Pentecost as Our Common Birthday

By Fr. Andrew Lemeshonok

I congratulate you on this great feast, and we can even say that this is a birthday! Not just the birthday of the Church, but a birthday for each of us.

Is there anything the Lord has not told us about? Is there something we cannot do, something we do not understand, do not know or have not heard? We know everything and we can do everything. “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). And any person who comes to God drinks this water. A church becomes the place where we receive a blessing and the hospital where we recover. What else do we need in this life? Can we say that something is missing in our lives, or that we have not received enough? The salary is low, the house is too small, the health is poor… What do we need? We have everything we need! And we have something that is most important – we have the Holy Spirit, which restores what has been ruined by sin, purifies us and resurrects us for a new life.

St. Simeon the New Theologian said the following spiritual words, “Repentance can even restore chastity in a person”. That means that a thief can become a great saint, and a harlot can become a virtuous person.

A person who is very sick, the most clueless person, the most worthless person can become a great person if it is God’s will.

We need God, for we cannot live on our own - He works in us. He guides us in our lives. "I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me" (Philippians 4:13). The prayers we have heard just know, standing on our knees, are ecumenical indeed. They are intended to give us enough strength so that we can endure the next year without falling on the ground. They will not allow us to fall down to the point at which a person can see no one else but himself. A person who lives spiritually has no such conditions. He looks at his neighbor and estimates whether this person can accept what he is going to say or not. If he cannot, then we should not try to prove he is wrong because otherwise, you just cause anger and disaffection. There is no need to argue and be angry. We must keep the Holy Spirit in our hearts, for in this case thousands of people around us will be saved. This is what St. Seraphim of Sarov was talking about. This is what all the modern and ancient saints were talking about: about the Holy Spirit, with the help of which we should consecrate ourselves and help our neighbors; about the Spirit of God, which works in us and purifies us from any impurity.

I would like to wish for every person's soul to live in the light of Christ’s love, for there is another light, a deceitful one, which is in fact darkness. And the devil will do his best to confuse us and to make us choose the wrong path, and forget about God’s love, which has brought us all to the church. He wants to make us fuss and rush trying to cope with the affairs of this temporary world, make us forget about the main thing and lose the connection with God, which makes a person alive.

I congratulate all of us on this great feast one more time. I wish that the Spirit inside us does not fade, that we remember we have the Savior, without Whom we just cannot live any more. We have the One, Who came to save us. Not someone else or an abstract person, but each one of us personally. He brought us His love and said, “Take this, eat this. This is My Body, and this is My Blood. Live, overcome your flesh, overcome your old “self”, overcome this world, overcome the sin, for I have overcome this world already, and I give you My victory”. We should accept this key to eternal life and live without the little things. We always bury ourselves in different affairs, and this is wrong. We need to look at our main goal. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).

St. Elisabeth Convent
June 4, 2017