felt that darkness for years – and this is wrong. This is why nowadays I take a completely different attitude to myself and seek for the proper attitude towards God and my neighbours because God's power is made manifest in our infirmities. We must not run away and say, “God, I don't need you anymore.” I need God. Even if it is a consumerist attitude, even if I need God to lift me up and to put me to my senses. God needs lazy people, God needs foolish people, God needs even the most thick-headed people. God needs all of us, and He loves each one of us, which is surprising, and He does not take offence at us, this is for sure. Therefore, the Forgiveness Sunday is not an easy day: one has to overcome himself.
Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok

(From the sisterhood meetings)


CONVERSATION

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