Fr Tikhon told us in his book, that he knew of very few cases of monks who left their monastic vows and returned to laity. And even then, he said that one single case is too many, for it is a tragedy.
The opening words in this chapter of the book was a sermon giving to a particular monk, where the homily said to this monk was that God demands only one single thing from us, just one – faith. And yet, time and again, we, whether clergy or laity, would fail our God, on this simple thing God hopes from us. We are to be little children, carrying just faith and simple prayers unto God, and God promised us His Kingdom (St Matthew 18:3).
Fr Tikhon told us of Church canons that would forbid the burial of a person who renounced his monastic vows in a Christian cemetery, for such a person is deemed to have committed suicide. And should such a person marry, his marriage is not recognized by the Church. Although it seems cruel, such canons are to demonstrate the seriousness of monastic vows, and such vows are not to be taken lightly, and are to be revered by those who dare take them. It is a lifelong commitment.
This is why we consider monastics to be angels on earth, and these holy elders among us are to us our defenders, as they pray for our salvation and petition before God. Their daily struggles not just for us, but epic struggles with the evil one, are to be respected by all. It is no easy struggle. Pray for our beloved monastics, including hierarchs, when we pray for our loved ones and ourselves.
Our Lord is ever merciful, and ever forgiving, and ever loving. There is no human obstacle that can prevent Him from loving us even for a second. It is often just remembering to be little children again, to reconcile with Him with simple humility, complete repentance, and tearful prayers, and we find ourselves on the journey towards Him, yet again.
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.