Noah built the Ark at the command of God and his family was saved from the Flood in it. Now we need to concern ourselves with building our souls’ “house of virtues”, as the wise Abba Dorotheos once wrote. Because the rest will obviously not stand the test of this age of changes and collapse. But this “house” will withstand all the trials.
How can Christians avoid feeling like pressure cookers with so much internal steam pressure that their lids are about to blow off? How to find harmony between expressing your feelings and being reserved?
Let us have hope that the Queen will not despise our humble praise, but that she will be merciful to us and vouchsafe us that joy that is never taken away from those who have found it, which she desires for every one of us from her loving, mother’s heart.
Here it is: "For the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light (Lk. 16:8)." Our Lord Jesus Christ says these words in the Parable of the Unjust Steward. What for? In my view, the Savior wants to tell us that if we are willing to become the children of the Kingdom, then we have something to learn from the children of this age: They have their experience, skills and valuable findings that should in no way be ignored.
The feast of the Resurrection of Christ is the most important for Christians. “Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness,” St. John Chrysostom summons us in his catechetical word on the feast of Pascha. The joy of the resurrected Savior is appointed for every man on earth, but not all know about it and not all understand how to join in this common exaltation. Igumen Nektary (Morozov) talks about how to share the joy of Pascha with others.
This is probably the first thing to which it would make sense to pay attention: As Christians and simply as adults, responsible people, we should not create hardships for ourselves artificially. Our lives are hard enough without that. Nevertheless, a person who categorically avoids whatever difficulties that may be rarely succeeds in life.
And I was happy. Not because I had completed probably the first fast in my life, not because I had lasted to the end of this service so foreign to me, and not from the awareness that I had “endured,” but a simple happiness—some kind of childlike, pure joy, thanks to which you become a child and begin to hope that, no matter how bad you are, the Kingdom is for you.
Does a Christian have the right to take offense at his parents? Why do so many elderly parents find themselves alone nowadays? Are the children of “bad” parents exempt from any obligation to honor and care for them? How can parents and children develop a proper relationship?
A person can repent of the most terrible sins, the most barbaric evil-doing; his tale may be bitter and worthy of tears. But if an inner change occurs, that very “metanoia”, that is, a change of mind, or more precisely, of the entire human personality, there is no feeling of weariness.
The fourth Sunday after Pascha is dedicated to the Gospel of the paralytic, who spent thirty-eight years by the pool of Siloam waiting for healing, and was finally delivered from his serious infirmity by the Savior Himself. That unfortunate man was physically paralyzed, while we are spiritually paralyzed to one or another degree.
So, on Saturday at the Vigil Service, during the Polyeleos I was looking at the icon of St. Gregory of Palamas and thought about his amazing life, about the light of Mt. Tabor, the nature of which he so wisely explained and in which he himself abided—being transformed, illumined, “reaching for the heights”. What grace he live in! But then it was as if a spear pierced my heart: How he also suffered!
With whatever inner disposition we begin any task—that is how we will carry it out. It is the same for the fast: with whatever disposition we enter the fast—that is probably how we will go through it. That means that we need to relate to the first week of Lent with particular responsibility.