Friends, we are blessed this Sunday to celebrate the feast of one of the great modern saints, Fr Porphyrios of Kapsokalavia, who reposed in the Lord on December 2,1991. St Porphyrios is a wonderful saint who left behind him numerous writings which are a testimony to the grace of the Holy Spirit in his life. These below are just a few gems from his many grace-filled words.
-With Love in Christ,
Christ is our Friend, our Brother; He is whatever is beautiful and good. He is everything. In Christ there is no gloom, melancholy or introversion, whereas man suffers from various temptations and situations that make him suffer. Christ is joy, life, light, the true light, which makes man glad, makes him fly, makes him see all things, see all people, suffer for all people, and want all people to be with him, close to him.
The spiritual struggle is this: to transfigure anything that happens to you into something good. If you have tribulations, then give yourself to prayer. Slowly you will be able to heal all of your weaknesses [through Christ].
We shouldn’t blackmail God in our prayers. We shouldn’t ask Him to release us from something, like an illness or whatever. Nor to solve our problems for us. We should just ask for strength and support from Him, so that we can bear these.
In the Church, this attitude is where we have the sacraments that save us and there is no despair. We may be very sinful. We then confess our sins. The priest reads the prayer of absolution over us and our sins are forgiven and then we move onto eternal life without anxiety or fear.
Whoever lives with Christ becomes one with Him, with the Church. He lives a type of insanity because that life that he lives is different from the life of other people. It is joy, it is light, it is delight, and it is resurrection. This is the life of the Church, the life of the Gospel and of the Kingdom of God. “The Kingdom of God is within us.” (Luke 17:21). Christ enters us and we enter Him. It is like a piece of iron that is placed in a fire and it becomes fire and light. When it is taken out of the fire it again becomes dark iron.
We should relate to the rituals of the Church. We should live the sacraments, especially the sacrament of Holy Communion. Holy Orthodoxy is found in them. Christ is offered in the Church, in the sacraments and especially in Holy Communion.
But for many people, Church is a struggle filled with anguish and agony. This is why these so-called religious people consider themselves unfortunate for they see themselves to be in a terrible state. And surely, if a person does not understand the depth of religion and lives its saving message, it becomes a fearful sickness. It is so fearful that a person loses control of his actions. He becomes inconsiderate and feeble. He is filled with anxiety and sorrow and acts with an evil spirit (under demonic influence). He does genuflections, he cries, he shouts, he feigns humbleness, and all this humbleness is simply a satanic act. Some of the people live their religion like some type of hell. In Church, they do genuflections, make the sign of the Cross, and say we are sinful, unworthy and as soon as they leave the Church they start blaspheming holy things when someone upsets them. It is clearly revealed here that this is demonic.
In reality, the Christian faith changes a person and heals him. But the most important presupposition for a person to have is to comprehend and understand where truth is. It is found in humbleness, for egotism darkens the mind of man. Egotism confuses him. It leads him to delusion and to heresy. It is very important for man to know the truth.
We should feel that Christ is our friend. He personally verifies this when He says: “You are my friends” (John 15:14). As a friend we should look to Him and approach Him. Do I fall? Do I sin? We should hasten to be close to Him with a sense of familiarity, with love, and be confident. We should do this without the fear that He will punish us. We should approach Him with confidence and the understanding that He is a friend. We should say to Him: “Lord, I did it, I fell, forgive me.” But at the same time, we should do this knowing that He loves us, He accepts us tenderly with love and forgiveness. Do not let sin separate you from the love of Christ. When we believe that He loves us and we love Him, we will not feel like strangers and separated from Him, even when we have sinned. We have secured His love and no matter how we act, we know He loves us.