According to God’s relation to us every man is valuable, both great and small, known and unknown, for it it written: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  And so, the Lord perished for that small man – the publican – who was hated by the Pharisee.

We address God in order to establish a right relationship and communion with Him. And see, that unknown man who stood in the back of the temple, the Publican, didn’t think about what other people were like, are they better or weaker than him, he didn’t mind that others pushed in front of him, that they try to stick out, to show themselves more important than him. He came to speak to God, and He spoke directly, face to face, heart to heart, and he prayed: Lord, have mercy upon me a sinner. And that’s all we need, in order for God to be merciful to us, to see us, to notice us, to once again accept us as we are, to accept us as His children and to forgive us for He can and wants to do this, to accept the forgiveness, to feel that we need forgiveness. This Publican showed that he needed God and his prayer achieved that goal.

Bishop Atanasije of Milesevo here

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