We live with hope in our God.
Father Raphael Noica
(a disciple of Elder Sophrony Sakharov from Essex)
AN Englishwoman found herself poised to reject both prayer and God because, burdened as she was by so much torment in asking the question “How can I discover prayer?”, she had received formulaic answers from others.
Hearing that Fr Sophrony had come to France, she sought him out and asked him the same question. Fr Sophrony replied to her, “With God there’s no need to play the politician. Turn to the Lord, who is in your heart, just as you are.” And she found such potent prayer, that as Fr Sophrony said of her, she would pray for hours together with her head touching the floor. That is no small thing for a Westerner. That lady was baptised Orthodox many years ago now.
God tells us that…we don’t need to lose hope! We don’t need to despair!
WHAT saves a man is, again, not what man does in his helplessness, but what the word of God does dwelling in us.
Even in the Old Testament, the Ten Commandments, God says to man: “Be holy, because I am holy!” He does not say “be holy because it is good, it is nice”.
It is God speaking that word by Moses. To Moses he revealed that “I AM.” God is He Who Is. And he wants to bring man to the same state of being. He shared something of this in the beginning; and to the degree that man allows himself to share in this word of God, he finds in that word of God the vigour of life.
And we ask God that He cultivates in us that which man cannot accomplish by himself, according to His word: “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” And, more so than any other time we must say this prayer more frequently: “Lord, come and abide in me and You Yourself work in me the things that are pleasing to You!” From the things that are pleasing to God, nowadays, we need Faith that is able to take us through the hardest events that are becoming more and more unimaginable. Not only is this not the time to lose hope, but it is the time to hold on to the pole more than ever, until the wave passes. Who knows what will be and in what way? The words that remain essential: ‘Keep your mind in hell, and despair not’ (…)
Since the Industrial Revolution and The First World War a new world has begun. And, in this world, we try as much as we can to live as our Fathers did. When we can do something we say: thanks to You, Lord,…when we can’t do anything: …patience! As Father Cleopa (Ilie) would say: patience, patience, patience…May The Lord give you and give all of us a comforting divine Grace, so that we can go through things! The kind of comfort that the sailor has knowing that the wave will eventually pass, but for now, one thing I know: to hold on to this pole…”.
(from the conference, The Philokalia – Incarnation and eschatological premises)
My hope is the Father, my refuge is the Son, my protection is the Holy Spirit: O Holy Trinity, glory to Thee.
All my hope I place in you, Mother of God, guard me under your protection.