Excerpts from St.Elisabeth Convent Sermons: Every Human Being Is Chosen by God

By Fr. Valery Zakharov

If we compare ourselves to people around us, we might think that we are successful enough. However, if we compare ourselves to God, we will realise that we have a lot to be sorry for and a lot to change. We've come to God, eager to change our lives, but we still see that we have a long way to go until we finally reach the desired change. Will it happen here on earth? I would like it to come true, I hope that we will enter the eternal life as joyful people who are free from the restrictions, from the limitations that grow under the influence of external forces and are driven by our unwillingness to obey God. […]

Repentance… Reconsidering one's own actions… It would be great if it didn't happen in a haphazard manner but instead was a steady movement towards the likeness of the Lord that He wants to see in us. (Sermon before the Confession in the Boarding Home for Children with Special Needs on May 5, 2017)

The understanding that God is near must be always present wherever we are, be it in the church or in our daily lives. God is everywhere. If we remember that He is ever-present, we will not part with him. If we never part with him, we will be his transmitters. This connection, this link becomes the route through which the Lord can use us to influence people around us and ourselves. (Sermon before the Confession in the Boarding Home for Children with Special Needs on May 12, 2017)

Help us, O Lord, to preserve inner peace and not to be troubled by the worries which our tumultuous lives are filled with, by everything we have to endure. Help us to live a focused life, a life with God where He lives. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy in the Boarding Home for Children with Special Needs on May 6, 2017)

By Fr. George Glinsky

You can only have faith in God. You can't make anyone believe regardless of the arguments and syllogisms that you use. If we take a closer look at ourselves and our faith and our life, we will realise that we have to fight against the transformation of our faith in God into a boring and formal execution of religious duties.

The  potential for the transformation of the world lies within us. Only the Lord who opens up salvation for us can help us. We must direct all our efforts and all our abilities to turn our faith into trust, our belief and our hopes into fruitful trees that shoot out roots and feed everyone with their fruit and whose leaves cover everybody from the heat of the day, from the suffering and the tragedy of disbelief. May the Lord help us to change our lives. May the power of the Risen Christ allow us to see that the joy that we feel every time when we hear about the Resurrection of our Lord must change us. (Sermon after the All-Night Vigil on May 13, 2017)

Christ comes into this world and dies on the Cross because He loves every person in particular and all humanity as a whole. Of course, He wants us to force our will and our conscience into being more sensitive not only to our own suffering but also to the feelings of those around us. May this desire to see other people saved grow stronger and lead us to prayer, care, and attention, so that serving others in the Church would not remain mere words but have genuine repercussions in the hearts of us Christians. (Sermon after the Matins on March 14, 2017)

Fasting as an ascetic practice reminds us that the world was created not for our consumption but for our care and attention. Like the first human who looked after the garden where he lived, we must also see the entire world as a Divine Garden and look at it with different eyes, as God looks at it. If we perceive the world as the new heaven and new earth, we will get to know the Truth that resides in the heaven. May this Lent allow us to discover proper attitudes to our environment — lit up by the love that God has towards all of us, as it is written in the Gospel. (Sermon after the Matins on March 20, 2017)

By Fr. Sergius Nezhbort

Every human being is chosen by God. We must appreciate and preserve this chosen-ness. This yoke is not always light. Oftentimes, it is the opposite. Nevertheless, we must remember that the Lord has chosen every one of us and never give up on this calling, never desecrate the holiness that the Lord has entrusted us with. (Sermon after the All-Night Vigil on March 18, 2017)

Unfortunately, we often abide by certain formal rules: we go to church, confess, and fast — but as soon as the moment of temptation comes, we can recoil. We can half-consciously betray our neighbour, our ideals, and even God. It means that our living with God is more external than internal nowadays. We should do our best to let it penetrate deep inside our hearts. […]

We treat people around us not as brothers or sisters sometimes but as though they annoy us and make us feel uncomfortable and unpleasant. Although we don't take up arms, we would be happy if those annoying people disappeared. Christianity is a different way of life where people try to place God in the centre of their lives and to perceive all people as brothers and sisters even if we don't support or even fathom some of their moral values. This is immensely important. Let us remember that. Let us love each other so other people could notice it. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on May 15, 2017)

By Fr. Sergius Faley

Our lives are managed by God's Providence. Each person has his own unique path. The Lord can see a human's heart. He sees his personality and knows where he lives, how he works and how he was brought up by his parents. Based on this knowledge, the Lord creates a road to salvation tailored to everybody's life story and guides people on this road. This is why when we don't understand something in our lives, we must recall this amazing love of God and just humbly ask him to give us strength to accept the things that we don't understand and do not want to accept. It would be a wise and right thing to do. The Lord will lead everyone who faithfully follows Christ to the Haven of Salvation. (Sermon after the All-Night Vigil on May 4, 2017)

If a person is deprived of the Church and Her Sacraments, he will perish. It is not just him that is evil: there is a war in this world. There are two huge camps: the Church of Christ on the one hand, and the rest of the world, which lies in iniquity, on the other hand. Nowadays this evil has turned into a horrible machine of hell that attempts to subjugate everyone who lacks the protection of the Church. This is why we must thank God for being in the Church, and we must pray to him for our loved ones, for our families and friends. Let us pray for the Lord to bring them to the Church, too. (Sermon after Gospel Reading on May 14, 2017)

December 22, 2017
St. Elisabeth Convent