St Seraphim of Sarov writes on despair: `As the Lord works for our salvation, so the devil, that killer of men, works to lead man into despair.' Judas the betrayer was little of soul and untested in battle, and therefore the devil, seeing him in despair, attacked him and forced him to suicide. But Peter, the firm rock, when he fell into great sin in the testing time of battle, did not despair nor lose the presence of the Spirit, but wept bitterly from a full heart, and the devil seeing this, fled from him as from a flaming fire. And, my brethren, St Antiochus teaches that, when despair descends upon us, we must not surrender to it but, strengthened and protected by our holy Faith, say resolutely to the wicked spirit: `What bast thou to do with us, thou who bast fallen away from God, thou fugitive from heaven and slave of wickedness? Thou darest in no wise do us harm, for Christ the Son of God has dominion over us and over all. But thou, O thou murderer, get thee away from us! Strengthened by His precious Cross, we trample upon thy serpent head!'
Let me ponder on the Lord Jesus as the leader: 1. Who went into battle against Satan. 2. Who went into battle against the sin in man. 3. Who took up the defence of good against evil in the world. 4. Who conquered Satan, sin and death.
-on how true Christians will encounter hatred from the world.
`And ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake' (Lk. 21:17).
All who love themselves more than God will hate the followers of the Lord Jesus.
All who love the body more than the soul will hate the followers of the Lord Jesus.
All who love this world more than the eternal Kingdom of God will hate the followers of the Lord Jesus.
All who love sin more than virtue will hate the followers of the Lord Jesus.
The number of those who hate the name of Jesus is sometimes greater and sometimes less. But, whatever their number, do not be afraid, my brethren, for the number of angels and saints is enorm-ous. The number of your kinsmen in heaven; that is, of those who love the Lord Jesus, is greater than the number of the stars in the heavens and the grains of sand on the sea-shore. Oh, fear not; Christ is with you, and that means that you are always stronger than those who hate you. When the Most Strong is on your side, you are always many in number, for you are always stronger than any number of your adversaries.
O Lord Jesus, almighty Lord, may Thine aid ever be with us, that we may ever stay close to Thee and be free from fear. To Thee be glory and praise for ever. Amen.
* From "The Prologue from Ochrid", by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic - Lazarica Press - Birmingham 1985
Four Book Edition - Translated by Mother Maria - Dates based on old church calendar.
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