Thursday 26 October 2017

Homily on the Prayer 'Our Father'

 By Father George Cheremetieff

We normally say this prayer by heart, quickly and without attention, and we think that this will please God! I think that such prayer only upsets our Creator. It is easy to say this prayer without attention. But if we reflect upon each petition, this will seem wrong. It is always possible to be hypocritical, but one cannot deceive God. Let us look at the petitions:
Our Father, Which art in the Heavens!

Do we really behave like children of the Great Father and God? How do we dare to call Him Father without fear and trembling?
Hallowed be Thy Name.

How can we make His holy name holy? It is only falsely that we hallow it by hypocritical words, such as the Pharisees whom we condemn used. We can only really hallow the name of the Lord with a good life and chaste thoughts. How far we are from doing this!
Thy Kingdom come.

The Kingdom of God will only come when we all live according to God. Are we really preparing the coming of the Kingdom of God by our lives?

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.

In Heaven, God's will is fulfilled unflinchingly. And do we on earth really do God's will? No! We want to do our own will, and so in this prayer again we are being hypocritical.
Give us this day our daily bread.

Which means give us today that food which is indispensable for the life of the body. But then we think that this is too little. But we want a little more to spare, so that we can lay some up for the future, and not just enough for today. We do not have faith that the Lord will not abandon us, and we trust God less and less.
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

This is what we read. But so that it should accord with our life in reality, we should say: 'And do not forgive us our debts, because we do not forgive our debtors.'
And lead us not into temptation.

We ask this, but we rush after temptations, like wasps after honey. Sin seems so sweet before we commit it, but afterwards we see that we are left naked before the sin. And we still have no desire to mend our ways.
But deliver us from the evil one.

We ask to be delivered from him, and from all the evil which he creates and maintains. But we ourselves do evil and want to do our neighbour evil. And in this way we serve the evil, guileful tempter. So this our petition is hypocritical as well.

Looking at it honestly, there is reason for a man to be horrified. But it is not necessary to lose hope; one cannot be freed from it straightaway. But with God's help, through His Holy Mysteries we can gradually be delivered from hypocrisy, defilement and deception.

One must only remember that by ourselves we can do nothing, and that there is nothing to be proud about. We must humbly beg God's help, and having received it bring and instill into our life one supplication after another. And each one will take much time. And God grant that we might at least fulfil some of these petitions in our life. This is exactly how the Lord's Prayer should act in our life, transfiguring that life and illumining it. This is how we should work on ourselves, honestly and unceasingly. Only do not weaken; only do not get into temptations,and do not give up under the seductions of the dark powers. They seem so deceptively beautiful and enjoyable. And so we do not wish for a moment to understand what deception, what destruction and what filth is contained in them.

We have no strength to turn to God with the heartfelt prayer, 'O Lord, be gracious unto Thy creation.' 'In our thoughts which have been taken captive,' we can find no 'word of appeal'. If we make supplication for it, then often it is only with the lips. But inside we are thinking, 'I will leave it for today; tomorrow, I will repent.' And tomorrow again there is no repentance. And if sudden death were to come, then there would be no tomorrow. Then again, sometimes with the help of God, which is never sparing, we throw off a passion. But then we must again begin the ascent of the ladder of the petitions in the Lord's Prayer. And one day of warfare follows another. And, at the end, unremarked the sunset of life draws near, and the vision that has been enlightened by the struggle perceives the quiet light of evening.

If, with the help of God, the practice of the Lord's Prayer proceeds well, then we shall begin with faith to transcend even its last petition, and experience deliverance from the evil one. O Lord, let not the enemy disturb the quiet evening of my life. And then, crossing over from this earthly boundary, we shall be able joyously to glorify the Lord with all our soul, and with faith to cry out: 'For Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen'.

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