May 5, 2021

Bright Wednesday - An Earthly Sign of a Heavenly Citizen

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin (1807-1869)

Apparently, listeners, you love the divine services, and therefore in these days, especially when it is all performed with opened Royal Doors, they are open to everyone, and you constantly go, every day, to any service, especially to the Liturgy. This is a kind, consoling sign.

Divine services in the church, especially the Liturgy, are the most sacred service; and in Heaven, according to Saint Ambrose, there is no service holier than this. Whoever loves what is holy, their soul is holy, at least capable of being holy, close to holiness. Yes, if you wholeheartedly love the holy divine services, if they please you, it means that your soul is holy, at least you are close to holiness, you can easily become holy. Sinners who have entered into the depths of sin, who have lost their desire and ability to be saints, do not rejoice seeing the divine services: they do not like them, it does not occupy them and does not comfort them, because they only love sinful things, they do not love anything holy and sacred for their soul, like a bright light for the eyes of the sick, it is hard to bear, unpleasant. Yes, in whom there is no love for divine services, such a person is devoted to sin, in that there is not even a spark of holiness in them.

More about those who love divine services. Divine services in the church can and should be called heavenly services. They serve God in Heaven, just as we serve Him in the church, and therefore, standing in the temple, we stand in heaven invisibly. And whoever loves to see heavenly things, who rejoices in heavenly things, they will be in Heaven, at least they are not far from Heaven, there is a great hope for them to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Where your treasure is, there your heart strives to advance, there your eyes turn to advance. Yes, you will be in Heaven, at least you are not far from Heaven, you can easily inherit the Kingdom of Heaven if you really love the divine services in the church, if they please you, comfort you. Sinners who do not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven do not like to be in the church of God; her services do not interest them, she does not make them happy, does not comfort them. Yes, this is a bad sign if any person does not like to be in church: they will not be in Paradise, in Heaven; with such a frame of mind they would become bored even there. Those who are not happy with the church will not find anything joyful in the Kingdom of Heaven.

So, pious listeners, I will also say: this is a good, consoling sign that you love to go to God's church. If you will continue to listen with love, with sympathy to watch how the divine services are being performed in the church, you will never lose the holy direction of your soul and you will pass into the future life with this direction. If you here on earth always love to praise God, then you there, in Heaven, will forever praise Him. Our holy church makes a person holy; the services we offer to God in our church make us capable of serving in heaven.

What is there to say for edification to those of us who are bored in the church, who are not occupied by the divine services, are not comforted? What to say?

Go to the church of God more often and always stand with attention, and you will love the church services. You’re bored there more because you rarely go, and you don’t find anything amusing there because you stand absent-mindedly, without attention. The services in our church are so sacred and divine that one who goes there often and stands there with attention cannot help but love them.