Be sensitive!

I have thought very much if sensitivity can be educated or people are born with a certain degree of sensitivity. Are there insensitive people? I rather think there are people who have not been educated to appeal to sensitivity. That the circumstances of their lives are as such that sensitivity is rather harming them than helping them.

Of course, you have often heard the urge: “Don’t take it so hard, don’t be so sensitive!” We are advised again and again to disconnect from everything that hams or disturbs us. But carelessness is not a solution, for the careless man becomes stone-hearted and without love.

The solution is a compromise between sensitivity and affection. Being sensitive means to notice, to pay attention to the world around us. The attention we pay to everything that surrounds us makes us more delicate, beautiful, loved, and this doesn’t mean we will be troubled or become bitter because of our sensitivity. And if our heart starts to sigh deeply because of the wickedness of the world, by this we only resemble the saints and Christ, who sigh for the nation of Israel put to test.

So, the advice that we should hear more often is not: “Do not care,” but better: “Be sensitive, but don’t trouble yourself.”

I am convinced that sensitivity can be educated, cultivated through the benevolence of parents and teachers. A sensitive man has a thousand more reasons to enjoy everything he observes: the sky, the trees, the beauty of the birds or the flowers, the sunset and the sunrise, and sadness and loneliness can have deep meanings for him.

Be sensitive, for being sensitive is to live the fullness of life.

Father Savatie Baștovoi

Measure for measure

You got upset on one of the authorities of the day because he did not want to receive you when you went to visit him. And you got upset even more of his excuse. When you presented yourself in front of his servant, he went upstairs, returned and told you, “The Gentleman is not at home.” And you were sure he was at home. In your anger, you wondered how such an important man can lie.

Well, he can! Just like smoke, the lie sneaks into the palaces as in the huts. But have you ever wondered if you were not guilty of his lying? Didn’t you do the same thing to someone else? Haven’t you said that you are not at home to someone paying a visit or who came to ask you for something? If indeed you haven’t done this, the lie of that honorable man falls upon his head; if you did lie though his lie is the punishment for your lie. Measure for the measure.

With the measure you use, it will be measured to you, God said.

The same thing says the parable about the unmerciful servant. (Matthew18).

This was the case of a Russian gubernian high official at the time of St. Seraphim of Sarov. He came to the monastery of the Holy Father Seraphim wishing to see that man of God and ask him for advice. When he knocked at the door of Seraphim’s cell, the Elder replied from within: “I’m not at home! I’m not at home!”. The official was surprised, waited for a while and then knocked again, presenting himself, but he received again the same answer: “I’m not at home! I’m not at home!” Stunned, the official didn’t knock again, but waited silently in front of the door. Eventually, the Elder opened the door and showed himself. Then the official, full of anger, said,

– Father, I’ve been to you five times, but you didn’t let me in or blessed me!

To that, the clear-sighted Elder answered:

– I behaved as you often do with those who visit you. When someone asks to be received by you, the servants answer:

– The Lord is not at home, he is not!

Thus, through that painful lesson, the Elder wanted to teach the offcial a lesson. Measure for measure.

This is a rule that man can escape only through repentance. If the man repents for his sin against the others, the others will not repeat the same sin against him.

Peace and joy from the Lord!

Stefan I.,

(Letter 216) by Saint Hierarch Nicholas Velimirovici

Palm Sunday

St. Ignatius Briancianinov

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).

The divine Prophet foretold for more than four hundred years before that event we are mentioning and celebrating today. Our Lord Jesus Christ, finishing his preaching on Earth, entered solemnly in the queen city of Jerusalem, in the city of worship of the true God, in the city that was God’s more than any other city.

The Lord made this entry as king and victorious to crown his ministry with decisive urgency: the passing of death by death, removing the curse from human race by taking this curse upon Himself. He made His entry into the royal city on the colt, the foal of a donkey (John 12:15), which no one has ever ridden, to return to mankind the royal worthiness lost by our ancestor, to return it through crucifixion (Luke 19:30). The untamed foal has been tamed by the wonderful Rider.

The Apostles put their cloaks on the colt; and the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:19; Luke 19:38).

