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One-sidedness in Orthodoxy


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#1 RichardWorthington

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 12:58 PM

In the thread on [thread=5151] Can an Orthodox priest forgive sins?[/thread] I mentioned a certain one-sidedness, and got this reply:

This one-sidedness of which you speak is not something that I am familiar with. I have not found it in the manner in which I was instructed from the time of my catechism onward. I do not see it in the instruction of my brother clergy. Somehow I think that your experience was not so general as you have come to believe.


Please read more about my experience of one-sidedness regarding grace and free will here, and also about the possibility of not fearing hellfire. I have indeed found that the ethos of the Orthodox Church is against the Orthodox Faith.

For example, am I the only one to feel pain at reading this post:

I myself can affirm that under Protestant Christianity, even believing in "Once Saved, Always Saved," I became a much better person than I was as an agnostic, but that didn't make OSAS true or historical. In fact, I would say that being forced by reading the Fathers to abandon OSAS has had a negative effect on my spiritual life, as I can affirm that my pursuit of personal righteous behavior suffered a massive hiccup from that point forward. Should I interpret this to mean that OSAS was true, and that I should return to the SBC, as I was more inclined to seek righteousness under its care? (For that matter, I haven't done as much evangelizing, either, after switching to Orthodoxy -- went from 60 to zero, one might say. What does that say about the truth of Orthodoxy?)

http://www.monachos....65616#post65616


Where are the people in Orthodoxy correcting his one-sidedness - which is the one-sidedness of the Orthodox Church acting against the Fathers of the Church? Or should I rejoice that the evils of "once saved always saved" have been refuted? Where is the healthy balance acknowledging that some people need - for various reasons - ‘infallible assurance’, but others need to hear about the real possibility of hell fire, and yet probably for most a mixture of the two is more appropriate?

Again, search this modern catechism:
http://www.sourozh.o..._Orthodox_Faith

Justification by faith alone is not even mentioned; there is no discussion on grace versus free will (like Calvinism verses Arminianism). This is the same in all books I have found (though I think one book published by in Greece did try, but still refused to fully acknowledge the spirituality of St John Cassian). Find me one dogmatical book - or other work so that everyday people can see what Orthodoxy teaches - that acknowledges the fullness of both grace and freewill. The relationship between grace and freewill is not difficult or exalted, but simple: A parent can rebuke one child for wrong doing, yet praise another for good actions. Here is no contradiction, but I have found that in Orthodoxy God is not allowed to relate to each one as is needed: one size fits all, so to speak, and this implies all must eventually fear hell fire! (Divorce is an unpleasant reality, but should one partner constantly remind the other of its possibility? Yet such is the Orthodox teaching on 'falling from grace': not let up is allowed. Why is Orthodoxy so negative, always assuming the worst in people?)

For example, I have two sisters: one a Calvinist, the other a Catholic. Theologically, I try to be as close to one as to the other: yet in Orthodoxy Catholicism is nearly praised and Calvinism is cursed. (The MP and EP both have dialogue with the Catholics, yet who will dialogue with the Calvinists, acknowledging that a huge chunk of Calvinism is found in St John Cassian?)

I once attended an Orthodox conference, in which the speaker worked his way through the Letter to the Romans. I overheard one person disparagingly comment, "I am so glad that we will hear about Romans. Certain parts of it sound almost Calvinistic!" Funnily enough, if you have read St John Cassian’s 13th conference you will be able to see the Orthodoxy within. However, it is not only Protestants that can be accused of ‘rejecting the baby with the bath water’: modern Orthodoxy does it too! In rejecting the totality of Calvinism, a part of Orthodoxy is rejected too. As I once read in the Philokalia (St mark the Monk, about half-way through his bit on No Righteousness by Works; from memory): Humility consists, not in condemning our conscience, but in recognising God’s grace and compassion. Yet we are rebuked for needing to hear about God's love in keeping us safe when it is good for us, love begetting love, not begetting carelessness.)

However, I think it could be better to continue the discussion on the one-sidedness of grace and freewill in Orthodoxy in the Comparison between Arminianism and Orthodoxy thread, which is where I put my experience on grace and freewill in Orthodoxy.

Just one more example of one-sidedness for now:

Certain Roman Catholic saints have said the following about how Mary stands between us and Christ:

Even if our acts are very holy, they are not completely without stain, and if we want to offer them to Jesus Christ, we should give them first to Mary Immaculate, as her own. She will give them to Jesus Christ as hers, so that they will come to him stainless and pleasing. Then, receiving infinite value through Jesus, our acts will worthily honor God our Father.
("Mary Immaculate", St Maximilian Kolbe, Augustine Publishing Company. ISBN 0-85172-663-1; p.19-20).

