13 August 2009

Believe With Faith and Express Faith in Your Life

Source: Diocese of Ras-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija

Bishop Artemije: "Yes, Lord, we believe!"

In distant times God heard the prayer of the prophet Elijah to punish his people for their idolatry. Today God still hears the prayers of His faithful servants and often brings punishment to our people. He does so not because He does not love us, nor because He wants to destroy us, or consume us, but because He wants us to return to His presence. The whole Serbian people, brothers and sisters, had gone astray and swerved from the real devotion. For more than fifty years, our people had been wandering about the desert of this world disregarding the practice of their Orthodox faith and the celebration of their Slava (a feast day) and gradually losing their previous honorability and heroism. Thus, God wanted to bring us back to His presence. For the last ten years or so we have experienced sufferings wherever we lived, primarily in Kosovo and Metohija. God did not make us suffer because He does not love us, but because He loves us very much and awaits our correction. Our Father wants us to follow St. Prophet Elijah in his strong faith and fervor, and be true sons of St. Sava and St. Knez Lazar. It is that kind of life that leads to Heavenly Kingdom, our heavenly homeland. It is important for us to understand the purpose of our generation’s suffering, so as to direct our ways to God. As once Elijah's people corrected their ways and God sent them rain from the sky, thus God can send us His mercy if we direct our ways to Him. He is willing to hear our prayers. For our Father knows what things we have need of before we ask Him. Yet, it is necessary that we should display our faith in God since Christ during His earth life-time did many miracles and healed all sorts of sicknesses and diseases among people, but He would always ask people: "Believe you that I am able to do this?" (Mt 9:28). Not until they confessed their faith did the miracles occur. God is asking us today, "Do you believe you may be set free in Kosovo and Metohija? Do you believe that Kosovo and Metohija will remain to be what it has been for centuries?" Our answer should be, "Yes, Lord, we do." But not mere tongue confession, rather life, faith and deed confession. At that very moment we will hear the Lord saying, "According to your faith be it to you." (Mt 9:29) As miracles occurred in the past they may reoccur today. Just have faith and trust in God and you will witness His miracles.

The address of His Grace (an extract)
St. prophet Elijah holiday in Leshak, 2009