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Sadness and Faith


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#1 Peter Simko

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 06:35 PM

Dear friends,

 

A great friend of mine, Juliana, has been struggling with her faith for sometime now.  She last participated in Church services consistently during Great and Holy week two years ago; speaking with me somewhat recently, she found the services to be so saddening, that she could not bring herself to experience them anymore.  To me, this sort of real sadness at the Passion of Christ seems to be a gift and fruit of the Spirit of God.  Nevertheless, she let it overcome her and it has pulled her away from the life of the Orthodox Church.  She did not grow up with Orthodoxy, but rather came into it as a collegian.  It makes me wonder how much I have allowed myself to think of the liturgies as rote, rather than opportunities for compunction and contrition, particularly during Great and Holy Week.

 

Please pray for her faith to be built up, and for any fears she may have to be wiped away by the Lord.  And please, pray for me, that I might be a source of edification for her in any way God would will.  Thank you.



#2 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 07:50 PM

The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to read the texts of the services - they are full of hope and joy in anticipation of our Lord's Holy Resurrection. And what could be more joyful than to contemplate the icon of Christ despoiling hades and freeing those there from death and raising them to life? What is more joyful than the repeated cries of the people at Pascha, 'Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life'? Our faith is one of joy. Reading the Paschal homily of St John Chrysostom is also a source of joy. Read also the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection, and the account of the encounter with the Risen Christ of Luke and Cleopas on the road to Emmaus and at  the supper there - those disciples were so overjoyed, their hearts burning within them, that they ran back to Jerusalem during the night. Is all this something to be sad about? God forbid! Be joyful!



#3 Phoebe K.

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 08:05 PM

I to am a convert as an adult and find that the service express the emotion of the events and in this can help us express our emotions as they validate the feelings we have.  It is also important to accept that we feel the whole range of emotions and yes that includes the so called negative ones, but the Church is always careful to bring us to encounter those then joy, the six psalms of Matins are an example of this.

 

Holy week is difficult for a lot of people but we hold on as we know that the darkest hour is just before dawn, so the most challenging services lead to the Joy of the resection, I agree with Reader Andreas that we need to focus on the victory of Pascha, but we also need to accept that the darkness of holy week makes this all the brighter.



#4 Peter Simko

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 08:59 PM

Thank you both for your insight and prayers.



#5 Jason Hunt

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 09:37 PM

The services should lead us to a sense of the "godly sorrow" that "produces repentance leading to salvation" (2 Cor. 7:10).  St. Silouan said well to "keep your mind in Hell and despair not."  Sadness can be beneficial as long as we do not lose faith and fall into despair, which is the greatest sin.  Sometimes we fear this godly sorrow because we are still addicted to our passions and afraid to part from them.  We do not want to experience remorse, sorrow, regret, or suffering and so we often run away from these experiences by seeking gratification of the flesh in different forms.  This sorrow should lead us to contrition, an awareness of our own emptiness, our need for and dependence on God, and a realization that true joy comes only from God.

 

Pray for your friend!  It is the best thing you can do. 



#6 Loucas

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 06:26 PM

The services during Great and Holy week are truly sad and we feel the sorrow. The weeks leading up to Holy week prepare us for that, and the Feast of Feasts, Pascha should then renew our joy and hope as we celebrate the Resurrection. I offer my heart felt prayers for Julianna, I also encourage her to follow each Sunday of the Triodion and Great lent, then to wipe away the tears of sorrow and replace them with tears of joy, Christ is Risen, defeating death by death.



#7 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 07:18 PM

Because God in His Church is compassionate and merciful, there is much in Great Lent to be joyful about. Consider the Feasts and Sundays of Lent: the first is the Sunday of Orthodoxy when we rejoice at the restoration of veneration of the holy icons; this year, on the following Friday, is the Feast of the Annunciation when we rejoice at the incarnation of our Saviour; the second Sunday is that of St Gregory Palamas who showed us that we can become godlike by the grace of the Holy Spirit; the third Sunday is the veneration of the Holy Cross which is the token of our salvation and gives us power over our adversaries; the fourth Sunday may be the hardest since we are reminded through St John of the Ladder of the effort we must make but we are told that he who endures will be saved; on the fifth Saturday, we say the Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God where we rejoice at her mercy and care; in the fifth Sunday we see how even great sinners can become saved and great saints since no there is no sin that cannot be forgiven; on the Feast of Lazarus Saturday, we rejoice that a man can be raised from the dead by Christ.



#8 Lakis Papas

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Posted 12 March 2016 - 05:58 PM

Was Juliana baptized ?

#9 Peter Simko

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 02:48 AM

Lakis,

 

Yes.



#10 Lakis Papas

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 11:09 AM

This problem needs pastoral treatment.

Not everyone has the same endurance to sadness. There are persons too sensitive, they need special care not to put on them to much guilt.

#11 Lakis Papas

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 11:11 AM

Repentance is painful. Sensitive souls suffer much.

#12 Loucas

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 01:27 PM

I strongly agree. It is why I have many times on many topics referred to speaking with your Priest. That can never be the last resort. The Priest is ones Spiritual Father, unless you have a monastic, then seek his or her advise. But Lakis is right on target, make some appointments to sit and talk with your Priest or a Spiritual guide. Blessed Lent.






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