For us, brothers and sisters, who behold the holy death of the righteous one, let his zeal for divine truth prevent us from the lawlessness of those whom he rebuked, and let our souls be inspired to speak the truth, to love truth, and to stand for God’s righteousness—perhaps even unto death itself.
Jesus’s flight into Egypt at the instructions of an angel of the Lord to preserve Him from the death that Herod had devised for Him gives us also an example to follow on the paths of our own lives. We can also encounter in various forms something similar to what happened with our Savior—that is, danger and persecution.
Dear brothers and sisters, there is nothing we more often encounter in life than misfortunes and sorrows! What should we do amidst all these misfortunes in order to keep ourselves from harm, to not be conquered but to become conquerors?
However, despite the high dignity and significance of this virtue, there is very little Christian humility in us. The spirit of open or concealed pride and vainglory possesses us, so that nearly every one of us thinks very much and highly of himself and very little and lowly of others.
In offering daily prayers for its reposed children, the Holy Church encourages all the faithful do this, so that they would with one voice and one heart offer fervent prayers to the Throne of God, asking that He give rest in blessed places to the souls of our relatives who have fallen asleep.
Our people love to call the Mother of God by special names appropriate to her heavenly protection and mercy. And the Mother of God has not left this prayer unanswered, but has given speedy help to everyone who has asked.
Our prayers are like a lifesaver that we throw to our neighbor in a difficult moment. Therefore, how good it will be for that person who fulfilled his Christian duty and prayed when we all will meet there beyond the grave, seeing one another face-to-face, and he will hear gratitude from his fellow man for helping them! And conversely, how bitter will be the reproach of those who did not help their friends and relatives by their prayers in perilous times!
Made a little lower than the angels (cf. Ps. 8:6), the king to whom were subject all the earthly animals, man in paradise did not consider himself pleased with his state. Man desired what was not according to his organic, created nature, and thus was the first great sin committed.
Now more than ever we must remember this admonishment, for especially now many are dormant and sleeping. The sleep of the soul is not bodily sleep, which strengthens the body, but rather, it is an unhealthy sleep, a painful slumber in which people chase after vanity, thinking they are living a true life, forgetting about the soul, about God, and about the future eternal life.
Righteous Symeon was found worthy to be such not only because he received the Youth in his arms, but particularly because he bore Christ in his heart together with the Father and Holy Spirit. Thereby, not only the elder Symeon has been granted the high dignity of bearing Christ in his arms and being a God-Receiver, but many others have been able to know this honor.
Dear brothers and sisters, having such a great multitude of saints shining forth in our Russian land, we should rejoice and be comforted, that we are not alone, but we have in Heaven our older brothers, our protectors and intercessors, who see all of our needs and hear all of our prayers and lamentations. Let us turn to them today with a heartfelt prayer for the Russian land and for the salvation of our souls, that they might by their prayers implore for us the mercy and grace of God: All saints of our land, pray to God for us! Amen.
When amidst a distracted and sinful life you suddenly feel a revulsion for sin, and under the influence of bright thoughts you get the desire to change your way of life, it means that your guardian angel has found a serendipitous moment to place before your inner eyes sin as it really is, in all its foulness.
By the good master of the house in this parable is meant God the Heavenly Father, Who continually calls us to His supper—that is, the supper in the Kingdom of Heaven, which was prepared for us from the creation of the world, inherited through the acceptance of faith in our Redeemer, Christ the Savior, and which will be revealed toward the end of this world.
This parable teaches us that, accepting faith, we must accompany it with good deeds, which can and must support our spiritual life. The foolish virgins, going out to meet the Bridegroom, did not prepare the oil of good deeds for their lamps. The wise stored up good deeds along with their lamps in order to meet the Bridegroom worthily. So too our life must be a preparation for meeting the Lord, and for the rest of our lives we must constantly work towards the acquisition and preservation of living faith and burning love of God, the Source of life, and love of one’s neighbors.
Thus we see, dear brothers and sisters, that the main cause of our country’s salvation from destruction was the firm Orthodox faith of our ancestors. When hope in human strength was no more, then all the true children of the Church and Fatherland placed a three day fast on themselves and prayed to the Mother of God before her Kazan icon. Their prayer was heard.