Elder Sophrony of Essex , disciple of St. Silouan the Athonite (1866-1938) and founder of the Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex, England.
Reposed in the Lord on July 11, 1993
OUR GREATEST MISSION IN LIFE IS THE DIVINE LITURGY
Our greatest missionary work in life takes place in the Divine Liturgy. The Fathers of the Church would always build an Altar of Sacrifice in whatever country or city they traveled to. And this is so, because when the heart is sweetened by the Divine Liturgy, it then seeks God. It then desires to live an Orthodox ecclesiastical life, the heart of which is the Holy Eucharist.
I told the brotherhood that it should always be a priority for it to perform the Divine Liturgy in the Monastery. The prayers of the Divine Liturgy should not be intoned for personal gratification because at that moment the priests are expressing the prayers of all those praying in Church. And for this reason the priests should not be praying with self-centered feelings. We do not celebrate as individuals.
All of us, at every moment of our lives, are in absolute need of Divine grace, which is given to man through pain and effort. When we pray in the morning, pray in the evening, and pray every moment – then we have the right to say: ‘Lord, do not leave me; help me.
The most important thing in the spiritual life is to strive to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit. It changes our lives (above all inwardly, not outwardly). We will live in the same house, in the same circumstances, and with the same people, but our life will already be different. But this is possible only under certain conditions: if we find the time to pray fervently, with tears in our eyes. From the morning to ask for God’s blessing, that a prayerful attitude may define our entire day.
Through the prayers of Fr. Sophrony of Essex, of all the ascetic Fathers and all the saints, O Lord of compassion and hope, have mercy on us and save us!