September 8, 2022

Homily One on the Nativity of the Theotokos (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1952)

1969 years ago, a young maiden, Mary, was born to the elderly and hitherto childless Joachim and Anna. This became known only to the neighbors, because the birth of a child is the most ordinary phenomenon. In silence and obscurity, this great event in the history of the world took place, for she was born who became blessed of all women, the More Honorable Than The Cherubim and the Beyond Compare More Glorious Than The Seraphim, the Mother of Christ the Messiah, our Savior.

In silence, without any widespread glory, the life and preaching of Her Divine Son began.

The holy life of the great hermits of the African and Palestinian deserts and the impenetrable forests of the far north of Russia prospered in silence and complete safety.

Unknown to the world, in deep silence, these great people approached God, purifying with fiery prayers, not only themselves, but the whole world, their hearts dedicated to God.

Everything great and holy in the history of mankind took place in this way, in deep silence, in the unknown from the restless world.

Why so? Why does everything truly great bear the stamp of silence and obscurity?

We will find the answer to this in what was revealed by God to the great prophet Elijah, when he fled from the wrath of the evil Jezebel, walked for forty days and came to Mount Horeb, and the Lord said to him: “Go out and stand on the mountain before the face of the Lord, and behold, the Lord will pass, and a great and strong wind will tear apart the mountains and crush the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord is not in the wind; after the wind there is an earthquake, but the Lord is not in the earthquake; after the earthquake there is fire, but the Lord is not in the fire; after the fire, a breath of still wind, and the Lord is there” (1 Kings 19:11-12).

You see, God Himself revealed to the great prophet that His deeds are done without noise and menacing manifestations, but in silence, like a cool breeze. Remember this, remember that grace-filled silence and peace is the seal of the deeds of God.

And the works of Satan are not like that. They are carried out in the history of mankind with great noise and roar, bringing confusion and horror to human hearts, as we see it now in the terrible Korean War, the horrors of which freeze the blood in the veins of millions of good people.

But it is not only in the great events of history that the seal of God and the seal of the works of Satan are evident. The same thing happens in human hearts.

When we live according to the commandments of Christ, we do not offend anyone, we do good deeds, shed tears of repentance in prayers to God, then the fruits of the Holy Spirit grow in our hearts, about which the apostle Paul spoke in his letter to the Galatians: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, mercy, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:22-23).

Quiet joy and peace fill our hearts after a truly good deed and deep prayer, after communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, and our lips fold into a quiet smile of their own accord. If you experience this by the grace of God, then know that the grace of the Holy Spirit guides you, and the Holy Spirit lives in you. This is the seal of the works of God.

It is not at all what happens in our hearts when the spirit of malice, the enemy of the human race, takes possession of them.

Then the heart burns with an impure, painful fire, filled with hatred and malice, and there is no peace in it. Know that this is the seal of Satan.

Live in such a way that on all your deeds there is the seal of the Spirit of God. Fear that impure and tormenting fire that scorches the heart, in which is the seal of Satan.

Live quietly and peacefully, working with your hands, keeping peace with all people, and in these charitable deeds, earnestly ask for the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, now born to save the sinful world. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.