Children and saints cling to You, O Lord, the rest rebel against You.
Children and saints are the boundary between the Kingdom of existence and the shadow of nonexistence.1
Guardians call themselves parents and cast Your children off crags into chasms.
Guardians presume that they are parents, and so they direct Your children as though they were their own property. Truly, they are directing nothing but aberrations and disruptions.
The children, whom you guardians have abducted, belong to another, and you will answer for theft and banditry.
You own neither the life that is in you, nor the life for which you served as a channel. Everything belongs to another, except for the wickedness within you, and you will answer for theft and banditry.
You will answer for theft, because you have been calling those who belong to another, your own; and you will answer for banditry, because you have mutilated and butchered those who belong to another.
On earth there are only guardians; and this is a very great honor.
You have been entrusted with the guardianship of the most precious treasure that God has. And this is a very great honor.
One, who was never even born and was never entrusted with the guardianship of anything, will be more blessed than you, if your guardianship is an abomination and a mortification of souls.2
Why do you rejoice in children, unless you intend to keep watch over them as though they were angels from heaven? Why do you grieve for them, when they leave you early and flee to the angels in heaven? You were rejoicing in what belongs to another, and you are grieving for what belongs to another.
Do not care only about keeping the bodies of your children safe, for even foxes do the same for their foxlings. Hut care about God in your children. Once God is cared for He will take care of all the rest. And what you have been accumulating for your children so strenuously, He will effortlessly gather for them quickly and easily.3
Do not drive God out of your children, for you will deprive them of their peace, their happiness, their health, and their prosperity.
Even if you leave the entire world to those whom God has left, you will have left it to starving people, who will devour it all and still die of hunger.
Do not ensure a piece of bread for your children, but a piece of the soul and the conscience. Your children will be ensured and you will be blessed in two worlds.
Care for this property of another better than your own, and your reward will be immense.
Royal children have been entrusted to your guardianship. Truly, the King will give no small reward to those who guard His princely progeny, and have not erased the Father’s name from those children’s memory.
Through children the King is looking at you with amazement, and is awaiting your responses. If your responses are deathful, you will be taking care of corpses.
Children and saints cling to You, my Lord, the rest rebel against You. Children and saints are Your way of testing the world.
Be careful, my soul, be careful and make no mistake.
1. Cf. Matt. 18:2-5.
2. Cf. Matt. 18:6.
3. Cf. Matt. 6:33.
Prayers by the Lake were written by St. Nikolai Velimirovich.