Ahead of the Great Lent, the Church encourages the faithful to think about the events of Adam’s expulsion from Paradise for a reason, because they concern everyone, said His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine yesterday, reports the Information and Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
“Everyone should realize their inferiority without God and forgive their neighbors, and ask them for forgiveness themselves. Without this, a Christian will not come to repentance. And repentance is precisely the main goal of fasting,” said the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
“Sin makes people cowards”, noted the metropolitan. This is why Adam and Eve did not immediately realize their fall and began to justify themselves, instead of asking God for forgiveness.
“Neither Adam nor Eve said these two words: “Lord, forgive me!”. Due to the lack of repentance, a tragedy occurred for the human race: people became unable to live in Paradise,” said His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry.
Outside of Paradise, people began to feel their distance from God and their frailty without God. “This was the beginning of repentance,” added the metropolitan.
“The Holy Fathers say that because of breaking the fast we have lost Paradise, through observance of the fast we regain Paradise for ourselves. To fast in the right way, we must be reconciled among ourselves. The purpose of fasting is not to destroy ourselves, but to destroy the sin that lives in us,” said His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry.
If a person cannot forgive his neighbor, he will not receive the remission of sins. “If I cannot forgive my neighbor, then I am not able to receive forgiveness from God,” His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry explained.
The metropolitan encouraged those present to force themselves to forgive their neighbors: “Even if your heart is against it, you still need to utter the words of forgiveness with your lips, and then say it with your heart: “Lord, you know, I want to forgive, but you see how spoiled I am by sin, that my heart does not allow it. Forgive me, Lord, teach my heart so that it can forgive people”. This is how we must fight our anger.”
Obviously, one cannot conquer one’s anger in one day, but one must make every effort: “A person who makes an effort will certainly drive out malice from his soul,” said His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry.