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Excerpts from Sermons: A True Life Is Where God Is



By Fr. Demetrius Basalygo

From now on, a human being does not only have the opportunity to know the true God, to love him, and talk to him in prayer. From now on, he can be united with him, too. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity but He connected us to himself when He became the Son of Man. You cannot imagine Christ the Son of God without the Father and the Holy Spirit; likewise you cannot imagine the Lord without his Body, without the Church, without you and me.

We are one in Christ, and therefore are able to aspire for the Kingdom of God. It has come in power, albeit in a concealed form, because its goal is to ensure unity of all in God. Apostle Paul expressed it brilliantly when he wrote, "that God may be all in all" (1 Cor. 15: 28). This Kingdom of God is called The Church. It is a new way of being where God and human are together, where He embraces us and gives us a life beyond limits. Neither time nor distance nor death can prevail against us any longer. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, we are one in Christ. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on June 4, 2017)


By Fr. Andrew Lemeshonok

We should believe that God and the Mother of God are with us. If God is with us, who can be against us? We must not act like everyone else. Our prayer and our life today must be a testimony of Christ, so that many people who watch us closely right now would come to church, so that young people do not fall for the insanity of sin but instead cling to the Holy Chalice of Christ. This is what the future of our earthly homeland and our nation depends on. (Sermon Before The Monastic Tonsure on March 15, 2017)

The Lord has called us to life. Our physical birth and the paths that we tread today are temporary. Sooner or later, it shall pass. This is why we follow Christ into the Heavenly Kingdom. This is why we keep saying that the most important mission for a person is not becoming a general, not doing something great in order to achieve fame but rather defeating death and living forever. The victory over death is the key. Death is caused by our fall. Our nature is infected by sin and is therefore unfit for the Kingdom of Heaven. This is why we mortals struggle with the sin that dwells inside us and around us. The whole world lieth in wickedness (1 John 5: 19). We see that people are going insane, indeed. What are they doing? They chase pieces of paper, bling, cars, and fail to think about their immortal souls. This is why our goal is to let God dwell inside us. If there is God inside us, our souls will part with our bodies when we die and go to the paradise. Some people in the know have said that it's very good to be in the paradise.

One needs to learn to live with God in order to get into the paradise. This isn't hard to do. Our young students should obey their teachers and be honest and reliable. They shouldn't be cunning or deceitful. Our dear sisters and brothers who have families should love other people and sacrifice their time and efforts to them. We all should help those people who need our help and whom the Lord sends to us on our life journey.

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A true life is where God is, where love is, where light is. It is where people really understand and love each other. An individual who lives with God is satisfied with everything and thanks God for all things. Death is when a person lives alone, when he is sullen and resentful, and when he does not love anyone. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on March 3, 2017)


By Fr. Andrew Malakhovsky

We can hurt someone when we don't pity them. We can hurt someone when we are indifferent. We can hurt someone when we put our own interests above the troubles of another person. We can take up the cudgels for them, making their pain more bearable. When we ignore the pain of our neighbours, it is the Cross of our Lord that we ignore. (Sermon after the Passion Service on March 19, 2017)


By Fr. Valery Zakharov

When one schemamonk was yet a boy, he would pull out weeds on a beetroot field. He was chopping the weeds under the blazing sun; and when he looked up, he saw that the field's edge was far away, close to the horizon, near the woods. He was exhausted and ready to give up. Someone advised him to work without looking up. He kept on working, and when he looked up again some time later, he saw that the forest was much closer. We also need to move forward in spite of what we observe in our hearts. It will allow us to get to our destination fast enough. (Sermon before the Confession in the Boarding Home for Children with Special Needs on March 3, 2017)

We should be aware of the fact that this penitential mood, which is natural for the Lent, must not evolve into depression or despair. The Lord came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15; cf. Luke 19:10). We must put our trust in him. Of course, the effort that we use to stand up against temptations or rise up after a fall (each person has his own amount of effort required to do so) is not enough but God's love spreads over everything, and it is this love that we must acquire. Learning to forgive, thank, and never give up; learning to look at God instead of ourselves, and stepping towards him — this is our chief aim, I believe. (Sermon after the All-Night Vigil on March 11, 2017)

The Lord allows us breaks in the days of hard work, prayer, and fasting. He feeds us with his bread and the ever-shining light. He gives us who stay in the sinful darkness the light that can lead us out of all dead-ends. The Lord can do anything. It's us humans who run into dead-ends. This is why we come here asking him to help us. We must do our best to see our sins to the extent that the Lord lets us see them, without adding or inventing anything. We must open our hearts to him.

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We must meet God here on earth. Those who haven't met him here, will hardly meet him there. I would like us not to lose sight of God after we met him. With this in mind, we should work hard to keep this vigil lamp of faith burning inside us and to fill it up with holy oil. To do so, we have to have the oil at hand, and that's exactly what the Lenten season is for. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on March 10, 2017)

The Lord can do everything. Our prayer can rise people from the dead and heal the sick not by our own power but by the power of God who dwells inside us. We must not forget it. We are called by God to be holy:  ye shall be holy; for I am holy (cf. Leviticus 11:44). We must remember it and live accordingly. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy in the Boarding Home for Children with Special Needs on March 11, 2017)

By Fr. George Glinsky

Our lives must be in opposition to sin, and regardless of how hard it might be for us, we should strive to keep going and not to give up. We should seek help from Him who is the Source of healing, who is the Source of Life, and who feeds us with his Body and Blood, and leads us towards the eternal life and the Heavenly Kingdom.

***

The Lord calls us to put God's truth into practice. We must demonstrate by our own example that the Lord has changed us, that the grace of God transforms us when we approach Christ who wants to save us. We must share with other people this Good News about Christ and his Resurrection that changed the entire world. We can have this opportunity when we partake of the Sacraments of the Church. Naturally, we claim that the Lord has saved us by his Resurrection. He has given us this chance but it is up to our free will and our reasoning to come to accept this chance. Like a loving father, God expects us to take after him, to carry his image. He expects our spiritual growth to cause further expansion of this image into his full semblance, and, as Holy Fathers put it, to make us into gods by grace when in our lives and in our spiritual beauty we start to resemble him who created us and gave us this life, who gave us the opportunity to be happy and comforted by his love, and who did not abandon us when our forefathers made a mistake, who saved us from our sins, and who is leading us into the blissful life here in the Church of God. We can already feel what the Kingdom of Heaven is like right here through sacramental grace, because this Kingdom is born inside us, as the Lord says. (Sermon after the All-Night Vigil on June 5, 2017)

The mystery of Christian living is caused by a combination of human efforts and the action of Divine grace. This is what we call collaboration, synergy, cooperation with God for the cause of our salvation. We trust God completely. We believe that if we do our best, the Lord will support and help us; the seed of God's grace that was planted in our hearts on the day of our baptism will grow into the spiritual tree that we heard about in the Lord's parables — a tree, which will feed people around us with its fruit, and which will provide a shelter to birds, i. e., everyone we meet. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on June 6, 2017)

December 8, 2017

St. Elisabeth Convent



CONVERSATION

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