Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Examining Our Use of Free Will

God's greatest gift was free will.  Because of this we can offer love to God and our neighbors.  But this is not how we always use it.  I find myself like Paul, wanting to use it with love only to find myself doing something else.  Like him, I feel at times like I am at war with myself.  It's like I am under the control of some other influence and not able to freely choose that which I desire.

Archimandrite Seraphim Alexsiev wrote the following in his book The Meaning of Suffering and Strife and Reconciliation:
Today we, like Adam, constantly misuse our free will ... This is where all our troubles come from, as well as our inability to be consoled in them.
...God has given us health so that we can serve Him and our neighbors with it, but we abuse this precious gift ... God has given us riches so that we will be useful to the least of His brothers, but we misuse our riches as well.  God has given us abilities in order to praise Him, yet we often bring dishonor to God's holy Name with our abilities; it is sufficient to think of those writers who use their gift to slander God and the saints.  Do not the astounding contemporary achievements of technology represent the same kind of abuse of God's gifts by using them to destroy from the air entire cities and to kill peaceful citizens by the hundreds and thousands, instead of implying these achievements for increasing the well-being of mankind?  We often put in service to satan all the blessings and abilities which we have received from God.  Through them we seek glory and pleasures for ourselves, become proud, and harm our neighbors.
What he says rings true for me.
One of the purposes of Lent is to help us reflect on our own struggle.  Through fasting we can see our difficulty with self-discipline.  Through our participation in more prayer and worship services we test our dedication to God.  Thorough our reading of the gospel and the Holy Fathers we examine and enhance our understanding of His commandments.

Reflect on our collective condition.  Examine your own conscience.  Map out a plan to commit to change.

Pray, Fast, Worship, Read, Simplify, Watch, Put Others First.

Ref; The Meaning of Suffering and Strife and Reconciliation, pgs 31-32

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