The Lord and His Grace Will Make No Long Tarrying!

A Homily for Clean Saturday, After Holy Communion

Photo: Photo:     

O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! (Deut. 5:29).

The Lord Himself thus spoke with Moses before Sinai about the Israelite people. The manifestation of miraculous signs at the holy mountain had such a benevolent effect on the heart and spirit of the obstinate sons of Israel, making them God-fearing and zealous for the Law, that for the Sinai Lawgiver Himself there was nothing left to wish for other than that this wondrous disposition of heart and spirit would remain forever in the chosen people: O that there were such an heart in them … always.

Having borne witness over the past week of our unflagging zeal for the church of God, knowing that you cleansed yourselves yesterday of all sinful impurities in the font of repentance, and peradventure the font of your own tears, seeing now the joy radiating on your faces from the mystical union with the Divine Bridegroom of hearts and souls, and understanding thereby the blessed state of your whole being, how could we, brethren, not but have for you and utter to you the blessed wish of Sinai: O that there were such an heart in you, not only now, but always? Who will make it so that you remain forever as you are now, with the same purity of heart and soul, with the same holiness of thought and desire, with the same humility and fidelity?

And who can grant us this but Thee, from Whom comes every good and perfect gift? Thou hast sent down grace to place a beginning of repentance for us; do Thou grant the power to continue and complete that which Thou hast begun. Do Thou Thyself confirm that which Thou hast wrought for us (Ps. 67:29).

And the Lord and His grace will make no long tarrying, beloved! For if a farmer doesn’t leave the field of his labors until all that he has sown in it ripens and is gathered into storehouses, all the more will the Wisdom of God never leave your hearts and souls without especial help, without increas[ing] the harvest of your righteousness (2 Cor. 9:10) within them, and gathering all the fruits of faith and love from them.

All the doubts, all the danger is from ourselves: Will we preserve the seeds of faith and love? Will we allow them to ripen within us and bear fruit without hindrance? Will we allow them to be trampled by irrational animals—the base passions of the flesh, or be pecked at by the birds of the heavens—the vain exaltation of the mind and the pride of life?

Therefore, having heretofore offered up prayers and petitions for you, we now consider it our duty to address a diligent plea to you that you, now laying aside your observable and temporary preparation,1 might not cease your spiritual diligence over yourselves and care for your souls; that you might use all possible means to prolong and strengthen forever in yourselves that holy disposition of heart and spirit that you now have, and that you might engage in this holy labor immediately upon leaving this church. For what would happen to a plant, grown with great difficulty in a greenhouse, were it suddenly taken out into the winter cold? It would lose all its flowers and wither away within a few minutes. It’s the same with the flower of purity and spiritual innocence that blossomed during the time of repentance and confession, if after leaving here you continue your former way of life and indulge in sinful habits, or take the same obstinate paths that you walked before, or rather, upon which you fell continually.

Do not do this, beloved, and do not become your own enemies! Thus, upon returning home diligently reflect upon how you ought to start behaving from henceforth—what to completely give up from your former life, what to accept, and what to change. Having considered your future behavior, begin immediately, without delay, behaving according to your resolution. And living a new life, never cease to subject yourselves to strict examination, and then immediately amend any deviation from the goal.

A true Great and Holy Lent is the best time to confirm yourself forever in faith and good morals because throughout it, many temptations of the world don’t exist at all, or they lose force for us. Therefore, you will have every convenience to immediately engage in the great work of your salvation—and with God’s help, to accomplish it as you should.

Neglect this not, beloved! Forsake if possible all other matters and engage in this alone. For what profit is it if you gain the world and destroy your soul? It’s better to lose everything, even to suffer everything, than to die in sins.

And who knows how far each of us is from his last hour? Oh, how great it will be to enter the Holy Week of Christ’s sufferings with a pure heart and soul! With what inexplicable joy we will greet the feast of the Resurrection of the Lord! For then you’ll celebrate not only the Lord’s Resurrection from the tomb, as before, but also your own resurrection from the death of sin, which has hitherto hindered you from tasting any true joy.

As we prayed throughout this week, we will continue to call upon the Lord throughout the entire duration of Holy Lent that He Himself Who has begun a good work in you will complete it (Phil. 1:6) with His all-powerful grace! Amen.

St. Innocent of Kherson
Translation by Jesse Dominick


1 St. Innocent means that as the people have just communed, they can put aside the fasting and prayers in preparation for Communion for a time, until they begin preparing to commune the next time.—Trans.

Dr. David C. Ford3/12/2022 10:36 pm
Thank you very much for this wonderful, powerful, inspiring sermon and your excellent translation! May this be a great blessing for us all!
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 4000 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 4000

to our mailing list

* indicates required