Nun Irina (Helman): “Worshipping God Means Serving Your Neighbour”

When someone asked an elder what the difference between lay people and monks is, the elder replied, “First: Monks don’t marry.” It doesn’t sound easy, either. For me, it’s not the most difficult thing in life. Besides, God releases you from the time that other people spend with their families. The same holds true for people who aren’t monks but are single. It seems that God gives them some additional free time to do God’s work…

A job of any kind is your ministry. I worked at a factory, and I had the desire to serve God. I did my job as well as I could. Everyone called me insane or crazy. They were angry with me and mocked at me because I did more than I had to. Naturally, the foreman saw it and decided that others also had to do that much. They rebelled against me. I would reply, “You do you but I shall do everything I can. I can’t act otherwise. You cannot act like I do, while I cannot act like you do.” That was it. You might think that I was a black sheep. Well, I wasn’t. I was a live-wire everywhere. I did sports and contests. I lived my life to the fullest. At any rate, I did everything I had to do for people to the best of my ability.

Worship is our ministry to our neighbour and to God through that neighbour. We ought to be patient with other people’s faults and not condemn them because there is a spiritual law about it. It is a simple law, which is generally applicable: If you judge someone, you’ll inevitably find yourself in his or her place. So it would be better if someone else finds himself in your place when you do good. May that person condemn you for doing good. When he finds himself in your place, he might also start doing some good. Holy Fathers say, “Get saved, and thousands of people will get saved with you.” Do what you have to do in good faith. Most importantly, you shouldn’t quarrel with people and try to insist on your point of view. There are people who don’t care about your God: they judge you by your actions. You should at least be a decent person…

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The Editor of the Catalog of Good Deeds.

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