St. John the Baptist was a preacher of repentance. He warned that the axe is already laid to the root of the tree, and any tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and caste into the fire. This means that the axe is already in position to start hacking away at the roots, and to chop the tree down, but there is still an opportunity for repentance.
Unfortunately, we do not always carefully read the words of prayers; we don’t pay attention, and we don’t understand what “Every man is a liar” means. Further down in the same psalm we read: “Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints.” It can appear to us as a contradiction.
In moments of life’s trials, heavy sorrows, and illnesses, we need to feel the presence of God in our lives reliably, clearly, and convincingly. This feeling, together with the understanding of God’s close sympathy to our sorrows should be found living in our hearts, actively strengthening and consoling us.
She kept all these things in her heart. St. Luke tells us this twice: Everything having to do with her Son was stored up in the spiritual treasure-house, in the interior sanctuary of Mary’s heart. And what that means, among other things, is that she carries in her heart all the members of the Body of her Son: every person who has been united to Christ, who has put on Christ: she is their Mother, because she is Christ’s Mother.
Brothers, what does it mean that the Church calls the end of Mother of God’s earthly life not death, as we usually refer to this moment in the lives of others, but her Dormition, which is the same as repose, or peaceful sleep; and not only does it not grieve or weep by her coffin, but to the contrary sings joyful, triumphant songs to her departure?
St. Tikhon, bishop of Voronezh and Zadonsk and recluse, was a great Russian spiritual writer. He had to live during the time of the godless “enlightenment” of the eighteenth century, and he saw how the ulcer of unbelief was eating away at people’s hearts and minds. His soul ached for the world, although he had left the world. And his words were directed to the world—which means to all of us.
How did the master of the vineyard respond to this? He sent even more servants in the hopes that he might get a different result. But it was no use. The result was the same. And finally the master decided to send his own son while he said to himself “They will respect my son.”
Jesus Christ showed us another way to follow that leads to eternal blessedness on the other side of the grave. And this is the path of leading a true Christian life, which can only be achieved by completely changing our behavior.
Unfortunately, the world has too much religion that does not lead people to transfiguration in holiness. If we think that Christianity provides simply theological ideas, moral precepts, or directions about how to conduct religious services, then we will fail to behold and participate in the glory of our Lord.