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April 4, 2022

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

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"This kind is driven out only by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17:21).

Now the Gospel reading tells us about how Jesus Christ healed one demoniac who could not be healed by the disciples. When Jesus Christ with His disciples descended from the mountain, after His Transfiguration on it, and came to the people, then a man approached Him and, kneeling before Him, said: "Lord! Have mercy on my son; he rages in the new moon and suffers greatly, for he often throws himself first into fire, then into water. I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not heal him."

Jesus Christ ordered to bring the demoniac to Himself, and when they brought him, Jesus Christ expelled the demon, and the boy became healthy - he was healed at the same hour. The disciples later, in private, asked Jesus Christ: "Why couldn't we cast out the demon?" Jesus Christ answered them: "This kind is driven out only by prayer and fasting" (see: Matt. 17:14-21).

There are bodily diseases from which you cannot get rid of without fasting and prayer, because they are associated with diseases of the soul. The body suffers in such patients because the soul suffers; their body is weak because the soul is weak. And under what diseases of the body does the soul not suffer? And which ones don't depend on it much? Therefore, in bodily illnesses, fasting and prayer are good, useful, and in some cases they are necessary. Relieving the soul, fasting and prayer also give relief to the body. The heart of the cheerful face blooms.

If, in bodily illnesses, fasting and prayers are good, useful, sometimes necessary, then they are even more useful, more necessary in the infirmities and illnesses of the soul. Without fasting and prayer, you will not get rid of a single spiritual disease of the heart. Fasting and prayer is the only and surest cure for all such diseases. Fasting here, of course, is not some kind of extremity, but ordinary, simple: moderate consumption of food and drink, abstaining from sensual pleasures, from worldly entertainment, from empty talk, in a word, such a fast that would help us to pray. Yes, fasting helps prayer, with fasting it is easier, more convenient to ascend with the soul to God, to talk with God.

Fasting helps prayer, and prayer helps faith. You easily believe in God and believe in everything divine when you pray to God, when you ascend with your soul to Him and converse with Him with your mind, when you bow your knees before Him and stretch out your hands to Him. With a heartfelt prayer to God, it is impossible not to believe in Him with all your heart. For the believer everything is possible. What disease will not go away, will not subside when, praying to God, we resort to Him with faith?

If pain of heart or bodily illness, like a mountain, crushes your soul and body, then they too will pass with your heartfelt and ardent prayer to God.

Thus, use these medicines for your illnesses: whether it’s hard on your soul, whether your body suffers from something, impose a fast on yourself and start praying.

Standing before the Savior, say to Him: “Lord! My soul hurts, I mourn, I suffer, I often suffer from my sins; my body also hurts, I often weaken, I am exhausted, I suffer; I tried to get rid of my ailments, I used a lot means and nothing helped. To You I resort, for You to help me!" In this manner, pray for yourself. Pray in the same way for others, no matter who they are: son or daughter, brother or sister, or any others, your own or others, for whom you suffer in spirit - pray when they are sick in soul, when they behave badly, sinfully, when they live in unbelief, in debauchery, in distraction and carelessness, or when they suffer from some bodily diseases and ailments. Pray. There is no pain, there is no illness in us and in others, in which fasting and prayer would not help us and those for whom we pray and fast. Amen.