Thursday, February 11, 2010

Spiritual Feelings that Nurture Zeal

To maintain zeal it is helpful to have a spiritual feeling in your heart.  

"Anyone who wants to remain with mental gathering alone labors in vain... scholars with all their education, dream incessantly.  This is because they work only with their heads." Saint Theophan

When we were first awakened to come to Jesus Christ and join with Him in His Church we had feelings that our soul was in danger.  It is important to renew this feeling and never allow yourself to think that just because you are now in His Church that this danger has been averted.  St. Theophan says, "Renounce now what you renounced before, tear yourself away from it and incline towards the invisible, the spiritual,. Gaze upon it [the spiritual] and force yourself to love it."

You should have the following feeling,
I am worthy of every judgment and torment, but for the sake of God's boundless desire for our salvation, our of which His Only-begotten Son was not spared, I will not despair of my salvation.  I do not know when and how, but I believe that I will be saved.  only Lord, let, me struggle throughout my life, seeking salvation and Thee, in the hope that Thou wilt not neglect to help me, for the sake of Thy mercy and the intercessions of the God-pleasers.  O thou who knowest the hearts, save me! Saint Theophan

A common complaint is that of having a hard heart.  Once you live with a spiritual vision you cannot avoid having the feeling of fear for the fate our your soul.  Once you have this feeling your heart will be opened.

Saint Theophan says,
The primary feeling should always be fear of God, and the conclusive one should be self-abnegating dedication of yourself to God's will, which is good and saves us.  This primary feeling is born out of the vision of the spiritual world, while the conclusive one comes from all of the others following according to faith.... The aggregate of them all is this––with pain and fear of god, fall down before God with the words: "Lord, Who knowest all things, save me, and I will labor according to my strength."  This is everything.

Once way to awaken this spiritual feeling is by some word from Scripture or the Church Fathers.   Theophan advises: "Learn the remembrance of God, remembrance of death, remembrance of sins, self-reporach––that is, be aware of these things and talk about them ceaselessly within."

Ref: Path to salvation, pp 232-238

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