In his homily given at Samurcăşeşti Monastery on Sunday, April 14, 2019, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel spoke about a temptation that is widely spread in contemporary society, the desire of superiority.
The Patriarch of Romania offered several pieces of advice to avoid falling in the trap of earthly glory and the wish for dominion over others.
The humble receive honour
His Beatitude explained that humility is vital in order to receive honour from God, noting that pride is an obstacle.
‘Honour is not given to the ambitious and those who desire vainglory; honour is given to the humble, not to the proud.’
Primacy is not given to those who think they deserve it
When someone considers themselves entitled to receive honour from humans and God, they will not receive honour from the Heavenly Father.
Honour, Patriarch Daniel said, ‘is not offered to those who think they deserve it as their right, but to those who are considered worthy by God, not by themselves.’
Those fulfilling God’s will receive honour
The Patriarch of Romania pointed to the importance of observing God’s commandments in order to receive honour from our Heavenly Father.
‘Honour is given not to those who expect honour and praise from humans, but to those who humbly fulfil God’s will.’
Serving others is the source of honour
His Beatitude went on to speak about the request made by John and James to sit at Christ’s right and the other at His left in His glory. He said that Christ urged to sacrificial ministry.
‘We see that our Saviour Jesus Christ overthrows the logic of power by replacing it with the logic of humble ministry. He said that this is worldly reasoning: those who lord over others consider themselves superior rulers over nations or persons, but whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.’
The Patriarch said that Christ gives Himself as an example noting that ‘the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’
The Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church reminded that Christ’s advice is still available and noted that primacy is born from serving our neighbour.
‘The Saviour Jesus Christ shows us that true honour does not come from ambition, from a desire of worldly power, by wishing advantages or power over others, but true honour comes from humble love, from serving others as a sign of our humble and merciful love.’
His Beatitude cautioned that ‘those who rule are greedy and become rich unjustly and seek to affirm themselves.’
However, true honour comes from humble love, by serving all, by self-offering, not by lording over others.
Saint Mary of Egypt, a model of repentance
In the second part of his sermon, the Patriarch referred to Saint Mary of Egypt calling her ‘an angel in flesh and the image of repentance’.
‘Saint Mary of Egypt is a model of repentance for us. That is why the Church established the commemoration of this venerable saint now, before Palm Sunday, because she repented and corrected herself so that she may urge and encourage all to repent, to confess and weep for their sins, and to change lifestyle.’
Saint Mary journeyed ‘from the sin that kills to life-giving saintliness’.
Photography courtesy of ZL/Mihnea Paduraru