DARING LOVE – Иверский Орский женский монастырь



Archpriest Sergiy Baranov

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Iveron Monastery of Orsk



In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!

God put into our human nature such feelings that touch and disturb the powers of the soul. We feel when we do wrong and through our conscience perceive the signal of wrong behavior. We feel our narrowness, imperfection, and God embedded all this  into us, so we could act right in our life. However, satan enters these powers of the soul and aggravates them, parasitizing on them. He aggravates our sense of imperfection to inferiority. He brings our sense of guilt to depression and diseased states. This is how he paralyzes a person and carries him to desperation.    Thus, a person seems to repent but only admits his sin and after this nothing happens. Because satan aggravated everything in us and we sunk into despair and could not do anything then.   

Take today’s Gospel. Today we remember a small and worthless man,  Zacchaeus the Publican. Judging from his appearance, he was a short and worthless man, and judging from his inner state, he was a publican, the person who collected taxes from his own people. It might seem that satan would work with him as he usually does. Christ comes, a crowd of people, he is the shortest of all. “I will not squeeze between them anyway. I am shorter than any of them. I won’t see anything. I won’t be able to approach. The crowd will push me aside.” And deeper, “I am worthless. I might come up to Him and He would say, ‘Get behind Me, you are a worthless person, do not desecrate My holiness by your worthlessness.’” However, a sane spirit lives in this man.  Despite his worthlessness, the worthlessness of his height, public position and inner state, there is a sane spirit that dwells in him. Regardless of everything, no matter what, he applies effort and seeks a means, “I am short of  height, I will climb the tree and see Him from the tree.” 

Look, what an inspiration, what daring this little person has! He climbs up a tree to see the Lord. And immediately the Lord says the words which no worthful person surrounding Him is honored with, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”1 The Lord chooses the most worthless one, the smallest one, but the most daring one, who acts notwithstanding of his worthlessness. His love overcomes his pride, suspicion and the fear of being rejected. His love overcomes everything. He climbs the tree, clambers there and hears the following words, “I will come and dine at your place.” The Lord comes into his house and “the righteous ones” become confused and even express their confusion over the Lord, “Doesn’t He see? He should see, He should see people’s hearts, He should be a clairvoyant. How is it possible that He can’t see who He pays visit and who prefers to us?” 

The love of God prefers the humble ones and gives His grace to them. What does the Holy Scripture say? “On this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,2 and he will receive My grace.” In other religions, worthful people receive grace, but in Orthodoxy it is the humble ones. It happened despite and in contradiction to logic. “He shouldn’t receive it.” But the Lord gives it to him.  

Satan always tries to aggravate everything. He aggravates our repentance, the vision of our sins, drives us to despair and paralyzes our activity to make us give up. I understand when during repentance a person lowers his eyes and head, as he feels embarrassed and ashamed of himself. You might lower your eyes and head but do not lose your heart, you should not give up, you should act.  If you lack courage and inner power to fly towards God, run. You lack energy and courage to run, go. No courage to go, crawl. Even if you don’t have energy to crawl, you can lie down towards Christ, turn your head towards Him and cry, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” If you don’t have energy to cry, just look towards Him and He will see you.   

How often we do not feel one another and the situation. Don’t we? He is slamming and slamming and slamming that door. Doesn’t he feel that it disturbs us? Should we be patient? We will be. However, every one of us should be delicate; we should feel one another. Not only ourselves but also the people who stand by your side at the Liturgy. Everyone is concentrating on the altar now. Stop walking around the church. Do not put the candles, whisper and rattle. You should feel it, it is not something supernatural, just an elementary politeness.  

Glory to our God, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages!

1Lk. 19:5

2Is. 66:2