Additionally, elsewhere in this booklet it mentions that God has assigned justice to Christ, but mercy to Mary. Even more so, it says that if we say the name "Mary" before taking holy communion then Mary takes communion instead of us, and that this is the greatest offering we can make to her.

http://www.monachos....58825#post58825


Where is the refutation of this heresy, that we can only please Christ by offering via Mary? Nowhere. Heresy is allowed to live and grow within Orthodoxy because of its one-sidedness, ever leaning towards Rome and arrogantly disdaining Evangelicalism. (Have you seen fanaticism in Evangelicalism? Yet I have seen and experienced the same fanaticism carefully hidden in ‘pleasant, peaceful, Anglo-Catholicism' in Orthodoxy! That is why I seek to be as close to one as to the other: they are the same, and the Orthodox Faith is just as close to Rome as it is to Protestantism, but the Orthodox Church refuses to live according to the fullness of the Orthodox Faith.)

I do note that some Catholics do not believe this (see two posts below the one quoted above), but where is the refutation of this teaching, so that Orthodoxy may shine? Why are our leading bishops and theologians (whether modernist or traditionalist) so ignorant of how they can be misunderstood? Heresy is allowed to breed because no bishop or theologian teaches accurately regarding such things.

I am beginning to realise that Orthodoxy’s one-sidedness comes from a denial to let the reality of deification influence all aspects of our theology. But anyway, am I alone in thinking like this? Do other people have any other experiences of one-sidedness, where a clear healthy balance is rejected? or am I just nuts?

Richard
PS As you can tell, there is of course some pain still relating to my experiences of Orthodoxy's one-sidedness. I hope I do not offend anyone, but I am convinced that such one-sidedness is deeply entrenched in Orthodoxy. Any help would be appreciated.

#2 Antonios

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 03:06 PM

Dear Richard,

There is much sadness to hear of the pain that lingers within your soul regarding certain past experiences. Not knowing what these experiences are makes it difficult for others to understand, but I do not think it would be a stretch to say that the we have all at times felt betrayed or misguided, especially from those whom we entrusted and opened our hearts to. We are, after all, sinners in a sinful world.

You stated:

I am beginning to realise that Orthodoxy’s one-sidedness comes from a denial to let the reality of deification influence all aspects of our theology.

I don't understand what you mean. The very theology of the Orthodox Church is man's deification. Where is this being denied?

The Church is a spiritual hospital which seeks to heal the sick children of God. We are all sick, though some more than others. Some require certain bitter medicines more than others, which is why contemplating on death and developing a fear in standing before the Judgment Seat of Christ is taught. It has been a proven and effective way in initiating and sustaining the process of deification and growing in the love of Christ. For some, this is what is need to soften their hearts and bring fruits of humility within their souls. I think it dangerous to belittle on an open Christian forum such spiritual treatments because you do not ascribe to it. This is being one-sided in my opinion. For me and others, fear and trembling before Christ has brought more consolation and love for God and others than anything else. I just think we should be a little careful in judging what we judge is not needed.

I hope others can better answer your questions regarding your critiques of the Church. I pray you find forgiveness and peace in your journey.

In Christ,
Antonios

#3 Misha

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 07:58 PM

I think that the core-issue of Orthodox theology is that:
Religion is sickness and Orthodox Church is its cure

#4 Father David Moser

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 10:28 PM

On salvation by faith:

...Throughout all time, man's salvation was accomplished, is being accomplished and will continue to be accomplished only by faith and only within the Church. Throughout all time, the leprosy of sin, that seed of death, has been treated and healed only there, and only by God the Savior.

...If the enemy of humankind fights so unremittingly, so persistently for the soul of each person, then he has had an entirely special "concern" for the Church of Christ from its very beginning, for only in the Church and through the Church is man's salvation accomplished.

The mystery of transgression is the direct opposite of the mystery of Christian piety. Among the tireless activities of the devil, destruction of faith in Christ the Savior as God is a fundamental mission.

After all, only the Holy Orthodox Church of Christ is the living organism that planted and that cultivates Christ's vineyard. Only within it is the pledge of life and salvation for man, and only within it does Christ always live and act.

St. Cyprian of Carthage used to say, "Whoever does not have the Church as his Mother does not have God as his Father.." That is why the enemy, the under doer, so persistently accords attention to the Church.

