Who of us, in dire, agonizing pain is capable of turning to the Lord, presenting Him a request, asking Him to show mercy and to manifest His power, and when the Lord says to us, in our hearts, “I shall come, I shall work this miracle for you”—who of us would have the courage to say, “No, Lord! Thy word is enough!...”
St. Paul gives us some of the characteristics of those who cultivate such death. He tells Titus to “avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile. As for a man who is factious, (meaning one who causes factions or division) after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned.”
The learned Archbishop Theophan (Bystrov) of Poltava is well known as the confessor to the Royal Family of Tsar Nicholas II. This sermon was given in his exile in Bulgaria after the Bolshevik revolution in Russia.
Next, the angel saith that the prayer of Zacharias was heard, and then straightway promiseth that the wife of Zacharias should bear a child.We are not to understand that he had been praying for the birth of a son whilst he was offering the sacrifice according to the liturgy of that time, for we are told that he had given up hope of a son, and no one prayeth for that which he hath no hope of obtaining.
The commemoration day of the saints who shown forth in the Russian land show us that spiritual heaven under which the Russian land was created and lived. Before Holy Prince Vladimir, in the Russian land lived disparate pagan tribes who were constantly at war with each other. Holy Prince Vladimir brought them a new faith, a new inner spiritual state; he gave them a new, all-uniting spirit of life, and thus was one nation formed.
Until the revolution in Russia, there was a universal tradition of reading the “lay order” of the services. In the absence of the priest in church, or at home, the entire family would read part or all of the daily cycle of Church services. We will talk today about what happened to this good tradition, how to revive it, and what benefit it brings for the whole body of the Church.
The Holy Spirit works in Christians, but people deprived of such grace can neither understand nor tolerate it, but try to ridicule it, often from their misunderstanding. But the Spirit of Divine grace also works on them—we just have to show apostolic zeal and labor to bring this Divine grace to the entire world.