The Optina Elders are dear to us not only because they were (and continue to be!) a light for monastics and lay people alike, both in Russia and around the world, and who were so near to our own time – the very spiritual heart of Russia, right up until the revolution. It is not only for this reason that the Optina Elders are dear to us, but the Optina Elders are dear to us because they were dear to the hear of our founder, Hieromonk Kallistos. In founding his new monastery, this
monastery – the Hermitage of the Holy Cross, Fr. Kallistos made a conscious effort to base the spiritual life of his monastery on the lives, the spirituality, and the monastic spirit of the Optina Elders.
The Lord, when He spoke to His disciples the words recorded in the Gospel reading appointed for this Sunday, was only a few days away from His saving Passion and Resurrection. He had only a few short days left in which to say that which was most needful for their salvation, and for the salvation of those of us who would come to believe through them. And in this one brief passage, our Savior declares to us the great and fearful mystery of our lives as Christians on this earth.
"May we, and I first, follow the example of Sts. Joachim and Anna and prove faithful to God amidst our own pain, toil and feelings of distance from God. And may we, for the love of Christ Who Himself endure shame and ridicule, turn to Him in times of trouble and say: 'Yes Lord for you! Come and help my weakness!'”