Human life costs less and less… It has
become frightening to live — there is danger on all sides. Any one of us can be
robbed, degraded, killed. Understanding this, people try to defend themselves:
who gets a dog, who buys weapons, who turns his living quarters into a
The fear of our time has not by-passed the Orthodox.
"How must one defend oneself against his neighbor?" — sometimes ask believing people. Our main defense—is the Lord
Himself. Without His will, as it is said in the Scriptures, "shall not
an hair of your head perish" (Lk. 21:18). This does not mean that we must
challenge the sinful world with unreasonable hope in God. We must firmly
remember the words "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God" (Matt.
God gave us the greatest relics for defense
against visible enemies. The first and foremost of these is the Christian
shield — the bodily cross, which should not be removed under any circumstances;
secondly, holy water and the artos, taken every morning. Also, Christians are
protected by prayer. In many churches belts are sold on which the text of the
90th psalm, "He that dwelleth in the most High…"
and the prayer to the True Cross, "Let God arise…" are
printed. It is worn on the body, beneath the clothing. The 90th
psalm has great power, Spiritually experienced persons recommend reading it
before each time they exit onto the street, no matter how often we leave the
house. St. Ignatius Branchaninov suggests crossing oneself and reading the
prayer: "I renounce you, satan, and renounce your
pride and your deeds, and attach myself to You, Christ, my Savior, in the name
of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen." Orthodox parents
must make the sign of the cross on each child, if he goes out alone.
Finding oneself in a dangerous situation, one
must pray: "Let God arise," or "To Thee, the Champion
Leader," (first kondakion from the Akathist to the Mother of God), or
simply "Lord, have mercy," multiple times. One must turn to
prayer even when danger threatens another person, but there is not enough
courage and strength to offer assistance.
Prayers to God’s beloved who were glorified in
military knowledge in life are very powerful: St. George the Victory-Bearer,
St. Theodore Stratilat, St. Dmitry Donskoi. We will not forget the Archangel
Michael, or our Angel-Protector. All of them received special power to help the
weak in defeating their enemies.
"Except the Lord keep the city, the
watchman waketh but in vain" (Ps. 127:1) The
house of each Christian should be blessed. The grace will protect each house
from all evil. If there is not opportunity to call a priest, one must sprinkle
holy water on all the walls, windows, and doors, reading "Let God
arise…" or "Save, O Lord, Thy people" (the troparion to the
Cross). From the danger of arson, fire, it is usual to pray the Mother of God
before Her icon "The Bush that does not Burn."
Of course, none of his will help, if we will lead
a sinful life, and will not bring repentance for a long time. Often the Lord
permits extreme situations to bring unrepentant sinners to their senses.
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