From the Head of the UGCC on Day 119: Lord, be our joy, especially when in our humanity, we want to cry

Thursday, 23 June 2022, 16:38
While visiting Sumy, Kharkiv and Poltava, -- parts of Ukraine that were under occupation, I saw victims of Russian torture and bombing, some of whom spoke about their suffering. These people carried an incomprehensible joy in their hearts that cannot be explained by human means. The Father and Head of the UGCC, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, made this comment during his daily address on the 119th day of Russia's war against Ukraine.



The Primate noted that the front line now stretches almost three thousand kilometers from north to south, with the heaviest fighting continuing in the Luhansk and northern Donetsk regions. Most likely, he observed, the enemy has concentrated its forces there, who are breaking their teeth on the courage of Ukraine’s defenders. The Head of the Church asked for prayers for the city of Kharkiv and the Kharkiv region, where there is tremendous bloodshed due to Russian aggression.

On this day, His Beatitude Sviatoslav reflected on another fruit of the grace of the Holy Spirit, another sign of man's maturation in Christ:  joy.

He explained that this is not about enjoyment, neither is it about feelings that come and go quickly, but about a deep spiritual state, which is filled with the presence of the greatest and highest good -- the Lord Himself.

Recalling yesterday’s sermon about love as a fruit of the Holy Spirit, the Head of the Church stressed that joy is the result of man's union with God, the result of feeling the presence of one we seek and love (sometimes bringing tears to our eyes!).  That’s because He makes Himself known, felt, and experienced.

“This joy is the culmination of the grace of the Holy Spirit, a virtue of our faith. A person who believes in God opens himself up to Him and receives ‘sense organs’ as it were, by which he or she can see and experience the Lord’s presence within,” the Archbishop added.

According to him, joy as a fruit of the Holy Spirit is only the beginning, here on earth. For to rejoice fully with God and in God, to rejoice fully in seeing His face, to rejoice fully in the joy of the saints in heaven and the bliss of God Himself, -- this will happen only when we are fully united with Him after the end of our earthly life. When we have formed our spiritual “sense organs”, we will be able to feel Him here already, present in and around us.

The Head of the Church said that he had recently met with people who felt this kind of spiritual joy despite suffering from the war. This joy, he said, is evident when we see a mother embracing a living son who has returned from the front for at least a few minutes. She doesn't know whether to laugh or cry. Because the one whom she was so worried about and prayed for is there, next to her.

“In these cruel circumstances of war, we ask: O God, You are our joy, our life and paradise, come be with us, O Christ! O Lord, be our only joy, especially when in our humanity, we want to cry! May You be our joy when Ukraine is flooded with rivers of blood and a sea of ​​tears. O God, be our only joy when we ask ourselves about the meaning of our lives and suffering during this cruel war! Be our joy, which here on earth we can already experience in and with You. O God, bless Ukraine! God bless the children of Ukraine! God, bless our land with Your presence. And grant us joy in and with You!” prayed His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

The UGCC Department of Information



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