Excerpts from Sermons: Going through the Desert of Our Heart

By Fr. Andrew Malakhovsky

The Lord is waiting for our spiritual sacrifices. He is waiting for us to bring our gifts, such as a humble heart, meekness, kindness, the love towards each other. The lord gives them to us and is waiting for us to embody them in our lives, to find the image of God in ourselves. This is our main goal. What concerns all the rest we need to do in our lives – “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's”.


While on earth, we are learning to live. And the Lord Himself is our Teacher. Merciful and kind. He never puts us bad marks, but tries instead to rank us as high as possible. And He often says, “Well, just learn a bit more, just try one more time”. 


We are tested in life situations. I would say, we have a theory, which is the God’s word. But our practice starts when we begin to communicate with other people. (After the Divine liturgy in the boarding home for children with special needs on December 16, 2016)

By Fr. Valery Zakharov

Fast is a time when we try to reach Canaan. Once a young monk came to his spiritual father and said, “I’d like to go to Jerusalem. I’d like to go to Athos. I’d like to live in a desert” – that was his boldness. The father looked at him and said, “I send you to the desert of your heart”. And we all have to go through this desert, through the desert of our heart, so that we can reach Canaan. Of course, we know that this way is quite long. But still we trust God, and we believe He will guide us, weak people, to this land, if we do not oppose Him. We often oppose God’s will, but at the same time we hope for His mercy. We hope that His mercy will cover our negligence; that He will change us, and we will finally manage to see the ever-burning light in the end of this way and be happy about our meeting with the One, Who loves us. (After the Divine liturgy on February 2, 2017)


Every time we repent, we hope for God’s mercy. We hope that it will be the victory over sin. This can be truth, both of these can happen. When we repent, we overcome the sim, and the Lord defeats it. Unfortunately, it is rather difficult to stay in this condition. However, we know that what is impossible for us, people, is possible for God. So we repent in order to preserve the purity we have now. The fact we cannot preserve it forever should not make us despair. We should try to root out the sin gradually. As it was said, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matthew, 24:42). If he finds us fighting for our purity, for His truth, the it will be both His and our victory. This is why we try to be the associates of God. This is the work of our whole life. (Before the confession in the boarding home for children with special needs on November 25, 2016).


God has everything what we do not have. We get something not because we deserve it, and because we want it, but because of the act of Love, Which sees us and knows what is useful for us, what we cannot live without. We lack thankfulness and do not understand that certain conditions are necessary for us and has their meaning. We live according to the human standards and cannot imagine our life in the future Kingdom. We hear the words, which allures us with their meaning, but the reality is really far from our life. In these short moments when we stand before God, when we confess or partake of the Holy Communion, when we try to see ourselves near God, the miracle of theosis occurs. For a short time, we become saints. And we need to develop this skill: we should not become saints, but be saints.


We do not know what we will face at the last moment of our life. The only thing we can do is to ask the Lord that He let us cross this line and bring us not to the abyss, but to the Kingdom of Heaven. This can be possible only by His mercy, not by our merits, efforts or wishes. (Before the confession in the boarding home for children with special needs on September 9, 2016)

By Fr. Sergius Phalei

There is still time when we can show God that we are thankful, show our love towards Him and begin to work on ourselves. For example, you cannot fast every day. A longlasting fast is still an impossible task for you, and you are still not ready for this – all right then, let it be so. Just pick some days when you will keep a fast. The most suitable days are Wednesday and Friday, which are fast days during almost the whole year. Try to keep a fast on these two days.

You can either come to a priest and say that you want to work somehow, to serve God somehow, but you do not realize yet how you can do this. Ask for advice. It is possible to choose the work that you can handle. You will carry it and respond to God’s call. The Lord will reward you for your work with His love. (After the Gospel reading on March 26, 2017)

By Fr. Sergius Nezhbort

The Lord tells us to be attentive. It can be so that the head is away from his working place, and the workers feel themselves free. As we are just people. we depend on our authorities. However, it is very important that we live in front of God and feel that we are responsible before Him even if no one can see us right now. This is the main and the most difficult thing. The work we do builds up our inner image. A person forms himself with every action and with every thought, just like a sculpture creates a sculpture. A moment will come, when the form of the sculpture will become evident, and it will be much more difficult to change it. (After the Divine liturgy in the boarding home for people with special needs, on September 2, 2016).

June 21, 2017

St. Elisabeth Convent