October 31, 2012 + Forgiving the Neighbor That Harms Us
We must love our neighbour still more when he sins against God, or against ourselves, because then he is sick, because then he is in spiritual misfortune, in danger; then, especially, we must have compassion upon him, pray for him, and apply to his heart a healing plaster--a word of kindness, instruction, reproval, consolation, forgiveness, love. "Forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."  All sins and passions, quarrels and disputes, are truly spiritual diseases; that is how we must look upon them. Or, all passions are a fire of the soul, a great fire, raging inwardly; a fire proceeding from the abyss of hell. It must be extinguished by the water of love, which is strong enough to extinguish every infernal flame of malice and of other passions. But woe and misfortune to us, to our self-love, if we increase this flame by a fresh infernal flame, by our own malice and irritability, and thus make ourselves the assistants of the spirits of evil, ever endeavouring to inflame the souls of men by means of many and various passions. If we do so, we ourselves shall deserve the fire of Gehenna; and if we do not repent, and do not become in future wise unto good and simple unto evil, then we shall be condemned, together with the Devil and his angels, to torments in the lake of fire. Therefore, do not let us be overcome of evil, but let us overcome evil with good. How accursed are we men! How is it that we have not yet learned to consider every sin as a great misfortune for our soul, and not to pity, heartily, sincerely, lovingly, those who fall into such a misfortune. Why do we not flee from it as from poison, as from a serpent? Why do we linger in it? Why have we no pity upon ourselves, too, when we are subjected to any sin? Why do we not weep before the Lord, who created us?
By St. John of Kronstadt, from My Life in Christ
St. John Kochurov
You were revealed to all as a true shepherd O Hieromartyr John of Chicago, for you nurtured your people in the Orthodox Faith, guiding them by word and deed on the path of salvation, and defended the Faith even unto the shedding of your blood. Therefore, we, your spiritual children, cry out in thanksgiving: Glory to Him who gave you strength! Glory to Him who granted you the Martyr's crown! Glory to Him who through you grants mercy to all!
Kontakion - Tone 8
As you zealously fulfilled your pastoral service, you brought your soul to God as a well-pleasing sacrifice, O Father John. Entreat Christ God to grant peace to the world and great mercy to our souls.