Friday, February 12, 2010

Nurturing the Seed of Grace

Grace that we receive from God needs to be nurtured.  Then it will grow illuminating the body and soul.  We receive it as a seed and then create the conditions for it to grow within us.  To do this the Church has provided us with many tools and exercises.

"Fasting, labor, vigils, solitude, leaving the world, guarding the senses, reading Scriptures and Holy Fathers, going to church, frequent Confession and Communion, vows and other acts of piety and virtue––all of this together, or singly in predominant aspects, can be found in almost every life of the Holy Fathers."
St. Theophan

These are all free acts that come from our consciousness.  Such actions need to repeated so the benefits can become permanent, a way of life.

"Whoever lives in a worldly way is servile to the customs and spirit of the world.  But whoever goes into this world fresh inevitably absorbs its spirit and soon becomes like everyone else, for these customs are the elements that foster in us the spirit of sin, passions, and theism; for the customs themselves are nothing other than passionate issuances."
St. Theophan

For this reason we have exercises for the mind, the will and the heart.

"Holy asceticism together with it s great faith in a burst of love for God, brings man to true joy.  He is happy to live, for his heart flutters, glorifying his God of benefactions.  He is also happy to die, for he thus goes close to God again, ad will continue there his doxology."
Elder Paisios (Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit, p135)

Ref:  Path to Salvation, pp 239-242

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