Saint Luke of Crimea
Know that for a virtuous life, to gain Christian virtues, to follow the thorny path of Christ, one must constantly receive God’s grace. Only sanctified by grace can we traverse the hard, thorny path, full of suffering, after Christ. We must learn to trust God, love Christ, and remember always His holy words: I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit … Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing (Jn. 15:1-2; 4-5).
Remember these words well: without me ye can do nothing. If you do not abide in the love of Christ, if you are not fed by the juices from the root of the Divine Vine, then you cannot perform any good, and you shall remain alone in your feebleness, in your wretchedness. Everything that is done in you by the grace of God is done by the Father Himself through Jesus Christ: He alone will confirm you in all your good deeds, and without Him you can do nothing.
And when we receive God’s grace should we not thank Him for this with all our hearts? Should we not thank the Father Who sent the Holy Spirit and our Redeemer and Savior the Lord Jesus Christ, Who with His Blood opened the inexhaustible fountain of Divine Grace?
Oh, how grateful we should be! Oh, how thankful we must be for all and everything—for the good and the evil; for the joy and the sorrow; and for the suffering and trials we must be grateful to God Who leads us along the path of salvation, not only by way of happiness, but above all and most of all by way of suffering.May the Lord give you the abundant grace of His Holy Spirit and may He fill your hearts with meekness and filial gratitude to Him for the Blood of our Savior.
Excerpts from the Homily of St. Luke of Simferopol on Grace
Heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who Art everywhere present and fillest all things, O Treasury of blessings and Bestower of life, come and dwell within us, and cleanse us from all stain, and save our souls, O Good One.