Let us cultivate within ourselves every kind of love and heartfelt attraction to God, to Christ, to His holy Church. Let us give ourselves no rest until Christ, His Church, and the saints are dear to us not only in times of trouble, but also when we have no troubles, when we have nothing to implore, and there remains only to rejoice in the Lord and praise Him.
In simplicity and humility of heart, those who resort to the prayers of the saints, especially to the Mother of God before her icons, which are everywhere glorified by miracles, will never be ashamed in their hope, but will receive ever-present help.
Blessed, brethren, are all those of us who haven’t lost the ability to satisfy the hunger of our souls through hearing the word of God and the prayers of the Church, who willingly hurry here according to the commandment of the Lord and the Apostles.
Have you fallen into temptation? You will find the greatest consolation there. Have you fallen into sins? You will find countless healings. Have you fallen into poverty or some other misfortune? You will see many harbors.
The Sunday of the Samaritan Woman again recalls how from ordinary water, the Lord raised the Samaritan Woman’s thoughts to the comprehension of the water of life, and from bodily to spiritual thirst, that is, to the thirst for hearing His word, to the thirst for the grace of the Holy Spirit, Who arouses spiritual thirst in people.
Let us fear this “emptying of the spiritual house” and the petrification of our hearts; and all of us, the New Israel, especially we pupils of the spiritual school, are called to be not only the vineyard of the Lord, but also the workers in Christ’s vineyard, so the Lord might not say to us: Behold, your house is left unto you desolate…
If someone in a crowd shouts, “Fire!”—won’t everyone immediately lose their calm and composure of soul and start looking for an exit; and if there is no exit, then won’t they be overcome by fear that makes them forget everything and look only for some way to save their lives? Well, the holy Church is crying out, “The judgment is at the doors! The fire of Gehenna is already burning in many souls!”
Christ would have liked to abide visibly with the apostles forever, but the world, hating Christ, was unable to contain His sojourn with it. The world, hating Christ, could condemn Him again and again to death. The world could no longer behold Christ because of its wickedness, which the Holy Spirit, having come into the world, was to convict.
The holy Church wants to prick our souls with the spectacle at which the angelic powers marvel with trepidation: as the Master Who “rules the ungovernable waters of the heavens… is embraced by the flowing waters,” as He Who adorns the heavens with clouds is adorned Himself with the waters of Jordan, as the Creator of man Himself is stripped bare to cover the nakedness of Adam, to vest him anew in the light garments of spiritual rebirth, and to warm by these garments the fallen human soul cooled from the winter of passions.
Even if only St. Andrew and Epiphanius saw the Protection of the Mother of God, don’t we know that her Divine Protection invisibly spreads across the whole world? Could it be that the one who from the very first days when her Divine Son began His preaching to the world asked Him about the wine running out at the marriage in Canaan of Galilee, would after departing to heaven cease to ask and pray for the human race?
How often and with what indifference do we abandon the word of God, which is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12), and turn to earthly wisdom, the rudiments of the world (Gal. 4:9; Col. 2:8), which does not in the least reveal to us the divine wisdom hidden throughout the world and in the life of mankind!
“The Lord of all endures circumcision, and He circumcises man’s sins, for He is good.” This is the meaning of today’s Church feast. The Circumcision was established by God and commanded through Abraham to all the chosen people of the Jews. It was a sign of entering into the Covenant with God, the seal of the promise to be always in Obedience to Him from childhood, to be faithful to Him unto the shedding of blood.