November 18, 2009


By Metropolitan Philaret Voznesensky, the New Confessor (+1985)

Metropolitan Philaret's sermons and advice to his spiritual children were always characterized by the simplicity in all his words which paralleled his action; there was never anything artificial about him. "Be, and not merely appear to be"—-this testament of his famous namesake was incarnated in His Eminence throughout his earthly presence.

1. Remember, you are a son (daughter) of the Orthodox Church. These are not empty words. Remember the commitment this entails.

2. Earthly life is fleeting; one is hardly aware of the swiftness of its passing. Nevertheless, this transient life determines the eternal destiny of your soul. Do not forget this for a moment.

3. Try to live piously. Pray to God in church, pray to God at home—fervently, with faith, trusting yourself to God's will. Fulfill the holy and saving precepts of the Church, Her rules and commandments. Outside the Church, outside obedience to Her, there is no salvation.

4. The gift of words is one of God's greatest gifts. It ennobles man, lifting him above all other creatures. But how this gift is now misused by a corrupt humanity! Safeguard this gift and learn to use it as befits a Christian. Do not judge, do not speak idly. Avoid, like fire, bad language and seductive conversation; do not forget the words of our Lord and Saviour: "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Mt 12:37). Do not indulge in lying. Holy Scripture sternly forewarns: "The Lord shall destroy all them which speak a lie" (Ps. 51:4).

5. Love your neighbor as yourself, according to the Lord's commandment. Without love there is no Christianity. Remember, Christian love is SELF-SACRIFICING, and not egocentric. Do not miss an opportunity to show love and mercy.

6. Be meek, pure and modest in your thoughts, words and deeds. Do not imitate the profligate. Do not take their example, and avoid close acquaintance with them. Have no unnecessary dealings with unbelievers - unbelief is infectious. Observe meekness and propriety always and everywhere; avoid becoming contaminated by the shameless habits of today's world.

7. Fear vanity and pride; run from them. Pride caused the highest and most powerful angel to be cast down from heaven. Remember, 'thou art earth and to the earth shalt thou return...' Deeply humble yourself.

8. The fundamental task in life is to save one's soul for eternity. Keep this as the most essential task, the main concern of your life. Woe to those whose indifference and neglect bring their souls to eternal ruin.