The source of this spiritual power is here, on Makovets Hill. After all, it is no coincidence that many key events in our history were associated with the Holy Trinity–St. Sergius Lavra, with St. Sergius and with the power that has been poured out through him on our world and the people who come to him.
With simple, often popular and ingenuous words, Fr. Ambrose not only denounced sin, but penetrated into the penitent’s soul, expelling tears of repentance from the sinner and the readiness to trust completely the father-confessor, who, behind outward severity always had complete and perfect love.
Continuing on the theme of modernism, I want to mention why there is spiritual danger in it. Because a truncated, distorted Orthodox faith, a certain ersatz or stub of it—which the modernists propose rebuilding for themselves—is deprived of the power of grace.
The recently reposed, venerable Archpriest Nicholai Vedernikov talks about famous and remarkable people he knew personally in the Soviet music world as well as in the Russian Orthodox Church of the Soviet era, about Patriachs Sergiy and Alexy I, the upbringing of chidren, and life after death.
That’s what St. Seraphim of Sarov said, “The goal of Christian life is to aquire the grace of the Holy Spirit”. But how do we do that? We can acquire it by using all the means that we have at our disposal. What should we seek the most? Our meeting with Christ.
Only a handful of specialists now know about a liturgical rite called “the Furnace Act” practiced in Russia from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, and mentioned as early as the tenth century in Byzantium. It was a rite that was celebrated on the great feasts. With this rite also began the forefeast of the Nativity of Christ.
A few days before the great feast of the Nativity of Christ we talked with Archpriest Valerian Krechetov, a famous confessor and preacher, and rector of the Church of the Protection of the Mother of God in the Akulovo village near Moscow. The subject of our talk was: How can we prepare ourselves to experience the great Christian feasts more attentively?
Why is fasting necessary? For several reasons. The most obvious (and I think the most understandable) reason consists in the fact that a person simply needs to have inner discipline. And in this sense, fasting is a disciplinary measure. We cannot simply live according to the principle of “I want”: I want this, I want that.