The angels’ mission in people’s lives
In the matter of God’s providence towards mankind, there must be intermediaries between people and God from the spiritual world, (since mankind occupies a middle ground between the spiritual and the physical worlds), who would guide us towards the higher realm, to wit: the angels. All of the Lord’s affairs exhibit amazing sequence and order; in all things He has lower ranks being guided by higher ones; from this stems the need for Christians who have been redeemed by the Lord’s blood to have guardian angels. Moreover, the angels themselves are filled with love for us and rejoice at the conversion of even a single sinner; and since love is an active force, the Lord gave full rein to this noble and useful endeavor of theirs. Guardian angels are also necessary to humans because of the evil spirits’ malicious action towards people: people themselves do not see them. Humans are very frail in spiritual life. Besides the grace of God there is still need of an entity filled with this grace, wise and strong in nature, and such are the angels. Moreover, after departure from this life, there must be witnesses to human actions on earth in order to counter the demons.
On venerating the angels and the saints
In venerating the angels we become filled with the life-giving conviction that there is another world of sentient beings who are absolutely pure, simple, and bodiless, and that consequently the existence of our soul after death is not only possible, but factual. And in venerating the saints we become accustomed to the same idea that there is life for us after death; that virtue and holiness are rewarded after death, and this means that if we live virtuously, we will be likewise rewarded; that evil is punished, as it is presented in the Gospel parable of the rich man and Lazarus, and this means that we, too, will be punished for the evil that we do here. In general, the veneration of angels and saints leads to significant spiritual benefit.
The Holy Spirit and the evil spirits
The Holy Spirit is called Comforter by His nature, which is peace, joy, and eternal rapture, and by His impact upon the souls of believers, whom He comforts as a mother in their virtues, their sufferings, sorrows, and illnesses, and their spiritual endeavors on behalf of faith. He is called Comforter in contrast to the spirit of dejection which often attaches itself to us. Each manifestation has a cause. Thus, having done a good deed, you rejoice and find comfort in your soul. Why? Because within you is the Spirit-Comforter, Who is everywhere present and fills all things, Who is the Treasury of good things, Who comforts us. Conversely, having done something bad, or not even having done anything, you sometimes feel terrible dejection in your soul. Why? Because you have allowed the evil spirit of dejection to overwhelm you. For example, you stand in prayer and you are overcome by dejection, whereas before prayer there was none; or you try to read a spiritual book, the Holy Scriptures for example, and again you are overcome by dejection, laziness, doubt, little belief, or lack of faith. Why? Because you are being tempted, you are being attacked by the evil spirits of dejection, doubt, and disbelief. You are standing in church at a divine service, and you become bored, depressed, lazy – this means you have been attacked by dejection. Why again? Because you are being overwhelmed by these same evil spirits. Or you take up some spiritual activity – and there is darkness and coldness in your heart and mind, and a weakening of your entire body. Why? Because the invisible enemy is attacking you. It is easy to prove: only cease doing all this, and everything will become so easy and pleasant, and there will be such openness in the soul and heart – you wonder from where it came. For this reason the Holy Spirit is so absolutely essential to all of us in our good deeds: He is our strength, power, light, peace, comfort.
The demons’ battle with the Holy Spirit
Since the Holy Spirit is a mighty power and the fear and torment of the demons, they use all their hellish wiles to oppose the Holy Spirit and to blaspheme Him. Since the Holy Spirit is a spirit of salvation, a spirit of unity, love, and peace, the demons comprehensively oppose unity, love, and the salvation of people. They were the cause of the division of churches into Eastern and Western – note that the division occurred precisely over the dogma of the Holy Spirit; they were the cause of further splintering of the Roman West into Lutheranism, Calvinism, and Anglicanism; they were the cause of the schism in our Orthodox Church. The demons also try their utmost – and have largely succeeded – to uproot faith in the Gospel and the Church of Christ from the hearts of Christians, which is also blasphemy against the Holy Spirit; they try their utmost to submerge Christians in deeds of the flesh and its iniquities, so that the Spirit of God would not dwell among men, as happened to antediluvian mankind; and do we not see how people have given themselves over to avarice, gluttony, drunkenness, and debauchery to such a great extent? What kind of corruption are we living in?! O, woe unto us, and very soon it will be even worse… The evil spirits also attack the Holy Spirit in the thoughts and hearts of individuals by shaking their belief in Him. Woe unto us! Let us not blaspheme God’s life-giving Holy Spirit, the Spirit of ineffable love, Who intercedes for us with unutterable sighs (Rom. 8:26); let us spend our entire life worshipping Him and glorifying Him, just as we worship and glorify the Father and the Son – with indivisible and equal honor. Let us honor the universal creed – this salvific guide to faith for believers of all times and all places. Let us not insult with a single thought of doubt the Holy Spirit living within us and reviving us, Who loves us immeasurably, as do the Father and the Son.