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10: Ask and it will be given unto you

Zhicha, 1941. Bishop Nikolai guarded by a Nazi soldier.

A timid faith is a vain faith. A timid word is an empty sound. Christ spoke as one who had authority, not timidly, like the pharisees and the sinners. Every word of Christ shines like a candle kindled in the darkness of this world. All the words of philosophers have either already gone out or else will go out. Even a light breeze is able to put them out, but there is no whirlwind either on earth or in the whole universe able to put out the candles of Christ. Precisely because He was able to say that which not a single mortal would dare say: Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away (Matt. 24, 35).

And the more indomitable the storms and the stronger the hurricanes, the more the fire of the words of Christ blazes up. The Apostles became convinced of this, when they were caught up in the storm on the Sea of Galilee (Mk. 4, 35-41). When the storm suddenly arose and the waves began to lash the ship, the Apostle Andrew did not shout out in fright to Peter: Save yourself, brother Peter! And Philip did not call to Bartholomew for help, nor did Matthew call to Thaddeus. They understood that they were ordinary people and that their power was insignificant in comparison to the violence of the raging elements. But at the same time all of them turned their gaze to Him, to Jesus, and cried out as one: 'Lord, save us! Then he understood and commanded the sea and the storm: 'Be still'. And suddenly there was a great calm. And with fear and trembling his disciples knew and recognized that the word of Jesus is not the word of a weak man, but the word of the All-Powerful Lord.

Surely, like the Apostles, we too were convinced of this, when the hurricane of war raged around us? Surely we too looked at one another, understanding our powerlessness? And surely, in our great misfortune, we remembered Him, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Helmsman of the ship of the universe, and cried out to Him: 'Save us, we perish!'? Even if not all Serbs remembered Him as a helper, then many, many called out: 'Lord Jesus Christ, save us, we are sinking!’ And He rose up and stilled the cruel storm and the calm descended. Will we not be grateful to Him? Will we? Or, with our usual forgetfulness of God, will we again provoke the storm of war, more terrible and more destructive than that which is past?

Here and now we have a task set us by the Lord, a task which we must carry out and pass our examination for Him. I tremble as I think about what will happen to us if we fail the examination again. Oh, my brothers, let us not repeat our mistakes and falls of that time, between the two World Wars, when destiny cast us once more into the millstone of the horrors of earth and hell, into a millstone with sharper teeth than the one which, covered in wounds, we had just escaped from. May the Lord not lament at the Serbs, as at the prophets of the Old Testament, saying: I strike them and they do not feel pain; I destroy them and they do not wish to receive correction (See Jer 5, 3).

We have started to imitate the Europeans who long ago declared war on Christ. We have trailed after them, like a camel’s shadow behind a camel. We have cast the words of Christ from our hearts and our lips have forgotten them. We thought that we could extinguish His inextinguishable candles and instead we have extinguished our own. And only when in the storm and darkness we found ourselves before millions of fresh Serbian graves did we remember them and feel shame. We remembered His many words, which we have cast aside, for we had been bewitched by the black magic of Europe. And because we had fallen beneath its spell, many Serbs trampled down the pearl of Christ, cast before us, and roared at the servants of Christ and wished to tear them apart.

If only in peace and freedom we had remembered the pearls of His words: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you! If only we had asked God, instead of stealing and taking things from each other. If only we had knocked at the gates of the merciful Heavenly Father, instead of breaking down the doors of our neighbours! Or, let us say, if only we had vowed to fulfill just one of His commandments: Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets (Matt. 7,12). If only we had fulfilled just that one word, our people would have become a light for all peoples, our State - an example, our life – a song, our towns – cleanliness itself, our villages – shrines, our families – the temple of the Spirit of God, every Serbian heart – an altar of the Mysteries of Christ.

But, alas, Lord, we followed after those who had become like unto sepulchres, which appeared beautiful outward, but were within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

This is why Europe has lived through yet another night of hell, and together with Europe ourselves. Amen.


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