Saturday, June 20, 2009

Being Attentive

".....Whether you are in church, or in your house, or in the country; whether you are guarding sheep, or constructing buildings, or present at drinking parties, do not stop praying... " Father Ephraim of Syria

In our daily life there is no other way to be a Christian than to be always attentive, to act out of a quiet mind, and to practice the virtues. To do otherwise is to ignore the will of God.

Therefore be attentive to yourself, neither remaining in mortal things as if they were eternal, nor despising eternal things as if they were passing. Look down on the flesh, for it is passing away; take care of the soul, for it is something immortal… says Saint Basil

During Lent we use the following powerful prayer from Saint Ephraim in our services.

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust for power and idle talk.

But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity/integrity, humility, patience and love.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brothers and sisters. For blessed art Thou unto the ages. Amen.

"Grant me to see my own faults" this is the task of attentiveness. The Church Fathers tell us over and over to seek inwardly. Seek to quiet your mind and you will become capable of seeing your faults clearly and objectively as well as develop means to deal with them and to change the way you react to different situations/ This is a constant message they give us.

So How does one silence the mind?

There is no simple answer and the path is unique for each person. You can find your path by putting the ten points of an Orthodox Way of Life into practice.

1. Prayer
Have a regular prayer rule that includes morning and evening prayer.

2. Worshiping and Participating in Sacraments
Attend and participate in the Divine Liturgy receiving Holy Communion regularly as well as regular participation in Confession.

3. Honoring the Liturgical Cycle of the Church
Follow the seasons of the church and participate in the fasts and feasts of the Church.

4. Using the Jesus Prayer
Repeat the Holy name whenever possible throughout the day or night.

5. Slowing Down and Ordering Your Life
Set priorities and reduce the stress and friction caused by a hurried life.

6. Watchfulness
Give full attention to what you are doing at the moment.

7. Taming the Passions
Overcome your habits, attachment to your likes and dislikes, and learn to practice the virtues.

8. Putting Others First
Free yourself from your selfishness and find joy in helping others.

9. Spiritual Fellowship
Spend time regularly with other Orthodox Christians for support and inspiration.

10. Reading the Scriptures and Holy Fathers
Be inspired by the lessons of the Holy Scriptures, the wisdom of the Holy Fathers and the lives of the Saints of the Church.

Discuss this with your spiritual father.


  1. I would like to enter the Orthodox Faith. Please respond back or pray for me.

  2. Seek out an Orthodx priest near you. He would welcome your call and visit.


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