“We Live Only Through Our Christ!”Such a brilliant, fiery preacher and chanter of the Divine Liturgy as the bishop of Dimitrov, St. Seraphim (Zvezdinsky), Moscow never saw. It is not without reason that people called him the “Moscow Argyrostom” (Silver-tongued). But his main sermon was his life, which was a complete example of patient, unmurmuring, martyric cross-bearing.
“>Part 1: “We Live Only Through Our Christ!”
On the Divine Liturgy
In the Church we have the hands of Christ, His lips and eyes, as well as His heart. His hands are the rites of the Church, the tongue and lips of Christ are is Gospel, and His eyes are the holy Sacraments, through which he peers into our souls. His heart is the The Divine LiturgyWe should be partakers of the Sacrifice of the Slaughtered Lamb as often as we can, and as long as we are free to do so, since Holy Communion is a great aid for the believer which in turn helps him to fight sin.
Consider the day lost if you have not heard the Liturgy.
Liturgy is a diamond, a wondrous gift of Christ; Liturgy is a river that refreshes and strengthens, flowing from the side of the crucified Jesus; Liturgy is a golden bridge, the only path to eternal life with Christ.
Learn to love Divine Liturgy—it is a photograph of the life of Christ; it is filled with the most profound meaning. And happy is he who draws from this source of joy, life, and wisdom of Christ.
It [Divine Liturgy] is the axis of the whole world. As a wheel can only turn on its axle, so our world, our wheel of life, can only turn if it has the Divine Liturgy, during which the Bloodless Sacrifice is offered.
There is nothing on earth more precious than Divine Liturgy. If you were to gather the all the valuables of the entire world—dig up all the gold and precious stones, raise all the pearls from the bottom of the sea, and lay them all on one side of the scales, and on the other side place the Liturgy served by the simplest priest in the poorest rural church, then the scales would weigh in favor of Divine Liturgy.
If there were no Liturgy the sun would not give its rays, and the earth would cease to give its fruits.
As a mother at times leads her child by the hand, at times sits near him and watches over him, and at times takes him into her arms and caresses, nurtures and feeds him, so does the Lord in all the church services and home prayers as if takes us by the hand, watches us at a distance; but in the Divine Liturgy He takes us into his embrace, seats us next to Himself and feeds us from His table. At all the services besides the Liturgy we talk with the Lord as if by telephone, communicate with Him as if by telegraph. But in the Divine Liturgy we tell our needs to the Lord directly, face-to-face, and personally thank Him and pray to Him.
Divine Liturgy is the window cut out by the Lord to the sinful, unbelieving, adulterous world, through which fresh air enters. If it weren’t for this window, the faithful would suffocate.
The Cross—this is our anchor. The Cross—this is our protection. The merits of the Cross, which we remember every day at the Liturgy, save the world from final destruction.
The whole meaning of this earthly life consists in nothing other than the constant preparation of ourselves to receive the Holy Mysteries of Christ, in labors of prayer, temperance, and sincere repentance.
Every minute of your life, remember that you are On Preparation for Holy Communion. “We must raise the standard”As the Lord said in the Gosples, He that is able to receive it, let him receive it (Mt. 19:12): one person may be capable of living an intense inner life, regularly go to church, and continually search his own conscience—as St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov) says, so that their minds would always swim in the Gospels, in the teachings of Christ. Another person might be so inwardly disposed that it is an ascetic labor for him to receive Communion only twice a year.
“>preparing yourself to receive the Holy Mysteries.
We have to feel that we are a black cloud in order to be illuminated by the lightening flash of Holy Communion.
Communion is the Sun of righteousness that illumines our life, and warms our soul!..
On the spiritual life
The Lord does not cease to care for our souls; He uses every means to free the soul from the power of the devil, to whiten the soul, to lead it into His Heavenly Kingdom. But not only do we not assist the Lord in this, we resist it with all our might, making God’s work more difficult, and increasing the burden of our life.
Scrupulously cleanse your mirror—the heart—with A Guide to ConfessionGenuine Repentance & Confession heals and makes the immortal soul holy. This is the correct way to prepare for Holy Communion.
“>Confession, and then the Lord, the Most Pure Virgin, the angels, the souls of the saints, and Heaven will look into it. But if you don’t cleanse this mirror, if you soil it and let it go, then the devil, hell, and all abomination will look into it and be reflected in it.
The human heart is never empty—in it lives either the Lord or the devil. There can be no emptiness. Man works either for the Lord, or for the devil.
The knowledge of God is not just the mind’s conviction that He exists, but an absolutely extraordinary sensation of His existence and closeness.
All ascetic labors, prayer, and prostrations are only the path to the one goal. The prayer rule that we read is the path. But if the paths do not lead to the goal, they are taken up in vain. If a traveler walks down a road but does not reach the city to which he was headed, then what was the point of his traveling? It is the same with spiritual life: If a person does not reach the goal—to inculcate the remembrance of God in himself, to achieve a state of continually walking before the face of the Lord—it means that his labors of prayer and other ascetic labors were in vain.
When we will continually remember that the Lord is near and watching after us, that He sees our every deed, hears our every word, and knows our every thought, and that even when we sleep there is an Unsleeping Eye watching over us—only then will we cease to sin, because the salvific fear of God will abide in our hearts.