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How to live in this world?


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#1 Georgije Z.

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 01:35 PM

I have difficulty to decide what is the best life to live according to the faith.

I need your opinion and suggestions.

 

I constantly jump between "out of this world" and "inside of this world".

 

Reading the Fathers, I really can find a silent place in my heart and in my mind when thinking about the world. Than I am "outside" of the world, I find a calm silence in the prayer, and enter a sweet stillness. 

 

To fight against evil, the invisible one inside of my mind, is a constant hard work.

 

But sometimes I need to fight the outside evils. I really get sad thinking about worldly things, like hunger, wars, stupidness of media, politicians, banksters and mafia.... I really get upset when thinking about the evil work in the world. Sometimes I would go out and DO SOMETHING, to SHOUT about the these things, I would go and PROTEST, ....

..and than I realize how complex the world is, how difficult to win being alone.

 

And than again I try to go "outside" of the world, to find silence and peace.

But since I have family I again have desire to make the world better, and again to do something, to be Christ's warrior....

But how, but what...?

 

It looks so complex.

 

Sometimes I feel that these two paths are incompatible with each other.



#2 Father David Moser

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 02:20 PM

Here is a little bit of a sermon that I gave a few years ago that might help:


Most of us are called not to leave the world but to live in the world and to work out our salvation in the world.  How then is this possible – to be in theworld, but not of the world.  In the news recently has been the plight of a whale which has somehow become lost andstranded in Puget Sound, separated from its family group.  The plight of this whale is not our issue here, but rather the fact that a whale is not a fish but a mammal, an airbreather who lives not in the air, but in the water.  The whale lives in the water, but is not of  the water.  In the same way, we who are of Christ must learn to live in the world while not becoming part of the world. 



#3 Alice

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 03:25 PM

I agree that it is difficult and much easier when you are in a position to retreat from the world a bit--like being retired, or empty nest, etc.

 

When one has to tend to  worldly things like work with co-workers, the public, and bosses(depending on where you work), sell a house and deal with lawyers and banks, deal with teachers and your children's education and other parents who are not devout Christians, etc., it can be very difficult.

 

I find that those things which create 'busy-ness' , such as too much social interaction, and extreme mind and body fatigue (such as work) are those things which can contribute to a lack of peace in the soul. Too much interaction with the world through the media and entertainment, can also take our peace away. One needs a little time when one is refreshed and alone to think of God and speak with him.

 

Ideally, this is in the morning, if one's circumstances allow him or her the time.

 

An antidote I have found through the years when I have no time in the morning is to have religious tapes playing in the car,  praying 'for me and with me' in a sense, while I commute.

 

Another time I like to commune with God is those days when I am able to find time in the morning to walk my dog and be outdoors. I pray while walking!

 

Personally, what I love is having a parish that has weekly Paraclisis service, to take time in the middle of the week to recharge spiritually.

I also try to make the feast day services on 'off days' whenever I can...The smaller attendance make it feel so much more intimate than on Sundays in the typical Greek parishes where there are so many people and distractions.


Edited by Alice, 29 June 2013 - 03:29 PM.


#4 Alice

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 03:34 PM

Further to my above, here is something I found today on one of my favorite Orthodox blogs, which can be helpful to us who live in the world: ELDER PAISIOS:

 

- Seek for a lifeline near to God. Contain your material needs, because they create huge burdens and anxieties.


- Do not envy people that have money, comforts, fame and power, but rather those who live with virtue, reason and piety.

- Do not ask God for things that only support your body, but especially what is good and beneficial for your soul.
 
- Change your life, discover the meaning of life, gain the time lost in this process so far on earth.
 
- Do not trust the mindset of secular people.
 
- Be healed of the illnesses that dominate the lives of people that did not learn to fast, to be chaste, to pray, to hope.

- Do not despair. God is omnipresent and loves humanity.

- Cut off every relationship with evil, live freely, according to the will of the Lord.

- Prove your faith with works of love toward your neighbor.
 
- Decide what you want most: the sympathy of the world or a return near to God?
 
- Almost all problems start from the mouth (what you say) and, likewise, by the amount you depend on your passions.

- Love your wife more than yourself.
 
