Watch here an inspiring message for the Holy Week of Fr. Gheorghe Calciu, a survivor of torture in communist prisons.
Fr. Gheorghe Calciu:
Maybe like the people who received Jesus into Jerusalem, after Resurrection, you will return to your life, will cry out like the Jews ‘Crucify him’, these people who spread their coats in front of Him and greeted Him with palm branches… this is how we will behave later… but you will keep in your heart nostalgia for moments of purity, of relationship with God, of breaking away from the sins of this world. There is nothing more sublime in this world than breaking from the world. A day, two, a week, more… unplug from the world from time to time… it is like a half an hour of rest after a deep tiredness…
This journey of the Saviour towards His voluntary passion, this suffering, was experienced by the Church of Christ in all times. From the beginning to the present day, the Church has always been persecuted because it is a ‘foreign body’, a heavenly one, a center of the kingdom of God in a world that is secularized, atheist, increasingly dominated by instincts and passions. You see, as freedoms increase (badly understood, of course), they ask for freedom of alcohol, freedom of sex, of idolatry, of perversitiy… this world has always been hurt, disturbed, by the presence of a holy foreign body, the presence of the Church of God, of Christ, who sacrifices Himself on the altar every Sunday and feast day, transforming the bread and wine into His Body and Blood. During the time when churches were demolished (in Communist Romania), the stones were crying out. The churches were demolished and believers would come at night and collect a piece of fresco, a brick or a religious item… People collected these stones because the stones were talking, were crying out about persecution, injustice, and sanctity cast down and trampled by the satan’s servants. The Savior prophesied that the stones will shout… and indeed, they were crying out and will still cry in the future.
We have changed, we are no longer those who were before. Today we have understood together with the Jewish children [Matthew 21:15] that Jesus is indeed our King and without Him we can do nothing [John 15:5], that adopted in Him, we are adopted by God and we become the children of God. Turn away from all your sins [Ezekiel 18:30]. This week of suffering should be our week of suffering, repentance, remorse. Those who have not fasted, keep the fast this week. Those who have not prayed, pray now. Those of you who couldn’t love, start to love now. Forgive those who have wronged you. You who never had the power to forgive even the slightest mistake… We used to react bad when someone told us something, like the demon of pride in us was wounded to death. But his death comes by the forgiveness we give to the one who hurt us, insulted us, offended us… this is the mortal blow we strike against the demon of pride in us…
Make out of this week, a week of purification, of angelic life. Stop the excessive food, stop drinking, stop smoking, all the passions that control you. Try to be good, try to pray… If you reflect on Jesus only 5 minutes each day before going to bed, you will see the blessing which comes in your heart, you will see what the presence of Jesus brings in your life, what spiritual transformation occurs in you, you will no longer be the same.
May God grant that, through suffering and passion, we bury ourselves with Jesus, die with Him, to rise up again on the great day of Pascha.