....


This is from one of the homilies of Archim. John Krestiankin (there is much more to read if you follow the link). One of the important things that he points out is its not just any old faith that saves us but faith within the Church. Faith is important for the working out of our salvation, however, that faith must be directed properly in order to be effective. This is part of the "both/and" idea that Richard speaks of. We must have faith - and we must exercise that faith within the bounds of the Church. The Church is the channel through which grace is poured out to us (especially the sacramental life of the Church). Thus grace comes to us from God through the Church and having acquired that grace we use faith to incorporate that grace into our lives. We are saved by grace through faith.

Fr David Moser

#5 Father David Moser

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 10:38 PM

The MP and EP both have dialogue with the Catholics, yet who will dialogue with the Calvinists


I think that you vastly overemphasize the "dialogue" between the MP and the Roman Catholics. It seems that the MP's role in such dialogues as occur has been to consistently refuse to accede to the claims of Rome.

If you are questioning why the Orthodox Church seems more willing to talk with the Roman Catholic Church, perhaps it has something to do with who is more willing to talk with us. Also keep in mind that Rome and the Calvinists are not equidistant from Orthodoxy. Whereas Rome is but one step away from Orthodoxy (granted, a mighty big step) Calvinism is at least two more steps away (1 - Rome, 2 - Luther, 3 - Calvin - - I know this is a very oversimplified history of the reformation). So naturally it is easier to find common ground upon which to conduct a dialogue when the other participant is both more willing and historically nearer.

Fr David Moser

#6 RichardWorthington

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 10:17 PM

Dear Richard,

There is much sadness to hear of the pain that lingers within your soul regarding certain past experiences. Not knowing what these experiences are makes it difficult for others to understand, but I do not think it would be a stretch to say that the we have all at times felt betrayed or misguided, especially from those whom we entrusted and opened our hearts to. We are, after all, sinners in a sinful world.


Words cannot express the stillness that entered my soul (or perhaps could it be the confusion that left?!?) on reading these beautiful words. I thought I was trying to be objective, while at least acknowledging that I had been hurt. However, perhaps my inner state was more revealed that I had realised, perhaps more seen in my words than I could see in myself. How strange: which inner emotions really come from my true self, and which are those which have had to cover various inner parts? Your words spoke more than any theological dialogue could have done! Thank you again.


The Church is a spiritual hospital which seeks to heal the sick children of God. We are all sick, though some more than others. Some require certain bitter medicines more than others, which is why contemplating on death and developing a fear in standing before the Judgment Seat of Christ is taught. It has been a proven and effective way in initiating and sustaining the process of deification and growing in the love of Christ. For some, this is what is need to soften their hearts and bring fruits of humility within their souls. I think it dangerous to belittle on an open Christian forum such spiritual treatments because you do not ascribe to it. This is being one-sided in my opinion. For me and others, fear and trembling before Christ has brought more consolation and love for God and others than anything else. I just think we should be a little careful in judging what we judge is not needed.


The church is a hospital: yes, I have heard this. Perhaps - and I am beginning to see this - my experience was not representative of Orthodoxy as a whole. It seems that I happened to find the spiritual doctors who are 'quacks': and I am thinking that their quackery might have something to do with some of the underlying reasons for the split in Sourozh. In Britain, Anglo-Catholic priests have been known to pass from catechumen to Orthodox priest in only a matter of weeks (for one Anglican priest this journey was only three days!).

It seems that I merely found the type of Orthodoxy that was deliberately blind to my needs, while endlessly 'sucking up to' various High Church types. Literally, the books written by Big Name Speakers I was given to read had barely no idea of the views of the Protestant Reformation, and no need to try to answer our concerns.

Thank you again, I hope there is more to Orthodoxy than what I found.

Pray for me.

Richard

#7 Owen Jones

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 02:13 AM

If Orthodoxy in the U.S. can be rather somnambulant, in Britain it can be downright quirky.

I have a bit of a dissent toward some points made by Fr. Moser, and I realize one can carry this too far in an extreme direction, but I think of Christ and the woman at the well, and I do not think Christ would totally accept Fr. Moser's ecclessial theology. What God wants of us is a humble seeking of Him, and if this does not occur within the confines of Orthodoxy per se, then that is fine with Him. The Church represents and suffers for all mankind, and represents Christ's example to all mankind. We should always rejoice in a man's humble faith, wherever it is to be found. In fact, I will go so far as to suggest that Christ will be far more disposed toward a man of humble faith not in the Church, than someone in the Church who is either luke warm, or prideful in his faith. And he will be downright wrathful toward someone in the Church who is so dogmatically exact as to cause people to be fearful or despondent, or tyrannical to the point of exacting tribute.

