February 3, 2022

Second Homily for the Day of the Reception of the Lord (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation"  (Luke 2:29-30).

The holy righteous Symeon, as he saw the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, became calm, although he immediately remembered that he would die soon after this, because it was so predicted to him by the Holy Spirit. Seeing the Savior before him, he was not afraid to see his own death. "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation ...." Christian listeners! When we remember that we will have to die sometime without fail, a lot of things disturb us, trouble us, frighten us, terrify us; but if at the same time we remember our Savior, then we can easily calm ourselves in everything.

Thus, sometimes I'm afraid that I will die soon; I want to live longer. However, why should I be too afraid of not dying soon? My Savior will not let me die prematurely, my life is in His saving hands. I am sometimes disturbed by the agony of the dying: these torments are terrible, it is terrible to look at the torments in which people sometimes die. However, why should I worry too much about this now? My Savior will be with me when I die, and with Him my death throes will not be painful. Sometimes this thought terrifies me that they will lower me into the grave, bury me with earth, and there I will rot, decay, turn into earth, into dust. However, why should I be horrified by this? My Savior will not leave me in the grave, He will save my ashes there, and I, according to His voice, will rise alive from the grave.

I sometimes worry about the fate of my children, relatives, those close to my heart. If I die, how will they live without me? Who will help them in need, who will console them in grief, who will teach them good things, who will save them from evil? Oh, what weaknesses and vices sometimes lead people to need and poverty, ignorance and lack of education! What crimes people sometimes fall into just because there is no one to look after them and no one to reason with them! However, why should I worry too much about this? My Savior is their Savior, and they know Him with me. Thus, Lord, You will help in need, and console in grief, and teach good things, and save my children, my relatives and all those close to my heart from evil when I am not with them. To you, Christ my God, now I entrust them, I commit them, and I will entrust them to you when I die.

Eternal torment terrifies me after death. These torments are terrible! To grieve forever, to weep forever, to burn forever in fire, to sit forever in darkness! However, why should I become discouraged from this fear? It is better to pray to the Savior than to lose heart. Yes, my Savior is my salvation from eternal torment after death. I pray to Him that He will deliver me from unquenchable fire and other eternal torments, I pray now and I will die with this prayer, and if I die with a prayer to the Savior, He will save me from eternal torment.

Much more can disturb us, frighten us, terrify us when we think of our death; but in everything we can easily calm ourselves if we only remember that we have a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Savior saves us from every fear, calms us with every anxiety. Yes, Lord, there are many things I have to fear; one day, it seems, does not pass without something that I am not afraid of - for myself and for others, but most of all and most often I fear for myself because of my sins. But when I remember You, my Savior, I immediately calm down from all fear; then I am less afraid of my sins, because I hope that You will save me from them, no matter how heavy they may be.

Oh, I would be the calmest person if I always remembered You! Remind me, O Lord, of Yourself to me when I forget to remember. Remembering You and calming down by You, I am afraid of only one thing - that I might suddenly forget You afterwards. However, even here I believe and hope that You will not forget me. You won't forget if I ever began to forget about You. Oh, You are always my God, You are my eternal hope! Amen.