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Is Piety Possible? (Part 1)

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

Make a firm resolution to do everything for the Lord, to receive everything from His Fatherly Hand, and make a special resolution to do some particular good, and to avoid some particular evil.

Platon - Bishop of Kastroma

Force yourself to get up early and at a definite time. Do not sleep for more than seven hours, unless you have a special reason. As soon as you wake up, direct your thoughts to God and piously cross yourself, thinking of our crucified Lord Jesus Christ, Who died on the Cross for the sake of our salvation.

Get up from your bed at once, get dressed and do not pamper yourself. While dressing remember that you are in the presence of the Lord and your Guardian Angel, think of the fall of Adam who, because of sin, deprived himself of the covering of innocence, and beg the Lord Jesus Christ for the blessing of being adopted by Him. Then start immediately your morning prayers, kneeling, pray carefully with reverence and deepest humility, as ought to be done under the watchful regard of the Almighty, and ask Him for Faith, Hope, Love and a blessing for the coming day;

Ask Him for strength to humbly accept His will and bear all burdens, difficulties, misfortunes, disasters, sorrows and illnesses of body and mind, because of our love for Jesus Christ.

Make a firm resolution to do everything for the Lord, to receive everything from His Fatherly Hand, and make a special resolution to do some particular good, and to avoid some particular evil. Every morning spend at least a quarter of an hour on a brief meditation on the truths of faith, meditating especially on the incomprehensible mystery of Christ's assumption of our flesh, and on His awesome second coming, and on Hell and Paradise. Meditate in this way:

Maybe this is the last day of my life, then do everything the way you would — if you were preparing to come before the justice of God.

Thank the Lord for protecting you during the night and thank Him that you are still alive, not having died in your sins. How many people in the past have come before the justice of God unprepared! And also thank God that you still have time of Grace and Mercy and a means of repentance and attaining heaven. Every morning think about yourself, realize that only now you are beginning and want to be a Christian, and the past was largely wasted. After the prayers and meditations, if time permits, read some spiritual book, for example: St. Dimitry's Spiritual Alphabet, or Bishop Tikhon Zadonsky's Spiritual Treasure Gathered from the World, and read until your heart is made humble. After you have meditated sufficiently on a certain part, read further and listen carefully to what the Lord says to your heart.

After that, start doing your work, and let your deeds and actions be for the glory of God. Remember that God sees you everywhere, sees all your actions, doings, feelings, thoughts and desires, and will generously reward you for all your good deeds.

Do not begin anything without praying to God, because the things we do or say without prayer, later prove to be either sinful or harmful and display us through our deeds in a way unknown to us.

Our Lord Himself said: "Without Me ye can do nothing." Amid your labors be not downcast, and entrust their success to God's Grace. Fulfill all that is difficult for you as though it were a penance for your sins —in the spirit of obedience and humbleness; while working repeat brief prayers, especially the Prayer of Jesus, and think of Jesus, Who by the sweat of His brow, ate bread, laboring with Joseph. If your work is being accomplished with success, as your heart desires—thank the Lord: if without success—then remember that this, too, God allows, and He works everything for good.

(To be continued in Part 2)

Platon Bishop of Kostroma

From Orthodox Life, Nov.-Dec. 1960, pp. 21-26. Minor corrections were made throughout the text. Some misplaced words and phrases were deleted, and some were added [in brackets] for clarification.

Glory to Thee our God

+ Glory to Thee for All Things +

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