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April 3, 2022

First Homily on the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"I believe, Lord, help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24).

One father brought to Jesus Christ his sick son, possessed by a dumb spirit. The long and difficult suffering of the demoniac, even the disciples of Christ, whom he asked, could not cast out the demon from him, therefore the poor father became confused and alarmed, and he began to ask on his behalf with timidity and with some doubt, as if afraid Jesus Christ would not help. If you can do anything, he said to Jesus Christ, have pity on us, help us. When Jesus Christ said to him: "If you can believe a little, everything is possible for him who believes," he cried out with tears: "I believe, Lord, help my unbelief." That was enough, and the Lord helped the sick person right there.

These words, or, rather, this prayer: "I believe, Lord, help my unbelief," it is very necessary and often necessary to repeat to today's believers, to all of us, O listeners! Our faith often weakens in us, often and in many ways we doubt. Indeed, what do we firmly believe in? What truths of faith are we always sure of? We believe that there is a God, we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God, who came into the world to save sinners, we believe that there is a future life. But even in these truths we sometimes seem to doubt, we are ready to doubt. Especially when you sometimes listen to what others say and write about faith, or when you look at how some of the believers live and act, you involuntarily think and say with bewilderment: "But how is it so?" Indeed, there is a God who sees everything and everyone will repay according to his deeds. There is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to earth for our salvation. There is another life where we will live after death and live forever.

"Why do they live and act like that, talk and write like that?" Oh yes! So sometimes others speak and write, live and act as if there is nothing eternal and holy, as if there is no God, and Jesus Christ did not come to earth, and there will be no future life, as if there is nothing, and nothing has happened and nothing will happen! With such confusion and bewilderment about the most important truths of faith, how can you not cry out to God: "I believe, Lord, help my unbelief!" You involuntarily cry out, sometimes with tears you cry out: "Yes, I believe, Lord, no matter what anyone says and writes against faith, no matter how other believers live and act, I believe, Lord, help my unbelief."

Even without temptations and trials from outside, how often do we find various doubts by ourselves when we think about faith? Especially if we rarely pray to God and pray without attention, if we read little or nothing divine for a long time, if we spend our lives in absent-mindedness, in vanity, without delving into ourselves and our duties, obeying only our passions and addictions, then when thinking about matters of faith, at the thought of God and the future life, so many questions sometimes appear to our minds that cannot be resolved, that there is nothing left for us to do but cry out to God: "I believe, Lord, help my unbelief." Without prayer appeals to God, either you are completely exhausted by thoughts and doubts, or you reach the point where you will not believe in anything and will not do anything to save your soul. "Yes, Lord, in my faith in You, I need Your help, my All-good God!"

Thus, pious listener, do not be discouraged if minutes or hours of unbelief, bewilderment, doubt about the truths of faith come upon you. This can and does happen to every believer. Similar moments of weakening in faith happened to the apostles of Christ, when the Holy Spirit had not yet descended upon them. Can our faith not weaken in us, can we always be firm in our belief?

Help my unbelief. I believe whatever my own mind would suggest to me against faith. I believe in You, Lord, and not in my mind when it thinks against You or not according to You. Amen.