Imitating Saint Seraphim

Archbishop Seraphim : Homily
Imitating Saint Seraphim
Altar Feast of the Uncovering of the Relics of Saint Seraphim of Sarov
1 August, 2009

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

We are celebrating the Feast of Saint Seraphim, the Elder and Wonder-worker of Sarov, patron of this holy Temple, and the protector of this cemetery and of this whole community. At all times, it is important that we remember him and his example. His life was a living out of the Gospel readings and the Epistle readings that we have heard today. This is just how Saint Seraphim lived out his life. Everything is centred around the primacy of the Lord, the firstness of the Lord in one’s life. He put Jesus Christ first in his life, and everything else worked out well for him even though he was beaten by robbers, and maligned by some people who did not understand him. Still, he kept putting his trust in the Saviour, and the Saviour blessed him over and over again, and through him, blessed very many people. While he was alive, Saint Seraphim blessed many people because he spoke God’s words of love and truth to them. He asked the Lord what he should say to His people, and the Lord gave him the words to say.

Things are not different to this day. There are still amongst us people who have been touched by the prayers and intercessions of Saint Seraphim. Out of his love for Jesus Christ, and his love for the children of Jesus Christ, he continues to pray for us, and to support us by his prayers. Saint Seraphim became an example of God’s love and His healing. Just as the Lord Himself showed love and healing in His service (as we saw in the Gospel reading today), so Saint Seraphim in his life shared the love and healing of the Lord with all those around him.

Thus must you and I, in the love of our Saviour, put Jesus Christ and His service first, above everything. Then, everything after that will follow in the right order. The Lord will bring a word of truth to us that pray to Him. The Lord will bring healing through our prayers.

Saint Seraphim was a rare sort of person, but not so rare that we lack the example of others who have imitated his life. Saint Seraphim was an example of how we all should be. He is not an exception. When we look at Saint Seraphim, we see what a Christian should be like. If we want to be Christians, and say that we are Christians and have life in Christ, then we should imitate Saint Seraphim, and allow the love of the Lord to work in us in the same way.

Saint Seraphim is very much in harmony with the very first saint in North America, Saint Herman, the Elder and Wonder-worker of Alaska. They were both influenced by similar monks who loved the Lord. Towards the end of his life, Saint Herman said exactly the sort of thing that Saint Seraphim would say himself : “From this day, from this hour, from this minute, let us love God above all, and do His holy will”. This is the way of a Christian – loving God first. Since we love God first, we can know what the Lord wants us to do, and how He wants us to be. Therefore, through the prayers of Saint Seraphim, the Elder and Wonder-worker of Sarov, and through the prayers of Saint Herman of Alaska, let us follow in the way of Christ. Let us put our Saviour first in our lives, and allow Him to be glorified in our lives in everything, together with the unoriginate Father, and the all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages.