Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok: Everything cannot be ideal in this world. There will always be much more to be desired, and something just has to not be right. People cannot reach an ideal here on earth. Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov) told his monks one day. «Think about the most important things, and the rest will be added to you». If we start paying too much attention to details, we will be stuck in them.
We are not attentive enough; we are so easily distracted; we do not remember what happened yesterday; we don't care about hurting someone, being rude to someone, or not noticing someone... We need to learn to be attentive in order to be able to think clearly and not be driven by the chaos that's inside us or by our feelings instead of looking for God. This is what incessant prayer is about. Do you think that incessant prayer means babbling Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner? No, it means constantly being in the presence of God and turn down our own will. This is the only way to learn the incessant, 24/7, prayer.
You may say that you have nothing to do with it, and that nothing depends on you. It does, and it does a whole lot. If you pray and live with God all the time, thousands of people will be saved around you. If you come in contact with people who are in trouble and feel sad, and you comfort and educate them with your words, while having good thoughts and pure insight, do you know how much good you will bring? It is hard to imagine!
Sermon after a Liturgy on January 31, 2016
Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok: It is very hard, and even unbearable, to be living with a seemingly pious person sometimes. This kind of piety is deadly. It is easy to live with a humble person who deems himself the worst of all people. The less we think about ourselves, the easier it is for others to be with us. The less we have, the more we can get in God. This is the law of life. Christ did not have anything in this world, apart from God's love and approval of the Heavenly Father. The good thief did not learn theology but he repented and was the first to enter the paradise. That's why repentance is the one most important thing for us today.
Why is it easy to be around a certain person? It is because he does not demand too much, he always puts himself in the last place, does not draw attention to himself, and always feels that he is unworthy. This is what makes a person really beautiful.
Take another person, who has something. And he needs to demonstrate it to everyone, «I have something. Do you know how spiritually advanced I am? Just wow! I'll tell you now». Here he goes, «I visited these or those elders, you know, I'm experienced in spiritual affairs...» Naturally, it is so boring to listen to all that, because these words aren't useful at all, that person utters them only to show off and to demonstrate that «I know something about spiritual life». Father Nicholas told me, «I don't understand anything; I don't know anything». He was serious. And this is beautiful because it is genuine. Try looking for the genuine things, not fake ones.
We should devote our entire lives to Christ. And then we will be free, and we will not have problems interacting with each other, picking on who said what, who looked at what and how they did it. And then we will trust God, and thanks to it, we will be able to say together with the Apostle, «I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Phil.4:13)» Everything is in God's hands.
Sermon after an Akathist to St Elisabeth on January 31, 2016
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Priest Artemius Tonoyan: We have heard the words of the Gospel today that tell us about the purity we need in order to be close to God, so that he could lay his hand on us, like his children whose thoughts and feelings are simple, bright, and honest.
Sermon after the Liturgy on February 3, 2016
Priest Valery Zakharov: Everything we do, everything we feel must be subject to God's will... It is God who can determine a person's path, and human reasoning cannot possibly show us the right direction in life. People are full of passions; they are self-loving and proud, so if they do not pray to God to correct their lives, they will turn into chaos, full of injustices and hatred. We will inflict pain not only on ourselves but also on other people. I would like our lives to be built according to his commandments and his will. This is why we should test our lives all the time and see if they are pleasing unto God or not.
Sermon after a moleben on February 4, 2016
Priest Valery Zakharov: You can't see another person's spiritual growth but you can see its result. A person was proud and pompous but then he becomes humble. It does not mean that he bends his head down — this is how we perceive humbleness — no, on the contrary, he may raise his head up but he will remember and be mindful of who he is and who God is. He will do his best not to be separated from the Lord, not to go away from him, not to lose him. This will make him and everyone around him happy because God acts through such a person, and joy pours over onto everyone.
Every effort, every instant of pain and suffering that we endure for God's sake, will be rewarded by him a hundred-fold.
Sermon after a Liturgy in the boarding home for children with special needs on February 5, 2016
Priest Alexander Pashkovsky: Sure, we must keep all commandments, although the Holy Fathers say that the commandments are higher than what we can possibly do, they are far too difficult for us. However, it is not our own efforts that we place our trust on, it is God's mercy that can help us.
Sermon after the Liturgy on February 4, 2016