God gave us everything for free
First of all, we need to love God, because for this temporary life He gave us such a large, comfortable earth, a great variety of plants, springs, rivers, seas, fish, animals, as well as air, fire, day, night, sky, stars, sun, and moon. All this was created for us. What did we have to do in return? Nothing. God gave everything to us for free. He made us people, not animals; pious Orthodox Christians, not heretics and wicked people. Even though we sin a thousand times an hour, He, like a father, has mercy on us, does not kill us, and does not cast us into hell. He, ready to embrace us, is waiting for us to repent, stop committing iniquities, and begin to do good, confess and reform, in order to accept us into His arms, kiss us, open the doors of Paradise to us, so that we may rejoice forever. Shouldn’t we love such a God, such a sweet Lord and Master?
Pride is the first daughter of the devil
When a person repents, prays, and fasts, the devil becomes scorched and leaves him. When the first rank of angels fell from glory and turned into demons, the other nine ranks humbled themselves, fell on their faces, and bowing to the Most Holy Trinity, remained in their ranks to rejoice forever.
We, my brothers, should also understand what evil pride is: it cast the devil out of the glory of the angels and prepared for him eternal torment. Humility kept the Angels in heaven, and they eternally rejoice, seeing the great glory of the Holy Trinity. We must also know that the All-Good God does not accept the proud, but loves the humble. And not only God, but we ourselves look at a humble person as an Angel, and a proud person as a devil. Let us avoid pride, since it is the first daughter of the devil, the path leading to destruction. But let us take care to acquire angelic humility, which opens the way to Paradise for us. Here's a vivid example: when we see a woman, ugly, in torn clothes, crippled, but humble, she seems to us like an angel. When we see a woman in beautiful clothes, with precious jewelry, sparkling like the sun, but proud, shameless, like a “counterfeit coin,” she seems to us like the devil and we turn away so as not to see her.
A body without a soul is like a stone
There were no men and women on earth. The All-Good God took earth, clay, and created man, breathed life into him and gave him an immortal, angelic soul. Just as women mix flour and water to obtain bread, so God mixed clay with spirit to form man. We must reflect on what the soul is and what the body is. The body is earth, clay, and tomorrow it will become food for worms, and the soul will forever rejoice in Paradise if it has done good, and burn in hell if it has done evil.
Brothers, the body that we see is not the man himself, but only the garment of the soul. The soul is a person, it sees, hears, talks, walks, learns to read and write, and learns sciences and crafts. It gives life to the body, and does not allow it to decompose. As soon as the soul leaves the body, the body immediately begins to rot and becomes food for worms, because by itself, the body is not a person. The body has eyes but it does not see, it has a mouth but it does not speak, it has hands but it cannot grasp, it has legs but it cannot walk. A body without a soul is like a stone.
You are the root of your children
When you cut a tree, its branches immediately dry up, but if you water its roots, the branches are filled with strength. So you, parents, can be likened to a tree: you are the root of your children, and when you “water” yourself with fasts, prayers, alms and good deeds, God protects your children too. And if you “wither” from sins, God kills your children too, sending you to hell along with them. If an apple tree produces sour apples, who is to blame: the apple tree or the apples? The apple tree. So, do the right thing, parents, so that your apples become sweet.
Forgiveness enlightens and scorches
Brothers, forgiveness has two properties: on the one hand, it enlightens, on the other, it scorches. I, Christians, advise you to forgive your enemies for your own good. And you, who offended your brothers, when you hear that I told them to forgive you, do not rejoice, but cry and howl! This forgiveness will burn you if you do not give back what you took from your brothers, and if you do not cry with tears for the forgiveness of those you have offended. You will not be forgiven, even if all confessors, patriarchs, bishops, priests, and laity forgive you. Who has the ability to grant you forgiveness? Only from the one offended by you. You must repay the one you offended fourfold, and then you will receive forgiveness - this is what it says in the Holy Gospel.
My brothers, tell me, is the sun bright or dark? Everyone knows that it is bright and illuminates everything. But there are some animals (for example, owls and bats) that go blind in the light of the sun, but see well at night. So it is with the Divine Mysteries: they enlighten a good person and make him equal to the Angels, but they darken a sinner and liken him to the devil. Fire does not burn everything: gold, for example, having been in fire, becomes even brighter and purer. Let us also become like gold, and not like brushwood, destined to be burned.
Properties of love
Love, my brothers, has two properties: to give us strength to do good and to kill evil. Imagine: a mother takes bread to eat, but at this time her child begins to cry. Forgetting about food, she rushes to console her child. What motivates a mother? Love for a child. Or, say, a child cries when his mother is sick. And then she immediately forgets about her illness and hurries to her child. What motivates her? Love. If I love you, then my love fetters my hands, and I can neither kill you, nor rob you, nor betray you, nor take revenge, nor do you any other harm.
If I tell you that I love you, then I must love not only you, but also your child - only then is my love true. If I say: “I love you, but I hate your son,” my love for you is false and worthless. If I say that I love God (even though I don’t see Him), but I don’t love you, my brother, whom I see every day, then in that case I am nothing more than a liar. Therefore, my brothers, if we want to be saved, let us not look here on earth for anything other than love for God and our brothers.