March 17, 2023

Homily on Saint Alexios the Man of God (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"Who will separate us from the love of God" (Rom. 8:35).

You, listeners, no doubt know how the Venerable Alexios the Man of God lived and was saved. The son of wealthy and noble parents, having renounced all worldly joys and pleasures, who was most innocent and sinless in his flourishing youth, he voluntarily became a beggar - he drank, ate, dressed like a beggar, lived and was treated like the beggars, and so lived for more than thirty years, enduring from everyone all sorts of insults and bitterness, scolding and ridicule.

Rare people are given from God the grace of a life like him; and people like him, one might say, have been in our teaching for centuries. What can we learn from Alexios the Man of God?

1. Who among us has the blessings of this world, the joys, the pleasures? They should not love them with all their hearts and be attached to them with all their souls, that is, they should not only be engaged in them, but also not rejoice in them, not be comforted by them. It is dangerous to love the blessings of the world so much, to be so attached to them: then one can easily forget God and the life to come.

Why, then, did the Venerable Alexios the Man of God leave the blessings of this world, abandoned them, despised them? Precisely so as not to become attached to them, and having become attached, not to forget about God and the future life. With the blessings of this world, it is easy to forget God and the future life: then life is not boring even without the thought of God, then life here is good, so that one does not want to wish the rich people better. Yes, some of us would forever wish to live like this in this life: they have so many joys and all sorts of pleasures!

2. And those of us who do not have any special joys and pleasures in life, those who work hard and get the most necessary for life for themselves, they should not grieve, lament, become discouraged from it. We have an All-Good, All-Wise, Almighty God, there is a future life awaiting us, an eternal, blessed life: that's what they should remember. What in life consoled, what gladdened Alexios the Man of God, despite the fact that he had no earthly joys, lived with the poor, walked in rags, and ate meager food? The thought about God, about the future life. Yes, God is joy, God is that which pleases, God is joy itself. And that is why, at the thought of God, when rejoicing in Him, all the joys of others are forgotten, and there is no need for them, not even human, not even angelic. And not only are joys then forgotten, but everything, even all sorts of sufferings are forgotten, not felt, and do not prevent one from rejoicing in God. Those rejoicing in God with the apostle say: "Who will separate us from the love of God," that is, from rejoicing in God, in sorrow, or in oppression, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? "Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor Principalities, nor Powers, no other creature can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom.8:35, 38-39).

So do not grieve, do not lament, if you do not have earthly joys, if you often do not have much in your life, if sometimes even the most necessary things are lacking, do not grieve ... you will not mourn and lament anything, on the contrary, you will be cheerful, calm. Just remember that there is a God, there is a future life - remember this, and your soul will rejoice, and you will not need any joys, for joy itself will be with you - God. Amen.

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