FAITH in Christ has existed on earth for 2,000 years now, and is in no way overcome. Hundreds of thousands of people have joyously borne terrible torments out of love for Christ, for faith in Him. And if in present times there have appeared men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the Faith (2 Tim. 3:8) and stood against the Faith and the Church of Christ, all their efforts are in vain: the Lord said that the gates of Hades shall not prevail against His Church (see Matt. 16:18). Let us look at ourselves. Is there among us firm faith and love for Christ? Do we not stifle it with our passions, laziness, doubts?
Ah, friends, without faith in the Lord Christ there is no salvation! We must by all means kindle in ourselves the spirit of faith, that is, stimulate it, feed it with prayer, the Word of God, patience, sincere remembrance of the Saviour, Who suffered for us. All of this can be done every day.
What to do in the morning
When you wake up, first of all let your soul and heart say “Glory to Thee, O Lord, Who has preserved us this night! Glory to Thee, Who has shown us the light! Lord, bless this day for us!”
In doing this, think about how God gives you the day which you could not give to yourself, and devote the first hour, or perhaps even the first quarter hour of the day given you and offer it as a sacrifice to God, in grateful, supplicatory prayer. The more zealously you do this, the more you will sanctify your day, the more strongly you will protect yourself from the temptations that we meet every day.
The Dwelling and Clothing of the Christian
From the start of the morning and throughout the day, make thought about Christ the soul of your life, the moving force of your actions. So, for example, if you glance over your dwelling, remember Christ in the manger, in swaddling clothes, lying on straw, all through this life not having where to lay His head, finally imprisoned, nailed to the Cross, and thank God for your house, your shelter, however humble and poor it may be. Do not envy magnificently decorated mansions: the mansion of Christ is a pure heart!
As you dress in your simple clothing, remember Christ stripped naked and then robed in the clothing of mockery. Do not dwell on apparel, do not follow slavishly the whims of fashion, but try to garb yourself in goodness, humility, meekness, long-suffering, gazing mentally on the meek and humble heart of Jesus.
If you are eating a meal, remember the vinegar and gall that Christ tasted, and do not demand plentiful, luxurious food and drink: the heavenly Guest does not love to enter the house of feasting, but always loves to enter the one that opens the door of his heart to Him. Place in your heart Christ suffering and dying on the Cross, and in His unseen presence mortify your passions and lusts.
Contact with people
Later, when you deal with people, both relatives and others, before saying a word, think about what its effect will be, and think even more seriously before you do something in their presence, for actions speak louder than words.
If you are undertaking anything, before asking any other adviser, ask the advice of faith. Appeal in the words of the Apostle: Lord, what wilt Thou have me do? (Acts 9:6). Is what I would undertake pleasing to Thee, Lord? If it is pleasing, bless it; if not, do not let me do what isdispleasing to Thee. And then listen to what the Lord tells you in your conscience, in your reason, in the counsels of pious and wise people and, having begun the course that you select, pray in your heart, O Lord, make haste to help me (Ps.69:1).
If you are going anywhere, go with God, as our pious forebear said as a farewell; walk before me (Gen.17:1) as the Lord Himself demanded; always see Him before you, for He is at thy right hand (see Ps.15:8). As much as possible keep in your thoughts and in your heart that God sees you, so that you may be both ashamed and afraid to attempt anything unworthy before the eyes of God.
Word and Feelings
If you enter the company of people, behave with extreme caution. If you hear a word of praise for yourself there, be careful: praises frequently conceal flattery and can arouse in you self-satisfaction and neglect of your further improvement. If you hear an insulting or humiliating word, take care not to become inflamed with anger which worketh not the righteousness of God (James1:20).
Answer the one who insults you either with silence or a meek word of truth. If you hear a word that accuses a neighbour, be careful that you not take part in the sin of someone else’s tongue. Do not join in words that are more harmful to the one who judges than to the one being judged. If you hear a word that saddens one with bad news, be careful lest your sorrow become stronger than your common sense; dissolve it with hope in God’s mercy and with the warm prayer: O my Rejoicing, deliver me from them which have encircled me (Ps. 31:7). Endure without complaint sorrows and misfortunes. Sorrows are inescapable on the path leading to the Kingdom of God! Many are the sorrows of the righteous! Christ Himself endured them; the Mother of God endured them as well. Without sorrows we will not be saved, but even in the depth of sorrow believe that the Lord loves you truly, and is only testing you. Remember: you sometimes return home from afar by a bad road, in a storm, in frost, or in terrible heat, but you go patiently, willingly; likewise patiently go by the difficult and sorrowful path to the heavenly home, the Kingdom of God.
Metropolitan of Moscow
1783 A.D. - 1867 A.D.