With works, not with words. And do not ever talk to her badly, because
sometimes the tongue kills and destroys love. Also, be careful, because
some parents spoil their children very much and always do them favors.
And when a child is too spoiled, they will become selfish and take a
crooked path. Many parents care more about providing material things for
their children. This is wrong. The body has many material desires, but a
short life. The soul continues along another course. The soul does not
end up in the dirt, but with God. Today everyone deals with their body,
not with the needs of their soul.

- The needs of the soul are different.
 
The joys of the soul are different from the joys of the body. The body
is easily managed, not the soul. If you have money and enter a big
store, the body is all set. But what can you find in a, what do you call
those big stores, yes, a supermarket, for your soul? The soul needs
other things. The soul has need of peace, quiet, communion with God. To
sustain the body, you need silver and daily bread. To sustain the soul,
divine talents and heavenly Bread are needed.

From the book Four Hours With Fr. Paisios (Τέσσερις ώρες με τον π. Παίσιο). Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Edited by Olga, 29 June 2013 - 04:00 PM.
removed excess spacing


#5 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 03:54 PM

"deal with lawyers" - for lawyers, it's dealing with clients! 



#6 Georgije Z.

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 08:46 PM

Dear all,

Thank you very much for your posts, it helps.

 

Sometimes I feel I need to do something for the world and "in" the world, and so I start being interested in its things, concerns, worries...my thoughts become busy and filled with it.
Than I realize everything is empty and idle and will pass as a thunder flash..

 

I find a total freedom in spiritual reading, stillness and prayer. It is a kind of perfect state of the mind and body. But what bothers me is that it is a kind of non-actional state and I cannot do anything else... I would stay there in that state, but I can't. There are many obligations to do.

 

Father David Moser, your story is great, and I find it as a good starting point for my thoughts..

And Alice, thank you too, it is also exactly what I need.



#7 Alice

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 09:07 PM

"deal with lawyers" - for lawyers, it's dealing with clients! 

 

LOL! :P Touche!! ;)

 

I did not mean to offend lawyers. I simply mean the 'wordly' concerns which bring one to need the services of an attorney.

 

All the best to you, Andreas,

Alice :)



#8 Father David Moser

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 03:58 AM

Father David Moser, your story is great, and I find it as a good starting point for my thoughts..
And Alice, thank you too, it is also exactly what I need.

 

I was rereading the whole sermon and thought I should have posted the rest of it.  So now that I have the barest excuse to do so - here is a little more:

 

 

Most of us are called not to leave the world but to live in the world and to work out our salvation in the world.  How then is this possible – to be in the world, but not of the world.  In the news recently has been the plight of a whale which has somehow become lost and stranded in Puget Sound, separated from
its family group.  The plight of this whale is not our issue here, but rather the fact that a whale is not a fish but a mammal, an airbreather who lives not in the air, but in the water.  The whale lives in the water, but is not of  the water. In the same way, we who are of Christ must learn to live in the world while not becoming part of the world. 

 

Two of the saints of Russia to whom we can look as examples of this are St Juliana of Lazarevo and St John of Kronstadt.  St Juliana was a young woman of great piety who was married to a pious man, George Ossorgin.  As was the custom of the time she lived in the household of his parents and as time passed she assumed the task of managing the household for them.  When her husband’s parents died, the control of the household fell to her, a task which she fulfilled with great skill and compassion.  St Juliana ordered her household such that offerings were given to the Church, alms were given to the poor and her own prayers were paramount in her life. After the sudden death of two of her sons, she desired to withdraw from the world so that she might commit all her energy and effort to prayer for their souls and the working out her salvation.  However, her husband, also a pious man, reasoned with her that it was her duty before God to remain in the world and raise her children.  From that time on, however, she began living a semi-monastic life in their home and with her husband’s consent, they no longer lived as man and wife, but as brother and sister. St Juliana continued and intensified her life of asceticism, prayer and almsgiving while yet living in the world as the mistress of the household.  Even after her husband’s death, she remained “in the world” but committing herself to the spiritual life.  St Juliana’s great struggle to work out her salvation in the world is truly an example of how the priority to serve God first is worked out while still living in the world.

