Our entire lives are filled with struggle for the faith. We have to put a lot of effort into preserving the faith. The Lord has touched us and called us to serve him. Therefore, as we know, there is no way back. All our troubles and sorrows begin when we turn back, when we lose ground and stop praying. This is how, little by little, the world sucks us in and causes us to give up struggle, to give up everything that invigorates our souls, all the while we continue to feed our bodies. Over time, our bodies start to dominate us: we become lazy and too relaxed, and finally fall into the abyss. Even if we don’t commit grave sins by our own reckon, we tend to absolve ourselves of all minor sins. We mustn’t slumber in our spiritual lives. We ought to keep up the good fight until we die. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on January 15, 2017)
We must never forget where we are going to and what we see. The Orthodox Church leads us to the Heavenly Kingdom along the shortest route, and She knows what kind of treasure we should be looking for. It is immensely important not to sink into the abyss of everyday life: our road is long and difficult; many people drop out of the Church and go astray; some people keep performing the rituals, albeit formally — they pray, go to church, and take communion but they do it out of habit and forget about what we have to acquire in this life. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on March 5, 2017)
What do we need the Lent for? We need the Lent to get rid of all commotion and to remember the most important One, that is, God. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on March 12, 2017)
By Father Sergius Khrapitsky
We don’t know the exact moment when the Lord will separate our souls with our bodies. This is why we have to be always ready for it and keep being pious. The Great Lent is a great season to help our souls to get ready for its departure for the heavenly realm. Let us use this time and the opportunities that God gives us through the Liturgy — that special prayer that we do for both the living and the dead. (Sermon after the All-Night Vigil on March 10, 2017)
The best holiday is to be united with God, to attend the Divine Liturgy and to take communion. If we are without God, there is no worldly holiday that can bring us full joy because that joy can easily transform into sadness. When an individual stays with God, all sorrows are a stepping stone to joy because these sorrows are sent by God in order to lead us into the joy of eternal life. Take, for example, this bright sorrow of the Lent and these special services with prostrations. God sent them so that we could enter the all-embracing joy of Pascha.
People often ask, “What should I do if my birthday falls on a weekday of the Great Lent?” You can celebrate it on a Saturday or a Sunday of the Lent, when the fasting rules are less strict. Whoever wants to have a bigger birthday party, can move it to the Bright Week.
Every person should be aware of the fact that we are often led by our own momentum and it is hard to cut everything off when we live in this world where we all mingle with each other. We cannot go away from this world into an ivory tower: we should bear our witness of Christ and be the lights of this world. If we shine — if we have love, the true love of Christ — other people will also want to come to church and learn what it is all about. Currently, we cannot lean on anything: things are prone to change and unreliable. The Church is the only solid foundation where one can preserve his soul. (Sermon after the All-Night Vigil on March 7, 2017)
By Father Dmitrius Basalygo
We should always remember that amazing gift that we are endowed with — the gift of speech. We can use this gift to resuscitate people, to bring them back to life, or literally to murder them, incite them to commit suicide, lead them to despair. How will we use this great God’s gift? Let’s keep remembering that we will be held to account. (Sermon after a Gospel Reading on January 24, 2017)
By Father Sergius Phalei
So you see someone else sin. What do you do? Should you rebuke them or not? The Holy Scripture says, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee” (Proverbs 9:8). Therefore, we should take into account what kind of person is there in front of us. (Sermon after the All-Night Vigil on January 21, 2017)
If you lose interest in God, in the Church, and in prayer, you cannot expect a positive outcome. You have to expect hardships, various kinds of sorrows. You’ll be feeling bad and you will suffer until you remember God and start to repent. This is because the main reason of your sorrows lies within you, and it is your unrepentant filthy life. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on January 20, 2017)
Life is hard to plan in advance because there are people who come to church and immediately get what they were asking for: they break free from their passions or learn something new. However, there are other people who have to go to church for years and decades, and humble themselves down. This humility, when a person stands in front of God with an outstretched hand and asks him for something but doesn’t receive a reply, is probably the most precious thing of all because when someone receives everything easily, he finds it easy to thank God. On the contrary, if someone, like Job, used to have many things but suddenly they disappeared — this is much harder to deal with. How can he thank God? This is a very important point for us to consider. If we take on the suffering of Job at least to some extent, the Lord will arrange everything in this life for our salvation. Please take note: it doesn’t mean that we will flourish in this life but we will be closer to salvation. Sometimes we want to have both but there is the invisible life, which we cannot order around or change gears to get a temporary relief. We must remember that God’s love is always over us. The blessing Hand is the same Hand that grips us tightly to save us. (Sermon after an Akathist on February 16, 2017)
April 6, 2017
St. Elisabeth Convent
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