What is important for us to bear in mind during the fast?
The fast, by definition, is a time of abstinence. Therefore, let us strive to abstain from everything that is unprofitable for our souls:
Archpriest Andrei Efanov
1. Television. It seems to me that television is first on the list of unprofitable things. Television shows compel viewers to squander a part of their lives “for someone else.” There was a case of a mother who refused to emigrate to be with her children because the country to which they had invited her had stopped showing “Santa Barbara.” When it comes time to say that television viewing should be limited during the fast, you will hear that people are ready to give up watching the news and to fast very strictly with regard to food, but they cannot give up watching television shows.
It is precisely this harmful obsession – one that teaches us to live an imaginary life and to sympathize with vice and passion, as dictated by directors and screenwriters – that we need to give up, at least during the fast. I also advise watching fewer movies: nearly everything said about television can be applied to the average film. The news is also unlikely to bring a calm and prayerful disposition to someone who is fasting. Therefore, if you have not yet disconnected the antenna from your television, now is the time to do so.
2. Unlimited cell phone service. Unless your work requires you to have unlimited phone service, it would be better to give it up during the fast. Unlimited communication is very unprofitable during the time the Church has allocated for prayer and spiritual reading; it greatly weakens the soul. Let us also be careful with our land line phones.
3. The Internet. The best thing is to draw up a precise list of websites that you can visit during the fast. Everything not related to work or obedience should be strictly regulated. Even a familiar website that is completely innocuous at regular times might provide information that is unprofitable during the fast. Therefore, before you follow a link, give some thought to what the consequences will be for your soul that is fasting.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen.
On this great feast of Pentecost, the “last feast” of the Paschal mystery which began for us with the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee four months ago, we experience the final fullness of the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He came here as our Redeemer to rescue us from the corruption and death of our sins. He revealed the Father to us. He brought the Holy Spirit with Him, for the Spirit rested upon Him throughout His ministry. He taught. He healed. He suffered. He died. He was buried. He rose on the third day. And He ascended into Heaven and sat down at the right hand of His Father. And today, He completes that revelation to us with the sending of the Holy Spirit.
This Pentecostal moment is the one predicted in the prophecy of Joel 2:28: “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.”
By Fr. Sergius Khrapitsky
There is always a fast after holidays. We always need to fast in order to throw away the dead weight that we don’t need and to get rid of it physically. Most importantly, we have to be really zealous in keeping with the gifts that God has given us, the greatest of which is faith. Faith is the ultimate God’s gift that we have received. We must not just preserve this gift but also defend it and use it. Let us defend our faith like the saints did. Let us teach ourselves not to be afraid of dying. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on June 15, 2017)
We shouldn’t be afraid of the powers of darkness. What we should be afraid of is losing God. He that is not with me is against me, as we have heard in the Gospel we’ve read today (Luke 11:23). When we lose God, we literally become his opponents, the Satan’s servants. Therefore, let us always do our best to stay with Christ, and we won’t be afraid of the terrible enemies who oppose God’s truth in this world and try to mock God’s truth and to insult the believers, the pious ones. God is patient to a certain extent but there comes a time when He will put them to shame. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on November 9, 2017)
By Fr. Sergius Nezhbort
I wish that this day and all our lives were as bright as this morning, so that the sunlight and the light of God’s love would shine upon us and there were no clouds that could block that light. There is too much gloom in our lives, isn’t there? That gloom wraps us up and we don’t know where to go and what to do. It may appear that there is no escape and that the pain will never end. Nevertheless, there comes a moment when clouds give way to the sun, and the sun starts to shine, and you start to see in this light of Divine beauty that there is a way out; you just have to be patient and wait for the Lord to help you. That’s why it’s vital that we don’t hurry, don’t hesitate, don’t go to extremes but wait patiently for the Lord to strengthen and support us, to dissolve the darkness of our souls and to let us see everything clear and bright. We must be careful not to block this light and let it shine in our hearts. Sometimes a person experiences an enlightenment for a moment but then he brings himself back into the darkness. May the Lord help us not to block the Divine Light. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on June 19, 2017)