By Fr. Andrew Lemeshonok
I’m a priest, right? A spiritual father, if you like. To be honest, I’m nobody. I know that but I also know that there is the devil who sneers at me gleefully, “Aha! You’re done!” I say, “No, I’ve only just begun. I want to change. I want to be different. I want to serve God.” I clearly feel during the ensuing battle that God is near. When I feel despondent and start wailing that everything is bad, everything is lost, I remain alone in the void, face to face with my sins.
I have to talk about my own experience, not about something that I’ve read in books. Our life is the only real book. Everyone has his own book and his own problems that he has to tackle. God is the one who resolves all problems.
All our problems have been solved already: Christ is risen, the door to the paradise is wide open. Sadly, we rely on this world and on the sin that dwells inside our hearts. We pretend to be soldiers but we don’t know how to fight. It isn’t because we aren’t educated enough. It’s because we are lazy, idle, and proud. What can you be proud of, honestly? But you are proud nonetheless. One can be a beggar and sit on a church porch with a stretched hand and judge everyone. Or one can drive a Mercedes Benz and not judge anyone. A criminal can find God in prison and be free. That same criminal can lose God once he gets out of jail and finds himself in a different setting. That’s abhorrent. When that guy was in prison, he prayed. It was marvellous. His eyes shone forth the light of faith. When he got released, worldly temptations tied him up and he lost his freedom…
The sin mutates so well! It attempts to attack us from all sides and under all kinds of masks, so we have to be alert and stay awake at all times. If we aren’t awake, if we leada re laxed life, sin will deceive us and the devil will lead us into dead-ends. Our lack of trust in God and the laziness that leads us to wrong actions over and ver again is the dead-end.
We can correct our errors because we are still here on earth. We can change our lives. We can repent. Repentance isn’t just a word. It’s life. Repentance means changing our lives. It’s proof that we will not sin any longer: “At least, I’ve made up my mind not to sin. I know I can’t do that on my own, so help me Lord!” If one is resolute in doing so, he won’t sin, of course. When an individual says, “Well, I’d like to quit smoking—all residents of our rehabilitation centre want to quit smoking—but I can’t, you know,” it’s self-deception. You’d better admit, “I don’t want to stop, at least for now.” It’s honest. People deceive themselves when they say they can’t. They can do everything. They can do everything if they really need it and if they ask for God’s help.
November 12, 2018
St. Elisabeth Convent