Metropolitan Laurentiu of Transylvania called Saint Parascheva “a divine gift that God sent to our country to protect us, to be our guardian and reinforcer in these difficult moments.” The Metropolitan of Transylvania addressed the faithful gathered in Iasi last week for the feast of Saint Parascheva the Protectress of Moldavia.
God does not save us by force
In his homily during the festive Divine Liturgy, His Eminence referred to the spiritual program highlighted in the Gospel passage on the following of Christ: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
“From the beginning, we can note our freedom and the possibility for all to enjoy this divine program; whoever expresses their free will to follow Christ can fulfill this program,” Metropolitan Laurentiu said Oct. 14.
The hierarch noted that the commandments in the gospel were sacredly followed by our Venerable Mother Parascheva.
“God does not save us by force. God leaves us the freedom to choose, to be rewarded, but also to be held accountable if we have not fulfilled our duty.”
“Self-denial is the first step in this program of following Christ, and we have as an example Saint Parascheva who gave up all that this world could offer her; she gave the wealth of the poor to become rich in Heaven, and then gave up, by a strong asceticism, even to what was allowed for her body.”
Let us be lovers of Christ and of our neighbors
The Metropolitan of Transylvania said that self-denial is nothing but a renunciation of our selfishness, of the torturous care for tomorrow.
“All this has to do with a selfishness that we must put aside and put our neighbor first because that is the only way we can follow Christ.”
The second stage of following Christ is the carrying of one’s cross, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurentiu noted.
This means “to assume all that is coming upon you but to fight to defend yourself from all that might hinder you from fulfilling your mission in this life,” namely, the acquisition of salvation.
“If we bear the cross of our sufferings with ownership and the continual struggle to be able to carry it to the end, we have also completed the second stage of following Christ. We must be pleasing to Christ, we must be lovers of Christ and of our neighbors,” the Metropolitan said.
Another exhortation found in the gospel concerns our duty to be confessors. “Each of us coming here,” said the Metropolitan, “bears witness to the faith of our nation in salvation, in the Saviour Jesus Christ and in His saints who help us.”