Glory to Jesus Christ!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ!
Today, Tuesday, June 21, 2022, Ukraine is already experiencing the 118th day of full-scale aggression, the war that Russia is waging against the Ukrainian people.
We thank the Lord God and the Armed Forces of Ukraine who survived this morning and see the light of day. That night and the past day were very restless. Many people died again, many of our servicemen gave their lives for the Motherland. The fiercest fighting is taking place in the Ukrainian Luhansk region, around Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. According to the reports we heard this morning, the enemy is advancing and concentrating a large military force in these areas.
Large cities of our country, in different parts of it, were under fire again. We especially pray and mourn for Ukrainian Kharkiv, where shelling is intensifying these days, tensions are rising - the enemy is trying to prevent the Ukrainian army from reaching the state border of Ukraine.
Active fights are conducted in the south of the country and this morning when people just woke up, the Russian rockets struck the peaceful city of Nikolaev.
But Ukraine stands. Ukraine is struggling. Ukraine is defending its dignity and independence, as it once was, in the days of ancient Kievan Rus. Ukraine, by the power of its spirit and its weapons, obscures Europe, European values from contempt, from destruction by the invasion, which brings death and destruction to our land.
Today I would like to begin a series of reflections on the fruits of the Holy Spirit. For seven days after Pentecost, we meditated on the gifts of the Holy Spirit that He brings to man.
The Lord God does not want to throw anything at us. God's gift must be accepted and cooperated with, so that it becomes a reality in our soul, person, in our life. Because this gift is like a seed that must take root, grow and bear fruit. If a person does not pay attention to it, it can be easily lost. And we are sometimes like leaky sacks into which the Lord God pours out His grace, and we lose it. But when a person receives the gifts of the Holy Spirit, when he cooperates with the divine grace, then he grows and matures.
And so the fruits of the Holy Spirit are like signs of spiritual growth and spiritual maturity. The Holy Apostle Paul lists the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit and writes in his Epistle to the Galatians: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, quietness, self-control." Those fruits of the Holy Spirit are as if the result of Divine grace, but at the same time the result of our cooperation, spiritual maturity.
Let us reflect today on the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which is love. We have heard a lot about love, we mentioned it when we talked about virtue, which should be distinguished from the feeling of love. The virtue of love is the pinnacle of human perfection.
What is the meaning of love as the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Here is another aspect of true and true love. Love in its fullness leads to union with the one you love. Love as the fruit of the Holy Spirit gives us the opportunity to live in God and with God, to be united with Him whom we love and who has loved us. For our God is love, as the evangelist John tells us, and he who is in love is in God. We need to learn to love. However, only the Creator can fill love with this union with man, because He comes to us. Christ says, “He who loves Me, keeping My commandments, will be loved by My Father. We will come to him and build a house in it. "
I want to pray with you today that even in the midst of war, which is a time and space of deadly hatred, we may be able to unite with God in love, to invite Him to our lives by keeping His will and commandments. Because when we feel that we are united with God, then here we get a foretaste of eternal happiness, and then no external circumstances can change, steal from us what we have in our hearts.
God loves Ukraine. God loves us all. God wants to come to us and live with us. That is why we sing to Him this ancient church hymn: “Lord of forces, be with us, for we have no other helper than you in these tribulations. Lord of forces, have mercy on us! ” God bless Ukraine and its children!
The blessing of the Lord be upon you, with His grace and love of man, always, now, and forever and ever. Amen.