Fr. Andrew Lemeshonok: “Holiness Is a Whole New Life”

Each of us has a heavenly patron praying for us before the throne of God. It takes faith to recognize a saint. Holiness cannot be discerned through binoculars or a telescope.  We must feel it with our heart. Similarly, our connection with God becomes restored through our heart, our saints, the Mother of God and the Guardian Angel.

The spiritual world does not exist for materialists busy with providing food, sleep, clothes etc. It’s not that these things aren’t important, it’s just that we know that they are not a top priority. Because when our soul hurts, nothing can bring us joy any more. When a person is tormented by the emptiness and waste inside his soul, how can you compensate for these costs and losses?

Perhaps we are only beginning to understand that our life depends not on external circumstances and not on the way our family or benefactors treat us. It depends on how we live it before God. Holiness is a whole new life. “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal.  20). We are afraid to give our whole life to God, and this causes us to start ‘bargaining’ with Him, kind of saying, “OK, I have said my prayers and I have done something good for God, and now it’s time to do something for myself”. I think that without God’s help we cannot not really give ourselves to Him. Without the Holy Spirit, we will continue making these ‘deals’ and will end up keeping more for ourselves. But when the Spirit of God lives in a person and touches his heart, everything is different. Such a  person discovers the ‘wings’ of faith, hope and love and flies on these wings to Heavenly Jerusalem. At this point he may not be able to see what it’s really like, but he begins to feel something already. He feels the fullness of life. These rare moments give us the opportunity to live for years in a struggle with ourselves, the world and the devil.

Our love for God overcomes our fear, unbelief and doubt, and we enter the joy of the Lord. Today we abide in this joy, but we lose it easily, because there is much grief in this world and besides we see some of our qualities that prevent us from living with God. If this becomes our goal, then we have to live through all these stages before the change comes. There are different goals in life. Sometimes a person says, “I want to become an actor” – and become an excellent actor, “I want to become a musician” – and become a musician, “… a businessman” – and become a businessman. You can become anything you want. But if we say, “Lord, I don’t want anything, I just want to become a saint”… The Gospel has all the guidelines telling us how we need to live.

It is important that we do not deceive ourselves or play any roles, but try to sincerely live our lives before God and before our neighbors. This is not difficult for us, although our sin prevents us from being sincere. Sometimes we are afraid to say or do something because we value someone else’s opinion and we don’t want to make fools of ourselves. But “the last will be first” (Matthew 20:16). “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord rescues them from them all” (Ps. 33: 20).

Maybe there are people here who want to become saints. I personally am afraid to become a saint, because I feel as if I am not quite good enough. How can I be holy if I can barely handle being normal? But every French soldier carries a marshal’s baton in his knapsack. We need to hold on to this idea of becoming holy and persevere in our attempts to acquire the Holy Spirit, so that not a single bad thought, feeling or word remains in us; so that everything in us abides in the love of God and His beauty? Can you imagine what kind of life it would be?! Heaven on earth. “To the pure all things are pure”. A positive thinker sees everything as good. But sometimes our pride makes us gloomy and discouraged by planting the thought that something is wrong, although we may not even know what it is. God will take care of everything, just use the ‘direct link’ with Him. It works perfectly every time. Sometimes all it takes is a thought, for the Lord to hear and fulfil our desire. People have often told me, “How scary, I just thought of it, and suddenly it came true”.  This is how God controls us all; this is how closely He is in touch with us. But sometimes we don’t want to have a connection with Him because we have different connections and a different communication.

I would like us to have more communion with God, so that we may begin to build our lives through Him. What does God say about the way we should live? “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” 11: 29). Let us learn meekness and humility, so that there is peace in us and so that the ugliness of this world does not touch our hearts. If grace abides in us, then thousands of people will be saved around us. This is especially true of our neighbours. But since we do not have enough grace, we are at war with our neighbors, fighting and arguing with them. We should not be doing this.

Let’s be grateful to God. And let us please our saints today with some kind deed or word.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds

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