Christ said: ‘I am the Way’. If He is the Way, we should follow Him, not outwardly, but from within. And we must remember that on Golgotha and in Gethsemane He was confronted by the hostility of everyone. Alone.
There are times, when the love of Christ touches us that we feel eternity. This cannot be understood rationally. God acts in a manner proper to Himself, which is beyond reason. We must not be too logical in our Christian life.
There are ‘exterior’ signs which allow us to measure how far we are from God: are we following the word of the Gospel? Have we reached perfection, that is, love for the whole world, without distinction between friends and enemies?
There is no difference between the commandments of Christ and the life of God Himself. By abiding in Christ’s commandments, we organically become like Him.
How can we spend the day without sin, that is, in a holy manner? This is our daily concern. How can we transform all our being, our thoughts, our feelings, even our physical reactions, so as not to sin against our heavenly Father, against Christ, against the Holy Spirit, against a human person, against our brother or against any single thing in this life?
‘O Lord, vouchsafe unto us to pass this day without sin’. I have often repeated to you this prayer of the Church. Life without sin on earth opens to us the doors of heaven. It is not a person’s intellectual acquisitions which will save him. It is life without sin which prepares us for life with God in the age to come. The grace of the Holy Spirit teaches us eternal realities, insofar as we live according to the commandments of Christ: Love God thy Creator with all thy being and love thy neighbor as thyself. Yes, always keep these commandments!
Remain in prayer, persevere, go through the day without sin. All the rest will be given by God Himself.
To preserve the grace of the Holy Spirit, we must abstain from every thought which is not pleasing to God, as Staretz Silouan tells us. This is our work. This is our culture. Since it concerns eternal salvation, it is never finished. One begins and one begins again, without ceasing.
We cannot actualize in ourselves the image of God unless we are truly united, as Christ asked of His disciples: Love one another so that the world may know that you are Christ’s.
‘The life of the others is more valuable to me than myself, than my own life’. When you have understood that, there will no longer be any conflicts between you. Resolving a problem or a conflict does not come from better organization, or from a certain way of behaving, but from determination to bear everything. Each one of us must have for the others the love which a mother has.
We must be extremely sensitive to the needs of the others. Then we shall be one, and the blessing of God will always be with us – abundantly.
~Adapted from Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov), Words of Life, translated from the French by Sister Magdalen (Stavropegic Monastery of Saint John the Baptist, Essex)