St. Seraphim of Sarov writes about despair: "Just as the Lord is concerned about our salvation, so the devil, the slayer of men, concerns himself with bringing the soul of man to despair."
"Judas, the betrayer, was fainthearted and inexperienced in struggle, which is why the devil, seeing him in a state of despair, attacked and persuaded him to hang himself. Peter, the formidable rock, falling into great sin but being experienced in struggle, did not despair and did not lose the presence of the Spirit. Rather, he shed bitter tears from a warm heart; and the devil, seeing that, fled from him as though burned by fire."
"Thus, brethren, the Venerable Antiochus teaches that when despair befalls us, we should not succumb to it, but, strengthened and enveloped by holy faith, we should say with great bravery to the cunning spirit: 'What have you to do with us, O apostate from God, fugitive from heaven and slave of evil? You are unable to inspire us to do anything, for Christ, the Son of God, has authority over us and over all. And you, O murderer, depart from us! Strengthened by His Honorable Cross, we trample upon serpent's head.'"
On how a true Christian encounters hatred in the world
"And ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake." (Lk. 21:27)
All those who love themselves more than they love God will hate the followers of the Lord Jesus.
All those who love the body more than they love the soul will hate the followers of the Lord Jesus.
All those who love this world more than they love the Eternal Kingdom will hate the followers of the Lord Jesus.
All those who love sin more than they love virtue will hate the followers of the Lord Jesus.
The number of those who hate the name of Jesus is sometimes greater and sometimes smaller. However great their number is, brethren, do not be afraid, for the number of angels and saints is myriad. The number of your kinsmen in heaven, i.e., those who love the Lord Jesus, exceeds the number of stars in the firmament and the grains of sand by the sea. Oh, do not be afraid: Christ is with you, and that means that you are always mightier than those who hate you. When the Omnipotent One is on your side, you are always more numerous, for you are always stronger than any number of your adversaries.
O Lord Jesus, Lord All-powerful, always be with us and help us that we may be inseparably with Thee always, and then our fear will vanish.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. I
8 February, Reflection & Homily