Monday, November 29, 2010

Are The Rules of a Good LIfe Outwardly Imposed?

Saint Theophan raises this questions when he writes, "I think many people do not live as they should, because they think that rules about the worthwhile life are outwardly imposed, and, not springing from man's very nature."

The answer is that the relationship of the soul and the body is out of balance. The problem develops when the physical, carnal and sensual life of the body becomes our main focus.  We tend to seek the gratification only of our physical needs forgetting our spiritual needs.  We mix the basic needs we have for survival for the needs we have to reach for our spiritual needs - our salvation or union with God.  We try to fulfill our spiritual needs mistakenly by over gratification of physical demands. We are overtaken, as Saint Theophan explains, "by a one-sided relationship, which comes from a certain inner compulsion, which is found in it as a sort of instinct, creature-love, love for the body, the desire to maintain the comfort of the body and obtain all that is needed for it."

We find we are not free because we are always chasing after physical needs to satisfy those which are not physical; at the same time those around us are doing exactly the same thing.  The minds and spirits of these people are inevitably famished, if not completely deadened, stopped up, and immersed in sensuality.

Source: The Spiritual Life, p 45-48


  1. Fr Dn Charles Joiner-

    It's been awhile since I commented on your blog but since then I have come to desire to become Orthodox after having turned away from the Catholic Church. I just have a few question for you, one regards converting and what I must go through and the second regards Confession.

    First off, I have contacted a priest around here, have been attending the Divine Liturgy when I can and have been researching and reading abou Orthodoxxy as well as started following a basic prayer rule here at home. Will I have to be rebaptized or simply Chrismated? Will I have to formerly renounce the filioque, papal primacy and the other Catholic teachings no compatible with Orthodoxy before entering the Church? How long does it usually take for someone who has already been baptized who is studying the Orthodox faith at home to become a member of the Church?

    Second, what to do about Confession now that I can't confess in good conscience to a Catholic priest but am not yet Orthodox? I regularly used to go to confession as a Catholic but since attending a Divine liturgy, not believing in the filioque and not believing in Papal Infallibility are all considered heretical, schismatic and thus mortally sinful in the Catholic Church I cannot in good conscience confess there anymore and yet I feel I have sin that needs to be confessed. Please, if you have the time, help me address this.

    In Christ,


  2. Some answers:
    First, it is important to follow the advice of the local priest. Tell him of your desire and ask what you must do to join the congregation. He will guide you and give you any needed instruction.
    For most Greek Orthodox Churches here in the US it is not necessary to be rebatized if you were baptized as a Roman Catholic. Some priests may require it. You cannot participate in any of the sacraments of the Church until you have been Chrismated. You will be asked to make a full confession at this time. In the meantime offer your supplication to God with a contrite heart seek forgiveness and help in your daily life to carry out His will. He will guide you.

  3. I will take that advice. Thank you.


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