Forgiveness Sunday has come and gone, but the need to continue forgiving our offenders remains. How can we do this when we are greatly offended, when we mentally understand the need for forgiveness but our heart resists it in every way possible?
For some reason, the words of St. Paisios the Athonite and the Holy Hierarch Luke (Voino-Yasenetsky) sound more convincing. One was uneducated in worldly terms but acquired the Holy Spirit and therefore also the gift of insight; the other was the greatest of scientists who thoroughly knew the human body. And they both speak as one about the falsity of the theory of evolution.
The holy, right-believing Prince-Passion-bearers Boris and Gleb were the first saints to be canonized in Rus’. Despite this, many Christians, and especially in our time, do not understand the meaning of their podvig. And really, where is the virtue in being meekly killed? Deacon Valery Dukhanin, Fr. Dimitry Shishkin, and Archpriest Artemy Vladimirov speak about the meaning and importance of the podvig of the holy princes and the last Russian tsar.
In our time, many laypeople ask the question: Why should people of the twenty-first century act according to rules written by monks and for monks in deep antiquity? Why should they read monastic books in which there isn’t even a remote mention of the problems that we face today?
We are now in the fourth week of Great Lent, and many of us feel some cooling compared to the first days due to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. How can we keep a prayerful and focused spirit through the whole of Lent? How can we keep from losing the spiritual fruits acquired in the first days?
It is impossible to imagine a meaningful Christian life without a daily prayer rule. But what should this prayer rule be? How long or short, and consisting of which prayers? How can we prevent our daily prayer rule from becoming purely a formality? What should we pay particular attention to, and what mistakes should we avoid? And what is the most important thing in a prayer rule?
The feast of the Protection of the Mother of God is a feast very warm and dear to us, because in it is expressed the special closeness to us of the Most Pure Virgin. She spreads her veil over all those who pray, regardless of how righteous or pious we are, if only we turn to her with our whole heart.
The Fast is always the possibility to become better, to conquer ourselves, to conquer our bad habits, organize ourselves for spiritual life. If the time of the fast did not come, we would just go on spinning like hamster in its wheel in our earthly affairs and rarely remember any kind of repentance.
The fourth Sunday after Pascha is dedicated to the Gospel of the paralytic, who spent thirty-eight years by the pool of Siloam waiting for healing, and was finally delivered from his serious infirmity by the Savior Himself. That unfortunate man was physically paralyzed, while we are spiritually paralyzed to one or another degree.
The fast is not a diet or temporary vegetarianism. The fast is first of all a spiritual activity by which we attempt to bring our soul and flesh into submission. Fasting teaches us to control our nature, rule over desires that arise, and through this, to achieve the most difficult victory—victory over our own selves.
The seduction of occultism is directly connected with man's first fall into sin. The devil tempted our fore-father and mother by telling them that if they taste of the forbidden fruit, they will receive secret knowledge that will make them powerful, like gods: In the day you eat of it (the forbidden fruit) your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:5).