Whom resist steadfast in the Faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world (I Peter 5:9).

Brethren, the most important steadfastness of men’s souls is the steadfastness of faith. The devil vehemently attacks this steadfastness with all his arrows and all his wiles – for the impure and evil spirit knows that when this steadfastness is destroyed, he enslaves the soul of man forever. That is why the holy apostles entreated the Lord: Increase our faith (Luke 17:5). Brethren, let us also pray daily that the Lord will increase our faith; that He will endow it with power and strength. When the serpent is in danger it protects its head above all, which is why the Lord Himself called it wise. Let us also protect the head of our spiritual life, which is faith. Nothing in this world can replace faith in God: neither philosophy, nor science, nor treasure, nor glory, nor the entire world from one end to the other with all its transitory illusions. The devil knows this, and thus he especially attacks our faith, instilling doubt in us, causing as to waver, confusing our thoughts, and disturbing our hearts. Since the devil knows that faith is the main thing, it is all the more necessary that we should know it also. Because of us, Christ descended to earth; because of us, He suffered on the Cross and gave us the promise of saving faith.

We can neither strengthen nor increase our faith except through suffering. That is why the much-suffering Apostle Peter says: The same afflictions [as yours] are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world (I Peter 5:9). Out of humility, the apostle does not speak of his own afflictions, but of those of our brethren in Christ. Those who are one in faith are also one in afflictions. Brethren, you do not suffer alone for the true Faith, but your other brethren also suffer for the same Faith.

May this assuage your suffering. But most of all, may you be comforted by the sufferings of the Firstborn in suffering, our crucified Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

O Lord Jesus, Sufferer above sufferers, and Victor above victors, increase our faith, and strengthen us with the power of Thy grace, as Thou didst strengthen Thy holy apostles.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

Source: St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid – Volume Two.