OUR MAIN MISTAKE ON OUR WAY TO SAINTHOOD – Иверский Орский женский монастырь



On the Feast of All Saints. 19.06.2022


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

Today is the Sunday of All Saints. All Saints from the beginning of the Church until now. We commemorate, venerate, glorify and try to imitate them. In this respect I would like to tell you a couple of things about  the nature of sainthood. What is this? 

The pursuit of sainthood and a thirst for it have been a part of our nature since creation. God gave this aspiration for sainthood to us. But, as it often happens in our life, the satan distorted this force given by God; he just gave it some other direction. That is why people do not succeed, even if they desire sainthood and make efforts to achieve it. Unfortunately, even those who understand what we are called for, try hard, but go in the wrong direction . 

The very first mistake was made by our First Parents Adam and Eve in Heaven, when the satan deceived them, saying “Eat of the forbidden fruit, and you will be like gods.” (Gen. 3:5) What was their mistake? People after them also  made similar mistakes. Remember, when people in the Old Testament began to build the Tower of Babel? The nature of these mistakes was the same. What is their essence? People decided to become gods without God. They wanted to attain deification through their own efforts. Moreover, this happens from the time of Adam and Eve and those poor builders of the Tower of Babel until the present.   All people who seek God make one and the same error and thus do not succeed. They apply effort and zeal, and use some spiritual practices in order to attain deification by themselves. But they make the same mistake and their Tower of Babel ruins, and ruins, and ruins. 

We Christians, need to understand the main point of sainthood. The Holy Fathers call it theosis or deification. I use this term on purpose, so that you can get the essence of sainthood. Sainthood is not one’s personal righteousness, or spiritual talent, or something else.  Sainthood is a prerogative of God, but not so for  humans . 

True sainthood, not distorted, not delusive, is when we restrict and compel ourselves, trying to come to the Holy Spirit. The Lord says, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (Jn. 14:23) People cannot be saintly by themselves. Only God is a saint. Remember when a man came up to Christ and said, “Good Teacher…” (Mt. 19:16) And the Lord said, “No one is good but One, that is, God. (Mt. 19:17) If you recognize Me as a teacher, you are wrong. If you see Me as God, this is true.” 

Spiritual life is not a pursuit of personal sainthood by means of some spiritual practices, zeal, stability or stubbornness – none  of this will work and you will not succeed. Rather, and even worse, you will succeed in having delusions  about yourself. Sainthood is when God dwells in us. We have a very exact prayer: “O Heavenly King…, come and dwell in us…” This is the essence of sainthood; He comes and brings this sainthood. And due to our pride, boldness, and arrogance He may step  aside, and our Tower of Babel will be ruined  at once. People strive and make the same mistake. They think sainthood is in their power and they can attain it through their zeal, sincerity and stubbornness. However, sainthood is when God dwells in us. The Lord says, “But this is the one to whom I will look, to the humble and contrite in spirit.” (Is. 66:2) There is one more statement from the Holy Fathers, “I have not fasted, I have not been vigilant, I did not lay on earth, but I humbled myself, and the Lord has saved me.” (St. John of the Ladder) The main condition of sainthood is a humble heart. A humble heart crying from the depth of its nothingness to God, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” A heart having a sense of grandeur about oneself and seeing something in itself is not capable of crying in this soft and humble way, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” Its egoism stands in the way between it and God.  

The main condition is to realize that sainthood is when God dwells in us. He will do so when we start to write our “I” in lowercase, and the word “God” capitalized.  And repeat all the time, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”  Surely, I compel myself to act, but no matter how much effort I apply, I need to understand: compulsion is on my part, while the result is God’s part.   The result is not in our control.  It is at the mercy of God. What we do is to compel ourselves. We fall and rise, confess and cry again, “Jesus, Jesus.” We should crush our knees in prayer and cry, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” Sainthood is not our nature.  

I will return to this word, the synonym of the word “sainthood” again – “theosis” – the dwelling of God in us. God is saintly, we are not. 

Sweetest Jesus, save us!