HOMILY - on the faith that brings victory
St. Nikolai of Zhicha
'This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith' (I Jn. 5:4).
Christ the Lord conquers the world, and that victory, my brethren, is ours also. The apostles conquered the world, and that victory is ours also. There is nothing of greater power in the world, my brethren, than the Christian faith. The swords that cut off this Faith are blunted and broken, but the Faith has remained; kings who fought against this Faith suffocated under the anathema for their crime; kingdoms which waged war against this Faith were destroyed; cities which cast out this Faith lie thrown down in their destruction; heretics who perverted this Faith perished in soul and body and went out of this world under the anathema, but this Faith remained.
When the world rushes upon us, my brethren, with its illusions; with the illusion of exterior beauty, the illusion of riches, of pleasure. of transitory glory, with what shall we resist and by what shall we be the victors but by this Faith? Truly, by nothing but this invincible Faith, which knows of something better than any of the good things of this world.
When all the illusion of this world reveals its other face; when beauty turns to ugliness, health to sickness, riches to poverty, glory to dishonour, power to degradation and all the flowering of physical life to filth and pollution; by what shall we overcome that misery, that filth and pollution and keep ourselves from despair but by this Faith? Truly, by nothing but this invincible Faith, which teaches us enduring and unchanging values in the Kingdom of God.
When death shows its destructive power over our neighbours, our relatives and friends, over our flowers, our crops, over the work of our hands, and when it turns its irresistible teeth on us ourselves, by what shall we conquer the fear of death and by what unlock the door of life, that life that is stronger than death, if not by this Faith? Truly, by nothing but this invincible Faith, which knows resurrection and life without death.
O Lord Jesus, Thou Conqueror of the world, help us also to conquer the world by faith in Thee. To Thee be glory and praise for ever. Amen.