Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

The Dread Judgment: Reading Matthew 25:31-46

Posted in Reflections, Uncategorized by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 23 February 2020

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 

Today’s Gospel reading should be very uncomfortable for two kinds of people. First, it should bother the clergy. We know what people should and should not do, what they should and should not eat, how much and how often, when they should pray and which prayers they should say and in which order, which Hours precede the Divine Liturgy and which follow. [*] We even know precisely when and how the people must make the sign of the cross–down to exactly how they must fold their fingers–and how low to bow, depending on the ranking of the saint commemorated on a given day. In other words, we, the clergy, are too often the people of the rules, we deal in “mint and anise and cummin” (Matt 23:23), and we wish that the Lord said: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for ye observed the rules and fulfilled the obligations.” But, of course, this is not what the Lord said. In fact, in this passage, He did not say a single word about a single rule. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him” (Matt 25:31), He will not ask, “Have you pray’d to-night, Desdemona?” (Othello a. 5, s. 2) but, Have you given drink to the thirsty? Have you visited the sick? We, the clergy, the learned men of the cloth, can tell you when shrimp is allowed, but can we tell you how to feed the hungry?  (more…)


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By Prayer and Fasting

Posted in Fasting, Practical Matters, Uncategorized by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 14 February 2020

With Great Lent now fast approaching, the topic of fasting is on our minds once again. In my previous posts, I discussed some of the practical aspects of fasting, including my belief that fasting without prayer is akin to prostrations without prayer–both may be very beneficial to our physical health but quite separate from spirituality. Thus, no discussion of fasting can be complete without a discussion of prayer. (more…)

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