Today, it is so important for us to understand that we do not believe in rituals or ceremonies, but in the Living God, whom we embrace in our prayer. The Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, expressed this opinion today during the Liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, broadcast online by Zhyve TV.
“What do we believe in when trouble comes? What do the words of Christ, ‘This evil spirit is cast out only by prayer and fasting’ mean to us?”
“Our prayer and fasting are not as necessary to God as for us. We often think that through prayer or devout practice we can compel God to do a miracle for us, and it is at that moment that we experience what the apostles experienced when they were not able to heal the young man from today’s Gospel. Christ tells them that true prayer and fasting are important,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.
The Head of the UGCC noted that as we pray and grow in prayer, only then do we give space to the power of God in our lives. The preacher gave an example of the prayer of St. Ephrem, in which we ask, “O Lord and Master of my life, grant me not a spirit of sloth, despondency, love of power, and idle talk. But give to me, your servant, a spirit of sober-mindedness, humility, patience, and love.”
According to the preacher, prayer and fasting are a place where the human spirit can change. They are capable of giving man the power of God to withstand evil and our infirmities.
The Head of the UGCC stressed the need to distinguish between prayer in form and in content during quarantine. “Today, the Church is forced to change the habit of common prayer, given the need to protect the health of our fellowmen. Even at this moment, many of you, at home, unite in prayer through live broadcast with the community of the whole Church,” he said.
“Anyone who cannot distinguish true prayer from ritual, during the quarantine period, is in fear and uncertainty that the prayer is not effective, because it has no usual form. New challenges need new answers. For the Church of Christ, even in the ways of praying,” summed up the spiritual leader of the Ukrainians.
The UGCC Department for Information