We continue to try, together with you, to reach out to God. This is by no means an easy task because it challenges us to share something that we hold close to our hearts, something very important; and our ability to do so will determine how meaningful the conversation will be and whether we will be helped. Indeed, what kind of response can we hope to get if we cannot hear ourselves? But God knows what we are all looking for and what we all need.
We all need love. Without it, we all die - spiritually and, eventually, physically. Love is life; it is the life of our spirit. Living with love means to harbour in our hearts healthy thoughts, to feel and seek goodness and beauty all the time and to see God. But when one's soul becomes darkened by sin, one can no longer see goodness; darkness and evil are all one can notice.
It is very difficult to seek goodness in our minds and thoughts when so many things inside and outside us are not in good shape. It is very hard indeed since we are all accustomed to trusting ourselves. Yesterday, I was very upset. I visited the farmstead, and I heard some brothers there telling lies, unashamed, straight to my face. They were lying before God. I suddenly felt so sad to see people who have been living in a Christian brotherhood for many years and taking Communion but who were having no fear of lying before God. Do they realise that they will have to answer for that before God? That this is indeed something to be feared? Looking at ourselves, and around us, we may indeed be tempted to believe that all is dim - as dim as the weather these days. But do not take it for truth by any means, or at any moment in your life.
Let us remind ourselves that there is sunshine and God's love and goodness within and outside us. All of that is there for us to see, all we need to do is to make an effort. So let us work together to see goodness and beauty in our friends and family and not just the sin which we all abhor; let us work to realise God's love for all of us so we can appreciate and value what we have and learn to be thankful to God for it. We all need some help to be able to do this work. We all come to get it here, and God lets us have as much of it as we can take. You can have all the love you want, as much as you can take! Whenever we put ourselves in the centre of our thoughts and engage in self-pity and regrets, we all yield to the temptation from the evil one. Glory to God for all things, for our joys and our sorrows alike!
God help us all.
On the 21st of July, the Orthodox Church celebrates the feast day of one of the most revered icons of the Mother of God in Russia - Our Lady of Kazan. This sermon was filmed in 2019 after the Divine Liturgy on the day of the feast.
The Scripture provides us with some explanations as to why people who heard the word of God and saw the churches do not see, though seeing, and do not hear or understand, though hearing - many centuries ago or today, and why their hearts remain…