It appears that the result of our live depends on our neighbors. We will not be judged for some thoughts or words we cannot even recall. We nervously think: “What else have I done? What have I thought or said?” A person is anxious: “Maybe, I have missed something. Maybe, I have confessed something wrong or have forgotten to confess at all”. All these thoughts confuse us even more. We should remember: there is nothing we can do perfectly, and our life is in our neighbors’ hands, who are sent us by God. These are the people, who are close to us, with whom we communicate and share our sorrows. The ones, whom we should serve. We must not be indifferent, we must respond. We must see a human being, but not turn away saying. “I am late for the service”, just like the Levite did, when he met a man of different faith, who had been beaten by the robbers. We are late for the service too. We should hurry and pray. For whom? For ourselves? For our neighbor?
Today we have everything at hand. Everything is clear and could not be more simple. We have read the words from the prayer just now, which was written by Archimandrite Sophrony Sakharov: “My sister and my brother are my life”. If a sister lives in a monastic cell, then her life depends on the sister she lives with. Will she serve her sister so that she in turn would be in a good mood? Will she wait for her sister to come or will she think: “I cannot wait for her to leave me alone, so that I can pray in silence without hearing her talks and seeing her looming around”. But Christ feels otherwise. Conciliarity means a lot. The more people there are in the church, the more people are praying around us, the better. “But I like to pray in silence…” Are you sure that you pray in silence? Don’t you pray in the void, if you cannot stand a person near?
It is all about us. We feel discomfort because of people living with us in the same flat, so we want to run away from them. Why so? Because everyone is bad, and I am the only one who is nice! Don’t you think it could be vice versa? What would we say, should we appear today at the Last Judgment? Are we ready to say that there is place for other people in our heart? We need all these people for our salvation. Or do we choose like: I need this one, but I do not need that one, and what concerns the third one, then I would rather never meet him again? Of course, we have a lot of questions, and we cannot find all the answers on our own. We need God’s help, and we get it in church, as a remedy for our immortal soul, so that it begins to understand that Christ is the main Healer in this world, and He loves us all.
Just look at what we are. We will betray Christ. We will deceive Him, we will quarrel with Him. But He still needs us. However, this is a question, whether we need Him as well. Sometimes we want to hide from God. “May God not see me today, I want to live for myself”. It is impossible to live for yourself. There is no truth in you, there is only the sin. The changes in our life depend on whether we understand what is right or wrong. You may be a person of certain age, but you still understand nothing at all. A person may attend a church for twenty or thirty years, but he has understood nothing and does not know what is the most important thing in his life. You may want to help such a person, to give a piece of advice or to correct - the person will feel insulted. By what? It is so difficult for us to hear not what we want to hear! However, we should thank for this, as this lets us see what we cannot see from our viewpoint. A person prompts you – thank him! It turns out, that we are too arrogant, touchy and inpatient. It is so great that someone could tell what is wrong with us. There is time for improvement! But no, the devil blocks such thoughts, and a person feels insulted and get personal: “And you? Look at yourself! Are you much better?!” Awful… The Lord knows this, for He sees us arguing. We constantly bargain with God and make demands: “I am going to read the akathist for forty days to make everyone obey me”. Or something like: “I going to fast, because I want to feel winged”. You will not feel like this. One must not bargain with God. We can only trust Him, for this trust is the main thing. “According to your faith be it unto you” (Matthew, 9:29).
Today we are in limbo: we cannot live in the old way, but we are still afraid of living in the new way. We are afraid that we do not have the heart for it, and our life will ruin. It will not, so be not afraid. The more strength and time you devote to God, the more you gain. And of course we need these people, as it depends on them what we will hear at the Last Judgment. There should be no human discourse, everything is simple: “Those who are blessed come with Me and share My joy, and those who are not dressed in the wedded clothing, depart from me into everlasting fire” (Refer to Matthew, 34-46). That is it: we can be either with God or not. And what can we do without God? Without God it is all over for us. This is why we should value the time the Lord gives us for living.
The favorable and redemptive time is coming – the time of the Great Lent. Next Sunday we will try to come to our senses and to ask each other for forgiveness. We ask God for forgiveness through each other. A different life is coming, and in this life there is a possibility for us to fix ourselves, to tune ourselves to the “frequency” of God’s love.
St. Elisabeth Convent,
February 19, 2017
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