According to the Lord’s will he was proclaimed to be king in the name of the Lord, not by chance, not by human knowledge and will! The same people, after four days, was shouting about the One they name today Emperor: “Crucify Him, crucify Him; we have no king, but Caesar “(Luke 23:21, 19:15).

What does the entrance of the Lord in Jerusalem on untamed colt, the foal of a donkey mean? According to the Holy Fathers’ interpretation, this has a profound meaning, a prophesy. Our all-seeing Lord, had already seen the coming of the last apostasy, unchanging from now, of the Jews. He foretold this apostasy ever since the Law of Sinai was given to the Israelites – he foretold it through the mouth of God the inspirational legislator.

“They are corrupt”, said Moise, as an already committed deed, about the sin that the Jews would commit against the God-Man, “and not his children; to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation. Is this the way you repay the Lord, you foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?”

Their vine comes from the vine of Sodom and from the fields of Gomorrah. On the contrary, “Rejoice, you nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants; he will take vengeance on his enemies and make atonement for his land and people.” (Deut. 32, 5, 28, 32, 43). The entrance to Jerusalem on untaught colt at riding is a repetition of Moses’ prophecy – a repetition not by words but by symbols.

Moses foretold that the peoples would rejoice the Lord, and the Jews would be cast out: here the untamed colt, which none of the people had ever mounted, imagine the pagans. The Apostles’ clothes are the teachings of Christ, the one they preached to the people, and the Lord has spiritually placed himself over the people, becoming their God. He brought them to Jerusalem: to the middle of His Church, to the everlasting, holly city of God, in the city of salvation and happiness.

The outcaste Jews were present. They were saying, the king of Israel, but in their soul, in their Synedrion, they had already decided to kill the Savior. The foal of a donkey means also another thing. These words point to every man driven by cravings, lacking in his spiritual freedom, connected to the addiction and the habit of bodily life. Christ’s teaching detaches the colt from the manger, that is, the fulfillment of the sinful and fleshly passion.

After that, the Apostles bring the colt to the Christ, they put on their clothes, and on it the Lord sits, and makes his entrance into Jerusalem. That means: after leaving the sinful life, man is brought to the gospel and dressed, as with apostolic clothing, in the most detailed and subtle knowledge of Christ and His commandments.

Then the Lord ride on him, showing himself spirituality and dwelling spiritually in him as he pleased to promise: “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father. Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching and I will love them and show myself to them. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (John 14, 21, 23).

The coming of the Lord is accompanied by peace above the word and understanding, by the graceful peace worthy of its Giver, which is the Lord. This peace does not resemble the natural silence of the fallen man, who can also feel peace and contentment after the bodily delight, who can consider peaceful even his senselessness, his very own eternal death.

The Lord sits on the natural attributes of the man who obeyed Him, who has mastered His holy teaching and brings him, sitting on him, in the spiritual city of God, in the city of peace, in Jerusalem whose God is the maker, not the man. “Rejoice, rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

You, feeling the gracious peace of Christ within yourself and making yourself the daughter of this peace, you have renewed yourself with spiritual youth, and know through research the kingdom of Christ. The passions are tamed now within you, through the graceful power of the Rider who leads you: your natural qualities cannot overcome the laws of their nature; they cannot break and pretend to be unrestrained passions!”

Taking from the Lord all thoughts, all the feelings, all your work, you can and you are obliged to say the name of the Lord to your brothers, in the midst of the church to praise the Lord (Psalm 21: 24).

You, being born by the Holy Spirit and daughter of the Spirit, you are able to see your King’s graceful walking, you are able to see your King’s righteousness. He is gentle and humble in heart (Matt. 11, 29) and will direct the meek to judgment, teach the meek His ways (Psalm 24, 10).

Our God is Spirit, Spirit incomparable with any made spirit, just as in all other respects it is endlessly different from all creatures: the holy made spirits are its chairs and chariots. He sits and walks on cherubims; He sits and walks over those happy human souls who obeyed Him and brought Him as sacrifice of all their natural attributes.

On these souls is walking the king who enters into the holy city of God and bringing into it the holy souls. “Hosanna in the highest heaven! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, blessed is the King of Israel.” Amen.