In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
In the Gospel Christ the Savior calls us to love even our enemies, even those who hate us, even those who persecute us, even those who pursue us—everyone. To relate to everyone with love, all-encompassing forgiveness, and affectionate kindness.
Many ask themselves: Is this possible? Can I truly do this? Isn’t this a kind of hypocrisy? Because I sometimes say that I forgive everyone, but do I really forgive them with all my heart? After all, we repeat these words everyday: “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Forgive all those who have sinned against us and forgive us, because we forgive them. How can we accomplish this so that it would really be from our whole heart?
There are people who leave Christ’s Church because of this, who depart from the Gospel of Christ, precisely because they cannot do as Christ says. And people even sometimes say that this kind of Christian morality is a form of weakness. However, if we take a look, really take a look at our souls and hearts, then we’ll see that this is not the case at all. In fact, if a person becomes loving, truly loving; forgiving, truly forgiving; and praying, truly praying for his enemies, then we can later see how that person becomes an example for us. We will see it later, especially after his life is over, and when the Church speaks of him and the great deeds he accomplished. Then, in this case we will truly see that this was not weakness but to the contrary, strength. And what strength! Why? Because in for the heart to be in such a state that it can forgive authentically and love authentically, the heart must change. And it is not easy to change our own hearts. This is strength. This is a struggle.
Every Christian from the moment of his baptism or conscious arrival at baptism in life (if we were baptized in childhood), from that moment becomes an ascetic struggler, should be an ascetic struggler, and cannot be any other way. What does this mean? It does not mean that everyone should become monks. This doesn’t mean that each should change his manner of life outwardly or even in a certain sense inwardly. It only means one thing: that each of us should struggle with ourselves, with our egoism, with our selfishness, with everything that stands in the way of our relationship with other people. And if we succeed in breaking our own pride, our own selfishness, our own egoism and soften our own hearts, then we can become, as St. Seraphim of Sarov said, “lights for others”. “Acquire the spirit of peace,” he said, “and thousands will be saved around you!” And such a person becomes luminous, giving something new in human life; and everything changes in human relationships, everything becomes perfectly special. This is what Christ the Savior is calling us to. For this we need to first of all acquire an unshakeable, fervent faith in the truth of Christ’s words, in the truth of His way. Then the Holy Spirit will descend into our hearts, as St. Serpaphim said, and as the apostle Paul said before him: “And the Spirit Himself will pray in us and give us the strength, true strength and not human strength” (cf. Rom. 8:26) to love and forgive, bless and pray for all without exception. Amen.