 

St John of Kronstadt is another example of how one can remain “in the world” and yet not be “of” it. St John was as a youth a very intense and spiritually minded young man.  Despite his fervent desire to enter monastic life, he chose instead to marry so that he might serve God as a parish priest.  Although married, St John lived a strict and ascetic life, exhibiting that rare gift of living with his wife in virginity as though they were brother and sister.  His life also was marked by an active and fervent habit of prayer and by self-denial and almsgiving.  He rarely retired from involvement in the world, but celebrated the divine services daily in the Cathedral of Kronstadt where he was assigned.  He built and maintained shelters for the poor and homeless and workshops where they could get back on their feet.  He became well known by many and used his influence for the benefit of those in need.  His later life is marked by many miraculous events, healings, clairvoyance, and other gifts of the Holy Spirit.  And yet, St John did not withdraw from the world, but was completely immersed in it throughout his whole life.  Truly he lived in the world but was not of it.

 

Now I have certainly not narrated the lives of these saints in detail and because it is important that we see the lives of these saints in full, I encourage you all to read the lives of these saints.  In fact, in celebration of this feast of All Sts of Russia and of North America, go and read the life of one of these saints or one of the many saints that have been produced in the rich soil of the Russian Church.  Read the life of a saint – look at how each one was able to work out his salvation – ask this saint to help you, to come to your aid in your own struggle and to pray for you.  The saints have indeed discovered how to serve God above all and how to develop the characteristics described by the beatitudes in their own lives – and they are our helpers as we seek to follow in their footsteps to serve God, to be blessed in this life and to look forward to the blessed life of the world to come in the presence of God.


 

 



#9 Lakis Papas

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 11:13 AM

 
The evil in society, politics, economy is now blatant. Sensitive souls are wounded by the injustice in the world. The soul becomes inactivated and immobilized, she loses her courage and finally arrives at despair.
 
Isolation seems to be offered as a solution. But then, the soul simply is resting. The sensors of the soul will capture again the ugliness of a world that is self-displayed so shamelessly. Christians are called to stay and live in this dark world. To become its light. A light that is coming from heaven and penetrates Christians illuminating those who live in darkness.
 
Christians are not fighting to win, victory was achieved by Christ. The prevalence of evil in human society is the reason Christ was crucified. His Cross is our hope and our redemption from grief. Christ said: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 
 
John 20:33
These things I have spoken to you, that in me ye may have peace, in the world ye shall have tribulation, but take courage -- I have overcome the world.
 
Romans 5:3-5
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
 
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
 
Psalms 138:7-8
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.


#10 Owen Jones

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 11:33 AM

It's always important to realize that what we are going through, Christ has anticipated and addressed (and also experienced!).  And so, "sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."



#11 John Choate

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 01:52 PM

I can certainly identify with the dilemma of living in the world but not being of the world.  That is so hard for me!  I find that I struggle with dealing with "the world" as it intrudes into the parish life.  Things such as parish politics, griping about the priest or other members.  It's a real struggle.

 

 



#12 Georgije Z.

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 03:21 PM

The evil in society, politics, economy is now blatant. Sensitive souls are wounded by the injustice in the world. The soul becomes inactivated and immobilized, she loses her courage and finally arrives at despair.

 
Isolation seems to be offered as a solution. But then, the soul simply is resting. The sensors of the soul will capture again the ugliness of a world that is self-displayed so shamelessly. Christians are called to stay and live in this dark world. To become its light. A light that is coming from heaven and penetrates Christians illuminating those who live in darkness.
 
Christians are not fighting to win, victory was achieved by Christ. The prevalence of evil in human society is the reason Christ was crucified. His Cross is our hope and our redemption from grief. 

 

Exactly.



#13 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 01:19 PM

St Seraphim of Vyritsa lived many years in the world and was a highly successful businessman but still cultivated the Christian virtues.

 

Elder Porphyrios spent most of his life in the world, even living near Omonia Square in Athens (and those who know Athens will understand what that area is like).  Living in the world but spiritually on Mt Athos. 

 

There has always been evil in the world, there have always been difficulties in the Church, from top to bottom.  It can be hard to do a job, pay the bills and cope with all that life throws at us.  Yet our inner disposition need to be one of humility and of complete acceptance of God's will.  If we think we are not managing at all well, we can say this prayer: Lord, Thou seest my difficulties: make up for what I cannot do myself.


Edited by Andreas Moran, 01 July 2013 - 01:20 PM.





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