To my great sorrow, some of you have started going to sectarian gatherings and have been infected with their false teachings.Some have been infected with the false teaching that we shouldn’t pray for the dead, that we shouldn’t give alms for their repose.
The Most Holy Virgin Mary was shown before the bodiless heavenly powers to be blessed among all women. But for Lutherans and all Protestants and sectarians, she is only a pious woman, one of the numberless many, and not deserving any exaltation before them.
Pray as best as you can, sincerely, like small children. Christ hears your prayer, for no matter how weak it is, it rises very high to God, and the Lord accepts all prayers. Don’t be discouraged, don’t be idle, don’t expect your prayer to be freed from distraction quickly and easily.
This great ascetic and desert dweller, St. Ephraim the Syrian, prayed that the Lord give him the spirit of chastity. Could it really be that he had need of that prayer? He considered that he needed to pray for this, and all the saints prayed for this. Why?
Love of power is against the spirit of the Gospel, against the spirit of humility. Nevertheless this passion has a grip on everyone, and there is no one who is not infected with it—even little children.
If you don’t turn from sorrow for the world to sorrow for God, you will perish! Remember the seriousness of despondency. Remember that the heart of a Christian should be filled with the joy of reaching for the light; it should be foreign to the sadness that fills the hearts of sinners.
But I want the thought to reach your heart that not only does this kind of prayer, which works manifest miracles seen by everyone, not only the prayer of the Prophet Ellias, and the prayers of the apostles, prophets, and martyrs work miracles. I want you to understand that any prayer will work miracles.l
Really, did the Lord Jesus Christ, who we glorify amd who we venerate in icons, not living among us? Did the Virgin Mary, who was painted by the apostle and evangelist Saint Luke not live among us? This icon was blessed by the very Theotokos herself, saying that grace would always be with this icon. Do you know how many miracles happen from icons of the Virgin Mary?