#8 Paul Cowan

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 05:34 AM

Owen, and no slight at to Father David; I agree wholeheartily with what you say. But, tell me the purpose of the church again? If a man is "good" and lives "his humble faith", then what purpose does anyone have with a Church? God knows the heart of man and will be ultimate Judge for sure. But he PC in me is now screaming, why do I need The church? Bubba in the basement with my personally philosophy on life do good to others and all that.

Before Christ, I can see this. Since Christ, not so much

Paul

PS

somnambulant
adjective
walking as if, or while, asleep


Edited by Paul Cowan, 14 July 2008 - 05:35 AM.
added definition


#9 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 10:23 AM

Owen Jones
If Orthodoxy in the U.S. can be rather somnambulant, in Britain it can be downright quirky.


I'm afraid this is true. The problem here is (or at least has been - I've had little or no parish experience for some years) a widespread lack of proper or any catechesis plus a failure to leave the old baggage behind. The ordination to the priesthood of men soon after becoming Orthodox and with no training whatsoever has certainly happened; what guidance can such a man give to people? However, anyone can make mistakes, even sometimes a spiritual guide who has an impeccable spiritual 'CV'. Suppose a person reposes complete trust and confidence in such a spiritual guide and the guidance given then turns out to be, apparently, on any assessment, wrong, and with serious consequences. The person is then left angry, bitter, and confused on a number of levels. How does a person deal with such a situation when the person feels he or she has no one to whom to turn?

#10 Father David Moser

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 01:57 PM

First, let me say, Owen, that my name is David, not Moser. Moser is my surname, but my Christian name is David. I was not ordained "the priest Moser" - rather I was ordained the priest David. I know that in some confessions it is common to call a priest by his surname, but I have not really run into this in Orthodoxy all that much.

What God wants of us is a humble seeking of Him, and if this does not occur within the confines of Orthodoxy per se, then that is fine with Him.



Yes, humility is the greatest of all virtues and wherever it appears it is pleasing to God. However, there is no salvation outside the Church, this we know. Somehow, every person who is saved is joined to the Church. One cannot be part of the Body without being part of the Body. It is inconceivable.

What of those then who manage to humbly seek God but never darken the door of an Orthodox Church in this life? Thankfully that's not my problem - that is up to God; He will join them to the Church in a way that only He knows. But I am firmly convinced that when one humbly seeks God, sooner or later, by God's providence, he finds himself at the door of the Orthodox Church. I have seen to many conversions (my own included) that are the result of massive and sometimes very quirky "coincidence" to believe that its all chance. When one seeks God, one is drawn to the path of salvation. Coming to the doors of the Orthodox Church, does, at times, test one's humility and trust in God. If a person has accomplished all this but rejects the Church, where is his humility? If God brings the seeker to the ark of salvation, how is it that he can refuse to enter and continue on the path to God?

You may suggest that I am confusing the mystical Church the Body of Christ with the worldly organization that is the Orthodox Church. In that case I would say that the Orthodox Church is the true expression of the mystical Church in the world. Yes, there are those who appear to be Orthodox but are not. There are those who are "members" of the Orthodox Church even some who are baptized but who do not participate in the life of the Church (or worse yet, twist and pervert the appearance of the Church to their own ends) but they are not part of the Church. They do not share the life of the Church nor live in harmony with the saints. It is not enough to have the right "map" to heaven, one must actually follow the map and walk the path of salvation and live in union and communion with the choir of the saints. Thus being a "member" of the Orthodox Church is no guarantee of salvation, but it is only a start.

I said above that those who struggle and die outside the Church are in God's hands and are not my concern. What is my concern is the light that God has given me. He has brought me into His Church and given me all the riches of the Faith and now it is my concern, my duty, my responsibility to use those riches to work out my salvation. He has placed me on the path of salvation and now I will follow it (or not). Having set my feet upon this path will I now abandon it? Will I throw off all that God has given me because there are (gasp) sinners in the Church. If I see that others are sinners, it is only because I have ceased to see my own sin and I then am falling down on the path.

I suspect that you and I are not far apart in what we say. It is not sufficient to be a member of or baptized in the Orthodox Church. It is more necessary to be joined to the life of the Church by living the life of Christ.

