His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus: Sermon at Pre-Sanctified Divine Liturgy during the Pastoral Conference.
Sermon at Pre-Sanctified Divine Liturgy at the Pastoral Conference
(delivered at the Church of the Nativity of the Most-Holy Mother of God, Albany, NY)
Dear in the Lord Reverend Concelebrants!
With God's help, we have gathered as we have in years past to make confession and partake of the Holy Mysteries.
Great Lent is a time of repentance. The Holy Church desires that as we pass through this Lenten time, we come to recognize the fuss of our earthly lives, to which we have become so bound by passion, by which we have become enchained. Yes, it is difficult, especially for those of us immersed in daily life; it is hard for us to serve and work for the Living and True God. That is why the Holy Church , meeting us halfway, calls upon us during the days of Great Lent with special urgency to find the heavenly fatherland we have lost—the Kingdom of Heaven . We can do this with the help of the Holy Church , through fasting, through prayer, through the mystery of repentance. In the mystery of repentance we can cleanse ourselves from all spiritual filth, which draws us in and does not allow us to elevate our spiritual gaze towards our Savior.
In our daily life, when we are covered in dirt, we wash it off; likewise we must clean off and cleanse our spiritual selves in the bath of repentance. Let us pray the Lord to grant us true repentance, let us spill tears of repentance, then we will attain God's mercy, the forgiveness of our sins and lawlessness. If we embark upon this path of constant vigilance over ourselves, it will bring us spiritual benefit, and it will lead to our lost heavenly inheritance, to the bliss of Eden .
Let us cleanse our souls in the podvig of fasting and prayer and the mystery of repentance, so that we may see the Resurrected Christ!
O Lord Jesus Christ, grant us the strength of body and spirit, so that we may travel the remaining time of Great Lent with benefit for our souls and in spiritual joy to celebrate Your Glorious Resurrection! Amen.