No Impossible Deed Should Be Undertaken… Advice of the Elder Alexiy Mechev
Edited by Demetria Worley
No matter what sin you committed, repent, and God will be eager to accept you with open arms. Be like a child in everything you do: both in matters of faith and matters of life.
Watch over yourself. If you want to live a spiritual life – watch over yourself. Every evening recollect all the good and all the bad you’ve done, thank God for the good and repent of the bad.
When you are praised - and you realize the shortcomings you have - then those praises should cut like a knife through your heart and arouse a desire to improve.
Be wary of unclean thoughts.
If you feel tempted to sin, bow before Our Lady twice with the prayer: “The Most Holy Mother of God, by prayers of my parents save me the sinner”. Your parents’ spirits will join yours in prayer.
You must be attentive while reading the Gospel.
As the Lord’s Prayer is the Gospel shortened, you should make proper preparations before saying it.
If you fast bodily, fast spiritually. Never be impudent, especially to elders. Such a fast will surpass a bodily one.
Work at upbringing of your younger brothers and sisters. Be an example to them and remember that if you have any drawbacks, they can easily imitate them. And you’ll have to account for it to the Lord.
Doing good is our duty (against vanity).
No impossible deed should be undertaken, but if you decided to do something, you must, by all means, see it through to the end. Otherwise, you’ll give it up once, twice, three times, and you’ll ask why you did anything at all, if everything’s in vain. ( Constance in good is necessary for spiritual growth).
Never treat the Gospel like a fortune telling book. If an important question arises for you, seek the advice of a wiser individual.
You should achieve praying mood before reading the Gospel.
Be stricter, stricter in your spiritual fast; that is, learn to control yourself, submit, be meek.
If you see something evil around you, look at yourself immediately, maybe you are the culprit. If you are oppressed by evil thoughts, especially in church, realize before Whom you are standing, or open up your soul and say: “Help me, Our Lady”.
If you are disturbed by some thoughts (coming from lack of faith, etc.) as you kiss a holy image, pray until they are gone.
You should think of yourself as the worst person of all. If you want to loose your temper, to take revenge, or to do some other thing, you’ll resign yourself sooner. We should save both ourselves and others. You should keep an eye on yourself and be indulgent to others, studying them in order to treat them as required by their position, temper, and mood. For example, a nervous man because he is uneducated may demand from one person calm, and from another person delicacy, and from another something else – but this is foolishness, and so we must strictly guard ourselves.
If any thoughts arouse from lack of faith, especially before receiving Communion, instantly say: “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”
Regarding written confession, it’s not enough to list all your sins and stop, with nothing coming out of it. It is necessary that your sins become repulsive, that all of it is burnt out inside, from within your heart, when you begin to recollect your sins - only then will sin become repulsive and won’t be resumed, otherwise you’ll revert to it all at once. And what if you forget your sins? What hurts can’t be forgotten. If a place is painful, I can’t but know it is there.
You must always tell truth. If you are forced to lie, you should speak to the one who demands this of you and do your best to save him from this mistake, e.g.: “I have never told a lie and never will, and if you need it so much, I may do it only if you undertake the responsibility”, and so on.
You shouldn’t condemn others. If you are served non-lenten food on a fasting day in somebody’s house, you mustn’t scorn and refuse. At home you can make up for it with a stricter bodily, or better spiritual fast: i.e. avoid getting irritated, avoid blaming etc.
You must always follow one rule: if you have something to do – first remember, what Jesus Christ would do, let it be your guidance in everything you do. Thus, gradually everything bad and sinful will leave you.
I never give blessing to saying anything that may set rumors about other people. On the other hand, saying edifying and useful things is our duty.
If you live more according to mind and ideas, and your heart hasn’t been developed, you should work on it: imagine yourself in others’ shoes.
If salvation were such an easy thing, we all would have already become saints.
We should treat people around us with all possible attention, not carelessly, and then having seen our care the Lord will pay attention to us, too.
In church stay away from those who like to chatter.
The risen God requires our resurrection.
Never, ever dare to be proud. There’s nothing of which to be proud. You see the one part of a hundred that you’ve contributed, and don’t see the ninety-nine other parts.
From The Good Shepherd, Moscow , 2000