Fr David Moser

#11 Owen Jones

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 12:32 PM

The purpose of the Church is to sanctify the world through its suffering example. If a Christian can sanctify his wife through his faith, then the Church can sanctify the world through its faith. That the world is not our concern strikes me as, well, triumphalistic. The opposite extreme, some kind of universalism, is not the predicate here.

#12 Paul Cowan

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 02:59 PM

The purpose of the Church is to sanctify the world through its suffering example. If a Christian can sanctify his wife through his faith, then the Church can sanctify the world through its faith. That the world is not our concern strikes me as, well, triumphalistic. The opposite extreme, some kind of universalism, is not the predicate here.


Not that we do not care for the whole world and don't pray for it. We are to do this as the world has been given us to be stewards. But the following I think is what Fr. David is saying.

1 corinthians 5:12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”[


My thoughts.

#13 Owen Jones

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 11:30 PM

If we believe that only people in Orthodoxy can be saved, then we darn sure ought to be out there evangelizing like crazy, if we truly cared about people not in the Church. Something just doesn't add up.

#14 Paul Cowan

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 12:40 AM

I never said no one out side the church was not saved. That is up to God. I do believe we should evangelize more. My wife is much better evangelizing than I. By her conversation with our local mechanic, he is considering coming to our parish.

Come and see.

I don't even believe Orthodox Christians will be saved. That again is up to God. I do think we have the best paved road for the journey though.

Forgive me THE worst of sinners.

#15 Owen Jones

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 12:56 AM

I wasn't responding directly to your comments, Paul, but to other comments that indicated otherwise.

#16 Antonios

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 07:20 AM

Thank you again, I hope there is more to Orthodoxy than what I found.

Pray for me.

Richard


Dear brother in Christ Richard,

Truly, there will always be more to Orthodoxy than what you've found, because Truth and Love are eternal. For Christ is Truth itself, and Love is the substance of God, and the Church which the Lord established on the earth is His Body amidst His creation. For from Divine Love the Lord has sacrificed His own Body and Blood so that we may know true Life and true Love. And not only know it, but to share it with Him and with all of creation. A relationship which places no limits to Love, but rather love begetting love.

How do we approach such unimaginable Glory? In extreme humility and in complete faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us and revealed to us the Word of the Father, and the Word being Love. While many ways and actions can lead to a feeling of love, only in humility and sacrifice will we share in the Love of Christ and become a temple of the Holy Spirit.

And if we ever truly taste such humility, then our actions will be the proof. For if we say we love and are humble, but rather value our own opinions over others and deny help and encouragement to another, who is a child of God and made in His image, than we do not share in the Love of Christ but rather follow the path of perdition.

And when standing before the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will condemn ourselves because the Truth will be revealed and our hearts will be exposed.

Will we handle the Truth when that dreadful moment arrives? Will we enter the Kingdom of Heaven?

These thoughts are needful for the sinner, lest we fall into pride and prelest and are found without a wedding garment and outside the gates of the joyous feast. And so, the Church like a spiritual hospital heals us and prepares us to be reciepients of the Holy Spirit. What kind of stewards we are with such holy blessings and how we serve God and offer love back to Him, He has left for us to determine by His greatest possible gift of all: free will. So, whether we build an ark in our hearts to secure such divine and holy gifts or rather construct golden calves in our minds to worship and offer praise, the choice is up to us to decide and the implication is life itself.

Thus, we should stand silently before the Presence of God and have complete faith in His Will and His Wisdom. And if whatever in this life causes us sorrow, than we should bear our cross with love and assurance. Not assurance that we have found the way, but rather that He has provided us the opportunity, the very means, that we might share in His Way today and in His Love forever.

And this Way is mercy and forgiveness.

In Christ,
Antonios

#17 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 11:01 AM

And when standing before the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will condemn ourselves because the Truth will be revealed and our hearts will be exposed.


If I may say so, I think we have to condemn ourselves before we appear before the 'dread tribunal'.

What remains unanswered is the situation I adverted to, namely, where a person puts their whole faith in their spiritual guide, who is, after all, supposed to be the instrument of the Holy Spirit, and that guide makes a serious mistake, is this not bound, if not to shake the person's faith, at least to cause the person to have some very big questions about how God's providence operates and what His will really is?

