Among them had been individuals who had been by no means fascinated about problems with state and public life, in secular, worldly affairs and wholly embraced just one want – to be in fixed communion with God.
For them, the commandment of God, which our Lord Jesus Christ known as the primary and best commandment within the legislation, was infinitely vital: “Love the Lord your God with all of your coronary heart, and with all of your soul, and with all of your thoughts, and with all of your power” (Mark 12:30).
They went to the African deserts, to the impenetrable forests of the north of Russia, and had been occupied solely with prayerful communion with God. These had been the chosen ones of God, like Paul of Thebes, who lived for 90 years in full solitude within the African desert, like Anthony and Arsenios the Great, Makarios of Egypt, Ioannikios the Great; like the nice Mary of Egypt and Seraphim of Sarov, who so not too long ago lived amongst us, who prayed for a thousand days and a thousand nights within the forest on a flat stone. These had been Angels within the flesh, and everlasting life within the Kingdom of God started for them already throughout their life on earth.
Others, who wholeheartedly believed within the Lord Jesus Christ and beloved Him greater than their lives, had been holy martyrs who endured indescribable torment and dying for Christ. There had been many tens of hundreds of them, and one must discuss them for hours. I’ll solely remind you of the younger magnificence Pelagia, whom the emperor Diocletian, the merciless persecutor of Christians, needed to marry, and he or she most well-liked a fierce dying to marriage with him.
There had been many Saints who fulfilled the second best commandment within the legislation: “Love your neighbor as your self” (Mark 12:31).
These are all those that have fulfilled the fifth beatitude: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7).
Among them, like stars of the primary magnitude, shine Bishop Paulinus of Nola, who bought himself into slavery to the Vandals with the intention to redeem the one son of a widow from their captivity, and blessed Philaret the Merciful, and the Archbishop of Alexandria John the Merciful.
Let us additionally take into consideration these blessed ones who went to the Kingdom of Heaven on the troublesome path of religious poverty – these holy fools who voluntarily endured ridicule, bullying and beatings.
Let us bear in mind the holy Prince Andrei of Smolensk, who didn’t tolerate enmity between princes and being weighed down by the splendor of princely life. He left his princely palace, went to the town of Pereyaslavl-Zalessky, and there he served for 30 years as a sexton on the Church of Saint Nicholas of Myra, hiding his princely dignity.
Is this not an instance of humility for us?! We discover a tremendous instance of endurance and obedience within the lifetime of the Monk Akakios of Sinai. He was appointed to steer the monastic life by a malevolent elder, who usually beat him to the purpose of blood, and for 9 years he suffered beatings and didn’t depart the elder’s obedience.
An ideal instance of endurance was given to us by the Monk Pimen of the Caves, who lay in a stinking sickness all his life and suffered meekly.
We discover wonderful examples of the gravest repentance for horrible sins within the lives of the Venerable James the Wonderworker and the horrible robbers Barbaros, Moses the Black, Patermuthius and David, who had been forgiven by God and even acquired the reward of miracles. Let us bow low earlier than the fearless feat of Metropolitan Philip of Moscow, who fearlessly denounced Tsar Ivan the Terrible in his cruelty and villainy, and allow us to be ashamed of the low cowardice attribute of many people.
However, it’s attainable that you’ll say to me: “You are speaking to us in regards to the nice righteous, about sturdy individuals, however we’re weak individuals, incapable of feats, and we stay in bizarre on a regular basis worries and squabbles.” To this I’ll reply: learn the lifetime of Saint Juliana of Murom (the January quantity of the Lives of the Saints), who, such as you, was not distinguished by any heroism, however by her kindness and love for individuals she acquired the Kingdom of Heaven and was counted among the many Saints by the Church. The lives of all of the Saints function a valuable information for the Christian life.
But it was not the starvation of bread that overtook us, however the starvation of listening to the phrase of God, about which the Prophet Amos speaks (Amos 8:11), and it is extremely troublesome for us to seek out the Lives of the Saints. Whoever has preserved them, learn them with diligence and inform your family members.
May not solely Holy Scripture, the primary supply of religious gentle, but additionally the Lives of the Saints assist you on the troublesome path of fulfilling the commandments of Christ and saving your souls. Amen.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.