If you value the honor of the holy Church and the salvation of your own souls; if the Dread Judgment of God, now presented before our eyes, isn’t something alien for you, isn’t something of no concern to you, then let us vow now to spend the coming week without those follies and that intemperance that it usually finds us in.
Are there really no means to continue, in full force, not the day but the joy of the Resurrection of Christ? This is precisely what everything in Christianity is directed towards; in this lies the truest Christianity.
Whoever sincerely desires his own salvation does everything that serves for his salvation. Whoever sincerely desires his salvation distances himself from everything that hinders the work of salvation. These two signs are as true as they are simple.
Although our Lord ascended into Heaven and sat down at the right hand of God the Father, and therefore has no need of help from us, on the other hand, this same Lord of ours was pleased to be found among us tangibly, in our churches, in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, and being thus present, He is well-pleased to be subject again to our hardships and needs, as He once was in the Bethlehem manger and in Joseph’s garden.
The future coming of our Lord and Savior has become a subject that no one wants to talk about, and if anyone started talking about it somewhere, he’d seem like a strange man, engaged in matters that don’t deserve the attention of so-called educated people or businessmen.
These days truly are great for the extraordinary events that took place in them; they are truly holy according to that special purity with which true Christians spend them, and which they can bring to anyone who spends these days as he ought.
Tell me, who of us could depict the property and power of prayer better and more fully? I’m not speaking of prayerful thoughts and feelings here, but of the many mysteries and miracles of prayer! And how appreciable it is that this whole image of prayer is composed not by the imagination, as often happens with us, but from actual experience! That’s why every word and expression is so full of life!
Let us be grateful for this care over us, and upon returning home, instead of talking idly about how the anathemas were proclaimed in church, let us examine whether something in our morals and our lives is subject to anathema.
The holy Church, among other subjects of petitions, teaches us to pray about our prayer itself, that it might be as it ought: Let my prayer arise, in Thy sight as incense. “Arise” from what? From heaviness and encumbrance, from coarseness and impurity, lethargy and lifelessness.
Now it is high time to awake out of sleep, for can we really remain in captivity to our passions, sin, and the devil until the end of our lives? Can we really wait for the abyss of hell to open up under our feet and swallow us forever?
The coming to earth of the Son of God—God’s appearance in the flesh—is such an extraordinary event, brethren, the likes of which there never has been nor ever will be, in comparison with which all other events mean practically nothing.
It seems like but a momentary neglect of duty, but it rages for an entire eternity; it’s committed at a certain, specific point on Earth, but it shakes all of Heaven; it seems to harm but one person; but the Son of God Himself must suffer to blot it out!
You want to taste the Passover of the Lord, to commune of the Body and Blood of our Savior; and our Savior and Lord wants to taste the Passover with you, to communicate likewise with your spirit and body, to be united with each of you forever.
Truly, there is no one to deliver us! For the spirit itself, destined to bear the cross of the flesh, contains within itself a multitude of crosses. Oh, how man in this present sinful state is divided, contradictory, self-hostile, self-tormenting!
But what to do, brethren, for those of us who, in the time of spiritual wandering in the desert of fasting, did not stop turning our faces and hearts to Egypt, murmured at the bitter waters of repentance, and then, when Moses received the law on the mount, worshiped the golden calf at the foot of the mountain?
For those who celebrate the commemoration of the miraculous appearance of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God, nothing could be more joyous than if we announced that this grace-filled Protection is spread even over us. But who could be the bearer of these glad tidings? Whose eye is capable of seeing the Most Holy Intercessor, “in the air, praying to Christ for us?” There are no obvious mystical seers like blessed Andrew and Epiphanius among us; and the hidden mysteries known only to the Lord will remain hidden unto the ages.
Shall we ever behold this glory of our Lord? We shall behold it, for in His last, great prayer, the Lord prayed about this to His Father: I will, He prayed, that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me (Jn. 17:24). The angels appeared to the Apostles after the Lord’s Ascension, witnessing that the Lord will come to all of us on the last day in the same appearance as the Apostles beheld Him ascending into Heaven (cf. Act. 1:2).