Thursday, January 3, 2013

What is a God-Pleasing Life?

It all begins with faith. As the Scripture says, "Faith without works is dead."  Our faith brings grace which in turn strengthens faith. This faith then leads us to live a virtuous life, doing what God has commanded us to do.  The challenge for living a God-pleasing life is to do what God commands out of faith with attention to the moment. 
Saint Theophan says,
Thus each step, each word, even each movement and glance, everything may direct one to walk in God's will and, consequently, to move each moment towards the ultimate goal.
Our life when doing God's will is one were everything we do is done with an awareness of God.  It involves a heightened consciousness filled with attention to the moment.  It is not about fixing all the wrongs of the world, but living the commandments to their fulness in each little thing we do.  When we do this we make our part of the world and those we influence directly a little better.

Saint Theophan says,
 If each one of us did what was possible to do for whoever was standing right in front of our eyes, instead of goggling at the community of mankind, that all people, in aggregate, would at each moment be doing that which is needed by those in need, and, by satisfying their needs would establish the welfare of all mankind, which is made up of haves and have-nots, the weak and the strong. But those who keep thoughts of the welfare of all mankind inattentively let slip by that which is in front of their eyes. Because they do not have the opportunity perform a general work, and they let slip by the opportunity to perform a particular work, they accomplish nothing towards the main purpose of life.
And what is the purpose of life?  It is to prepare for the life after death in God's kingdom.

Saint Theophan says,
All troubles come from mental outlook that is too broad. It is better to humbly cast your eyes down toward your feet, and to figure out which step to take where. This is the truest path.

Reference: The Spiritual Life, pp 91-94

How Do Saints Hear Our Prayers ( Saint Theophan the Recluse )


Have you ever wondered about how the saints can hear our prayers.  This is a question that Saint Theophan tries to answer for us using the analogy of a telegraph line,
He writes,
When true prayer–that is, sincere prayer–moves in the soul, then that prayer, by means of the action of the element upon it, flies it has if on a beam of light to the Saints, and tells him what we want and what we are praying about. There is no gap between the time we make our prayer and when it is heard; the only necessity is that it comes from our heart. It is our telegraph line to Heaven. The very same prayers, which are not from our heart, but which come only from our head and tongue, do not produce a ray which rises to heaven, and they are not audible there. Those are not even prayers, but only prayer-like modes.
Prayers need to be sincere and said with feeling and not just read as if reading an email. Only those that are sincere are heard according to Saint Theophan.  As proof he suggests you notice how you feel after you have prayed fervently.  If it was sincere you will feel a calming and an inner assurance that you will be able to cope with what is troubling you.  This is the response that comes like the speed of light to a sincere prayer.

Saint Theophan says,

Prayer comes to someone who labors at it, but it will not come to anyone who does not work at it. We see that the Holy Fathers labored a great deal at prayer, and by these very labors kindled within themselves a prayerful spirit.
Our thoughts in prayer must reflect a humbleness. Ask always, "if It be you will." Ask always for forgiveness of your failing to act as God has intended. And, always give thanks for all God does give you, knowing that even in times of difficulty He is providing you what you need for you spiritual growth.  Keep in mind that your aim is to become one with Him in His Kingdom and that all things of this world are only temporary and means for our becoming one with God.

Reference: The Spiritual Life, p 84-86

Οι δοκιμασίες

Οσίου Σεραφείμ του Σάρωφ
* Εάν επιτρέψει ο Κύριος να δοκιμάσει ο άνθρωπος ασθένειες, τότε Εκείνος θα του δώσει και τη δύναμη της υπομονής.
* Όποιος σηκώνει την αρρώστια με υπομονή και ευγνωμοσύνη στο Θεό, στεφανώνεται σαν μάρτυρας...
* Πρέπει να τα υπομένουμε όλα για χάρη του Θεού με ευχαρίστηση. Η ζωή μας, συγκριτικά με την αιωνιότητα, είναι μια στιγμή. Γι’ αυτό και ο απόστολος λέει πως «όσα υποφέρουμε τώρα, δεν ισοσταθμίζουν τη δόξα που μας επιφυλάσσει ο Θεός στο μέλλον» (Ρωμ. 8,18).
* Όπως το κερί, αν δεν ζεσταθεί και δεν μαλακώσει, δεν μπορεί να δεχθεί πάνω του σφραγίδα, έτσι και η ψυχή, αν δεν δοκιμαστεί με τους κόπους και τις ασθένειες, δεν μπορεί να δεχθεί πάνω της τη σφραγίδα της αρετής.
* Η απελπισία είναι η μεγαλύτερη χαρά του διαβόλου. Είναι αμαρτία θανάσιμη.
* Η ειρήνη της ψυχής αποκτάται με τις θλίψεις. Η Γραφή λέει: «Περάσαμε από τη φωτιά και τον κατακλυσμό των θλίψεων. Τελικά, όμως, μας οδήγησες σε τόπο αναψυχής» (Ψαλμ. 65,12).

Μακρυά ἀπό τή ζήλεια

Μακριά από την ζήλεια. Τον κατατρώγει τον άνθρωπο. Όλα γίνονται στον φθονερό άνθρωπο. Εγώ τα έζησα. Οι άνθρωποι με είχαν για καλό και ερχόντουσαν πολλοί για να εξομολογηθούν. Και μου τα έλεγαν με ειλικρίνεια.
Μακριά από αυτά τα γυναικίστικα παράπονα. Τον Χριστό, μωρέ, τον Χριστό να αγαπήσουμε με πάθος, με θείο έρωτα.

Ευτυχισμένος ο μοναχός που έμαθε να αγαπάει όλους μυστικά. Δεν ζητά από τους άλλους αγάπη, ούτε τον νοιάζει να τον αγαπούν. Εσύ αγάπα όλους, και προσεύχου μυστικά μέσα σου. Ξέχυνε την αγάπη σου προς όλους.
Και θα έλθει ώρα που θα αγαπάς αβίαστα. Και θα νιώθεις, ότι όλοι σ' αγαπούν. Ένα κοσμικό τραγούδι λέει: «Μη μου ζητάς να σ' αγαπώ. Η αγάπη δεν ζητιέται. Μέσα στα φύλλα της καρδιάς μονάχη της γεννιέται». Πάρ' το πνευματικά.

Εσύ σκόρπα φυσικά, από την καρδιά σου, την αγάπη του Χριστού.
Μερικοί μοναχοί, ιδίως γυναίκες, λένε:
- Μ' αγαπάς;
- Γιατί δεν μ' αγαπάς;

Πω πω! Πόσο μακριά είναι από την αγάπη του Χριστού! Φτώχεια, πνευματική φτώχεια. Μη σε νοιάζει αν σ' αγαπούν. Εσύ μόνο ξεχείλιζε από αγάπη Χριστού προς όλους. Και τότε μυστικά έρχεται μια μεταβολή, μια αλλαγή σ' όλο το σύνολο.
Αυτό που σου λέω είναι η καλύτερη ιεραποστολή. Εφάρμοσέ το και τηλεφώνησέ μου τα αποτελέσματα».

Γέροντος Προφυρίου Ιερομάχου

Our Daily Struggle to Salvation- Καθημερινό αγώνα για τη σωτηρία μας

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...