Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete

Archbishop Seraphim : Homily
Anticipating the Fulfilment of the Promise
Compline Service : Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete
Tuesday in the 1st Week in Great Lent
11 March, 2008

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

While we are passing through the beginning of these days of Great Lent, and we are singing and reading the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete, we pay attention to how we have fallen away from the Grace of God. We pay attention also to how far we have fallen from the Grace of Adam and Eve. It is important for us to look at ourselves, to take an inventory of ourselves in these days, and to remember that we really, truly have fallen far short of what the Lord created us to do and to be in this life. As we are reciting all the fallen events and behaviours of human beings after the Fall, we can realise that if it were not for the fact of the Incarnation of the Word of God, then everything would be meaningless and hopeless. However, because of the Incarnation, we understand the fulfilment of the promise made first to our First Parents, and to Abraham. We know what is to come. We know the love of our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ ; we know that even though we acknowledge our sins and we acknowledge our weaknesses ; even though we acknowledge our betrayals of Jesus Christ, still we have a Lord who loves us, a Lord who cares for us. Therefore, He wants us to be honest with ourselves, and to admit that we have fallen. He wants us to say to Him : “Help me, and save me. Help me to repair the damage that I have caused”.

Here we are in this service tonight, asking these very things of the Lord. We are admitting our faults, our weaknesses, our betrayals. We are asking our Saviour to have mercy on us, to save us, to renew us in His love. The Lord cares for you and for me. He cares for us. He is always ready and waiting for us to call out to Him for help. He is always there to meet us, to help us, to heal us, to turn us about. We begin these days in anticipation of what is to come : the great joy of the celebration of our Saviour’s victory over sin and death which we will be celebrating at the Pascha of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Let us be careful every day of our lives to be asking the Lord for His help. Right now, at the beginning of Great Lent, we are especially asking for His help. Right now, we are paying attention to this all together. However, let us not limit only to these days our calling to the Lord for help. Let us remember, with His help, to do this all the days of our lives, so that we will be able to live in the joy of His Resurrection all the days of our lives.

Our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ is with us. During Compline, we have already sung tonight : “God is with us”. Yes, He is with us in His love. Our Saviour is with us in His love. Let us take hold of this love, and rejoice in this love. Let us allow the Lord to renew us, and to heal our lives in such a way that we may be able, before the end of our lives, to be pure and holy, just as the saints, just as Adam and Eve before the Fall. In every aspect of our lives, may we be able to be ready to do God’s will in everything, and shine with the light of His love. In this way, people around us will have joy ; they will find Jesus Christ in us ; they will come to know our joy, and they will be able to participate with us, because of our witness of love — Christ’s love.

Let us care for each other in this love so that truly our Saviour will minister to others through us in this love, revealing Himself, and enabling them, together with us, to glorify our Saviour Jesus Christ, always, forever, unto the ages of ages, together with the unoriginate Father, and the all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages.