Deliver Us From the Evil One

“Whose voice is that rattling in your brain?”

The following words of St. Silouan are fairly straightforward. God give us grace and good hearts to hear him.

If you think evil of people, it means you have an evil spirit in you whispering evil thoughts about others. And if a man dies without repenting, without having forgiven his brother, his soul will go to the place where lives the evil spirit which possessed his soul. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

What is Forgiveness Sunday? (included are readings in greek)

We enter today the period of the Great Fast in preparation for Pascha. We are called to repent, to forgive, to pray, to fast from food and passions remembering the exile of Adam from Paradise banished because of uncontrolled desire to eat from the tree. It is the Sunday of Forgiveness. Reconciliation with God and restoration from the exile of sin is given to all who seek it through repentance and confession. We make a beginning in forgiving one another and asking for forgiveness which is the purpose of the special Vespers this afternoon. Our relationship with God is not outside and distinct from our personal relationships.

God is love. He makes the rain to fall and the sun to shine on both the good and the evil so that all have a chance to apprehend His love and repent. If we show God-like love in forgiving one another we shall also be forgiven. Full of gratitude to God for this promise and experience of forgiveness of our own sins we extend this forgiveness to all who trespass against us. In forgiving one another we release ourselves from the heavy chains of pride which imprison our souls. If we do not forgive one another we can have no communion with the God of forgiveness. We remain in the self exile of pride and outside of salvation. But today we are called to freedom through the cross of struggle against sin. Sorrowing for our sins we rejoice that these holy days lie before us in which we can draw closer to the great love and mercy of God. In our ascetical strivings we are warned not to let our right hand know what our left hand is doing. We are not to count, nor advertise our fasting which is a tool and not an end in itself. The Great Fast is not essentially about food but about returning to God. There is no evil in food nor in the body which needs it to live but our return to God is not possible when the soul is subject to the body and to the uncontrolled desires and appetites of fallen man. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

STRUGGLERS WILL BE SAVED

jesus confessional 1By Archpriest Aleksiy Uminskiy Translated by Zhanna Menshikova

If we understand that confession is not merely a conversation with a priest but one’s turning to God, then it should be treated by a penitent not as an opportunity to receive advice and consolation from a wise and kind priest, but as the way to turn to Christ through one’s own spiritual labours. As the Holy Fathers say: «God saves us, but not without our participation». The Sacrament of Penance can be performed in various ways subject to the circumstances of one’s life. A penitent can repent in front of a priest, who is using a stole and prayerbook, or the penitent can repent outside the church without any of the mentioned attributes, as it was the case over the period of religious persecution. The only thing neccesary for the sacrament to take effect is the repentance itself. The sacrament may not have effect even if all conditions of the procedure are met with, that is, the repentance has been received by the priest with the stole, prayerbook, cross and Gospel, all the prayers have been said, the sinner’s head has been covered with the stole and the remission of sins has been granted. How does this sacrament work then? As we have already mentioned, this is one of the most mysterious sacraments. Everything in it can be characterised as ineffable, indescribable or inexplicable. Only by performing the outer part of the rite can we consciously participate in the sacrament. As much as it is beyond our understanding to describe how God created the world with the Word, so much it is impossible to describe how God re-creates man. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »