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Power and Meaning of Holidays

[II Tim. 2:20-26; Luke 19:37-44] The people cry out: “ho­ sanna!” — while the Lord weeps. Does not something similar occur at our church celebrations? In those days, there was a solemn resem­ blance; but the Lord looked at what was in the souls invisibly, and saw it to be worthy of weeping. For us also, the holiday is always visibly festive; but is everyone’s inner mood this way? One has no under­ standing at all of the power and meaning of holidays; another grop­ ingly feels something darkly, but sees nothing clearly; while another remains almost unnoticed, but his feeling and mood are worthy of the festive occasion. Our holidays take many sacrifices. But how many of them are intended for the Lord and one’s brothers and sisters? Either none, or the most insignificant bit; one’s belly and vain rushing around take almost all. This cannot be con­ cealed from the Lord, and it is not surprising if, to speak in a human way, He weeps when we utter fes­ tive exclamations. These are those redeemed, justified, adopted as sons!… They gave a promise, took on an obligation to walk in the spir­ it and not commit fleshly lusts, while here what goes on among them? The sons of the Kingdom are worse than the basest slaves!…

Saint Theophan the Recluse