Glory to Jesus Christ!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Today is already Monday 11 July 2022 and the Ukrainian people, the Ukrainian state, have been holding back a full-scale military invasion of the Russian army on our homeland for 138 days.
Again, during the past day and this night, the Ukrainian land shuddered under bombs, rockets, various types of weapons, with which the Russians poured abundantly upon the Ukrainian land. Cities and villages of Ukraine are burning. The fiercest battles are taking place in the Donetsk region and in the east of the Kharkiv region. The cities of Slovyansk, Bakhmut, and Kramatorsk, which are already known to us, become like a triangle of fire, on which the enemy has concentrated most of his army that has come to our land. Last night, the peaceful city of Kharkiv was again bombarded with rockets. Almost in the centre of the city, a Russian rocket again hit a residential building. Early in the morning, the enemy fired rockets at our Mykolayiv. The land of Kherson is burning, Ukrainian fields full of bread are burning, and the enemy is not giving the opportunity to put out these fires. The lands of Sumy and Chernihiv, on our border with Russia, experience heavy shelling from the Russian side every day.
But Ukraine is standing. Ukraine is fighting. And Ukraine is praying.
And you and I continue our path of Christian wisdom to defeat, to overcome evil and its servants. Today I would like to contemplate with you about another such insidious and little-known sin, such a sinful passion called sadness or despondency, and then we will talk about the virtue of joy, which is the way to cure this passion.
We know that it is natural for a person to be sad. Sadness is something that a person experiences as a being who travels, expects the fullness of life and happiness in his heavenly homeland. Therefore, sadness for God is something good. The Apostle Paul says: “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). So, it is necessary to be sad sometimes, it is part of our mental health. Sometimes we even need time to get over it, when we lose someone especially dear or close to us. But this sadness or despondency that we are talking about now is something a little different. This is a certain state of decay of the human spirit, which is inspired by the devil. We sometimes find in the writings of the Church fathers a description of such a state as the moment when the noonday devil comes, and then it seems to a person that he is in the worst place on earth. That devil pulls her out of the place where she is, because she thinks that any other place on earth is better, and here she is in the worst position, the most miserable person in the world. Sometimes such a passion breaks a person, that is why such people are sometimes called weak-hearted people, and this type of passion, despondency, can be of two types.
The first type is when a person has planned something for himself, wants something very much, and then at a certain moment he cannot fulfill this desire, and he loses his spirit, everything collapses him, he no longer wants to do anything in this world. And another type of this sinful state is when a person excessively wants to completely control his own life, and when he cares so excessively about his future, which is always uncertain and unknown, and his personal life seems to slip out of his complete control, a person falls into such a state of unanimity, as a state of lack of trust in God, trust in the One in whose hands lies my tomorrow. This type of passion is very dangerous, particularly in times of war, when we seek certainty in an uncertain present.
What should we do when this type of spiritual condition befalls us? We must ask for the grace of the Holy Spirit, because the joy with which this passion is healed is joy in the Holy Spirit. It restores human strength. This joy, which the Holy Spirit infuses into a person’s heart, makes a person active and able to see the positive even in the midst of very unfavourable life circumstances. The
Apostle Paul says this to all of us, especially today during the war: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:4–6).
Today I want us to pray for all those who are having a hard time during this war, all those who are losing their spirit, who are experiencing special spiritual and psychological states of disappointment, loss of the meaning of life, so that Christian optimism, this grace that the Holy Spirit, give us the opportunity to enjoy every day we live. Today, we rejoice and thank God and the Armed Forces of Ukraine that we are alive, and this should be a reason to rejoice in God and do good on this day, which the Lord gives us.
O God, bless Ukraine. Teach us to laugh through tears and in Your joy to defeat the enemy, to defeat the weak-spiritedness to which each of us is subject. And together as a people to defeat the enemy who is trying to intimidate us and paralyze our will to freedom. O God, bless Ukraine.
May the blessing of the Lord be upon you through His grace and love of humankind, always, now and ever, and for ages of ages. Amen.
Glory to Jesus Christ!