#18 Owen Jones

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 01:18 PM

Put not your faith in men or horses. A common problem is going to be disillusionment, especially in our modern world where people know all the right jargon, but they do not necessarily know how to live spiritually. Much of modern religious life is simply jargon, with a patina of warm fuzzy feelings. In the Way of the Pilgrim, the background is a rustic who is seeking God and only finding bad sermons. So he goes on a pilgrimage. Perhaps this is worthy of consideration ourselves, only the pilgrimage in the book is clearly an inner pilgrimage. His trip to Jerusalem is an allegory.

The disillusionment perhaps ought to be our disillusionment with ourselves for placing ourselves in a position of putting our trust in men and not in God, for putting a man on a pedestal and staking all of our spiritual confidence in him and in him alone, rather than seeing in him a sinner much like ourselves. Or perhaps what we are doing is confusing religion with spiritual virtue? Perhaps we are putting our trust in religion, rather than taking responsibility for our own virtue and lack thereof. And so what is the next step when we have been disillusioned? Some proper perspective on ourselves, perhaps.

I really do not see the priests or even the monks I know or who have met as having any kind of special spiritual gifts that are unique to them as a class. Some individuals have some certain gifts in some areas that can compliment my own gaps. I knew a priest who I liked and admired very much who seemed to have a number of personal problems. He was always borrowing money from parishioners and not paying it back. So one time he begged me to pay off one of his parishioners, and I did. And later, much later, when I was in need and he had some money, I was somewhat forceful in asking him to pay me, and he did -- one half of what he owed, and I accepted that. He had other problems as well. He was diabetic and did not take proper care of himself. He left the full time priesthood and started a restaurant. (A very Greek thing to do!). He went progressively blind and eventually died, relatively quite young, from his diabetes. Needless to say he was probably not on the Bishop's short list for promotions up the priestly ladder. But I had gone to him for confession, and spent some time around him otherwise. I even heard an Abbot say some mildly disparaging things about his mental health. But I always admired and liked him because he had spiritual insight -- nothing terribly profound in the big picture perhaps -- but little snippets here and there that were revealing myself to me.

And so perhaps we ought to seek out the spiritual guides who notably have a lot of problems, rather than the ones with stellar reputations as spiritual masters. I know he is a fictional character, but the monk in Ostrov seems to me to be the kind of guy we want to seek out, rather than the guy who appears outwardly to have all his - - - - together.

#19 Christina

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 06:22 PM

What remains unanswered is the situation I adverted to, namely, where a person puts their whole faith in their spiritual guide, who is, after all, supposed to be the instrument of the Holy Spirit, and that guide makes a serious mistake, is this not bound, if not to shake the person's faith, at least to cause the person to have some very big questions about how God's providence operates and what His will really is?


This is exactly where I am currently at. The prayer to our Blessed Lady, "entrust me not to human authorities" , fills my heart with peace. Are there anymore spiritual guides left in America besides Geronda Ephraim? This is the question I keep asking myself. The two qualifyers for a sf are love and clairvoyance (that they know Christ). How can I, whose heart is deceitful and wicked above all else, be without a Godly sf? Forgive my ramblings . . .

#20 RichardWorthington

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 09:54 PM

How can I, whose heart is deceitful and wicked above all else, be without a Godly sf? Forgive my ramblings . . .


Glorious is Christ who has worked salvation in the midst of the earth!!

It is He who came to seek and save the 'lost'! It is He who showed you love first, and who has touched your heart. Love begets love!

And He does not give the Spirit by measure!!

"Put not your trust in princes nor in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation"!

You have a Spiritual Father - God in Christ! Only seek to have an open heart to Him. As you would open your heart to a boyfriend, husband, or partner, so seek to open your heart to Him. That is all He will ever ask of anyone.

Get on with your life as you see fit - we do not need to go to a priest and say, "Father, your blessing to breathe in!", "Father, your blessing to breathe out!".

"whose heart is deceitful and wicked above all else" - join the club - called the human race! But God does not seek to concentrate on such things. So the garden of your heart is covered in brambles, weeds, nettles, slugs, etc. As I said, join the club! Do not try to attack everything in the garden at once. The weeds would just keep growing back as soon as you frantically move onto another part.

Just try to keep an open heart - a heart that inspires feeling of longing towards God. Then, even though the whole garden looks a mess, His eyes will be drawn to the most beautiful flower slowly growing. A rare flower! A protected flower! Will He not call His angels to protect such a beautiful flower?

Your sins - the weeds and slugs? Oh so what! God knows what is in a man. How many botanists go through marshes just to seek a rare flower - yet the photograph they take is of the flower close-up, not of the marsh.

Well, it helps me to think like this.

Richard




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