Comfort and Joy!

The Church is the place of comfort and joy. How lovely is your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord. (Psalm 84:1-2).

To love is easy and sweet. Oh! if we could only see the heart of a man who bears the evangelic yoke of Christ, you would see in it a paradise of joy and gladness, you would see there the Kingdom of God, even though on the surface he was worried and surrounded by grief and tribulations, as a rose is surrounded by thorns. There can be nought but comfort and true joy in a heart in which reigns the Kingdom of God.  – Saint Tikhon of Voronezh

“There are still two groups of people in the world – those who welcome the Savior with joy, dedicate their lives to Him, submit their hearts and minds to Him, and find peace, comfort, joy and meaning in Him. And there are still those who cannot accept the Savior, because it would mean changing everything, rejecting some ideas that are important to them. Sometimes accepting Christ requires more than just agreeing with the concept and the fact of His incarnation. You have to change your life, and many people are not ready to make that change.” — Patriarch Kirill

We look to the present and to the future for the Orthodox Church, for our children and for generations to come who will make our Church their House of Worship. Where we will continue to teach, to baptize, marry, celebrate the Eucharist and to offer comfort and support for the sick and to console those who mourn the loss of a loved one in the Orthodox Church.  “To be Orthodox means to have the God-man Christ constantly in your soul, to live in Him, think in Him, feel in Him, act in Him. In other words, to be Orthodox means to be a Christ-bearer and a Spirit-bearer.” States St. Justin Popovich on Being Orthodox.

Caring for one another begins with prayer (James 5:16), and benefits not only those for whom we are praying, but it also can have a positive effect on our own spiritual well-being. As Orthodox Christians we know that God hears and answers prayers.  God commands us to love one another, and in joy we pray for those in our community, along with family, friends, and those known and unknown.

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18

As an Orthodox Christian, I believe that the Cross of Christ is always the source of strength, hope and victory for the oppressed and suffering Christian here and everywhere. It is my personal experience that whenever our faithful see the Cross, they find glory in the power of the Cross. They repeat the Jesus prayer with trust and feel comfort, and are spiritually healed.  Comfort and Joy come from the Cross of Christ and as we celebrate His birth, we look with joy toward His Resurrection.

Our pleasures are transient and ordinary, while the Orthodox Church is devoted to the eternal and actual.  All the feast days of the Church are filled with one joy or another; complete, sincere, edifying and soul-nurturing.  The joys experienced in one or another historic moment by the more worthy of us.  Those who have joined with Christ and become one with Him, and in so doing, laid the path to Christ for us.

The Orthodox Church is a Sacramental Church.  Our Sacraments, Mysteries, bring us comfort, joy, strength, and life.

Let us love the Church and be devoted to it.  It is our joy and comfort both in sorrows and in joys.

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About padrerichard

I am a Priest with ROCOR and serve as Rector at St. Joseph of Optina Parish in Virginia Beach, VA
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