Friday, November 26, 2010

The Laws that Falsely Bind Us

Do you feel that you are bound up by social norms? Do you find you schedule controlled by others?  Are you driven by some external force to unending busyness?  Do feel you have to dress in a certain way and adhere to certain social norms in your group?  Is there a part of you that feels like you can't act the way you really want too?  Do your Orthodox values and way of life seem to conflict with these other forces?

Marcarius the Great says,
The children of this age have become like wheat poured into the sieve of this earth, and then scattered among the inconstant dreams of this world, in the presence of the unending turmoil of earthly cares, desires and maze of material concepts. Satan shakes the souls, and with the sieve, that is, the earthly cares, scatters the entire sinful human race. ...The more the wheat in the sieve is shaken about, turned over and cast up, the more the prince of darkness takes over all people with their earthly cares: he shakes them, agitates them and alarms them, forcing them to flee to vain thoughts, unclean desires, earthly and worldly bonds.... The prince of this world disturbs every soul which is not born from God, and he disturbs human ideas, which are like what constantly being shaken in the sieve leading everyone into uncertainty, and ensnaring them with worldly seductions, pleasures of the flesh, terrors and confusions." (Homily 5:1,2)
Shaken in the Sieve of earthly cares, we must realize that the chains that seem to bind us are the very forces that are trying to keep you from a God pleasing life. Most of us  find ourselves caught up in a  life which is lived to satisfy the needs of a godless society that promotes a life based on pride and egoism.  We want to be accepted according to others norms and values.  The goals of others are impeding on our desire to live a life according to the Will of God.  Even the so called good deeds are no more than acts done to satisfy social norms and our own egos. 

Here is some advice from Saint Theophan the Recluse:
For you to shun everyone is, of course impossible; but refuse as much as possible to enter into this circle of worldly life.  When it does pull you against your will, act as if you were not there; look, but do not see; listen but do not hear.  Let what you see pass by your eyes, and what you hear pass by your ears.  Outwardly behave like everyone else, be straightforward and sincere; but guard your heart from sympathies and attractions.  The main thing is to guard your heart.
This is our challenge: to live a live according to Orthodox values while acting in a world which is not based on these values. This requires a strong faith nourished by the Orthodox way of Life

Source: The Spiritual Life p.39 - 44


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