Glory to Jesus Christ!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Today is already Thursday 14 July 2022 and the Ukrainian people have been holding back a full-scale Russian invasion for 141 days.
We see that the enemy is not at war with any state structures, or even only with the armed forces of Ukraine. The enemy clearly has genocidal intentions and is at war with the Ukrainian people. Because he put the lives of 40 million people in Ukraine on the table.
Last night and this day the Ukrainian land shuddered again. Fighting in the Luhansk Region and Donbas is escalating again. After perhaps some period of relative calm, our cities Slavyansk and Kramatorsk are being bombarded again. The enemy continues to wage a war of scorched earth. It destroys everything in its way. Our cities, which we remember almost every day, Kharkiv and Mykolayiv, were bleeding again. Last night, the centre of Mykolayiv was fired upon with Russian rockets, causing great destruction to the city’s housing and infrastructure. The border areas of Sumy Oblast and Chernihiv Oblast are constantly under fire from various types of weapons. Once again, people are leaving their homes. We know that more than 7 million Ukrainians have already left Ukraine. But this process of demographic exsanguination of our homeland, unfortunately, continues.
But Ukraine is standing. Ukraine is fighting. Ukraine is praying. And Ukraine is overcoming and learning to overcome.
Today, I want to go further with you along the paths of this wisdom, the teachings of the Church on how to defeat the evil spirit, how to eradicate evil from our heart, from our life. Today we will talk about another dangerous passion, which becomes a sin, one of the main sins of a person. And it is called boredom (from the Greek word acedia) and this trouble can be overcome by cheerfulness of spirit. What is boredom from a spiritually ascetic point of view? Boredom is exhaustion and weariness of the soul. Sometimes it happens that, because of pleasing oneself, one’s desires, and one’s pleasures, at a certain moment a person loses his tastes and senses. And what once pleased no longer pleases; what used to be fun is sad; what used to bring a feeling that we are fulfilling our vocation suddenly becomes a disappointment, a feeling that “I will not achieve anything in life…” Such boredom is the cause of great discouragement of a person to do anything, and then a person simply gives up.
We have already mentioned the so-called “devil of noonday”, discussing other passions and sins of man. But it is possible that boredom most clearly shows the action of this evil in the soul. Because it extinguishes a person’s drive for life. It gives rise to a feeling of desolation, disgust, emptiness of life, despair, especially despair in one’s own salvation. And then a person succumbs to laziness, becomes discouraged and incapable, even of spiritual struggle. What can one do then? What is there to do in order not to lose the content, meaning, and taste of life?
The virtue that makes it possible to restore spiritual forces, to restore our sense of direction, gives impetus to life, is cheerfulness of spirit. Sometimes we call it in the tradition of the Church “sobriety of the soul”. The virtue of cheerfulness of spirit or sobriety of the soul, gives an opportunity to restore one’s spiritual powers, to continue the spiritual struggle. Why? Because then a person benefits from God’s help.
In his Catholic Epistle, the Apostle Peter writes to us as follows: “Therefore gird up your minds, be sober, set your hope fully upon the grace that is coming to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” And Saint Isaac says this: “If we observe the law of vigilance and practise discernment with knowledge, from which the fruit of life is reaped, then the struggle with the assaults of the passions will in nowise draw near our mind.”
Therefore, today, on this day, let us pray for all those who are having a hard time, because we see that war with itself brings fatigue and exhaustion of our strength. Let us pray for all those who sometimes really do not feel the meaning of what they are called to do. Let us pray for all those from whom we expect clear guidance in dark, difficult, unclear circumstances, for the heads of state, for world leaders, for our spiritual mentors, so that they and we with them will be encouraged in spirit, renewed in our strength in the Holy Spirit ,and tirelessly defeat the devil and his servants on our life path.
O God, bless Ukraine. O God, give us your strength. O God, help us to be cheerful in this struggle, never to be discouraged and never to give up. O God, bless the Ukrainian army and bless your people, O God.
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!