Friday, May 14, 2010

Working in Community Develops our Soul

In our quest for union with God we cannot limit ourselves to the development of all the possibilities inherent in the physical world. We must also reach out and develop that which is spiritual in each of us. It is through our cooperation with others in community activities that we learn how to help others as well as ourselves develop our spiritual potential. As we work on our own ability, through discipline of our actions and by increasing attention to we give to all activity, we  become more capable of doing good to others. We learn to be good neighbors. We learn to love and be loved. We find the way to live the life prescribed and lived by Christ Himself. We come closer to God in the process.

We are currently getting ready for our annual Greek festival. This is a very large event. There are some who say this activity is all about making money for the parish. But there are others who say it's about developing our souls. As we work together with a common purpose we learn to set aside our differences, we take actions to help each other, we put into practice to the best of our ability the virtues we have gained. As we fail and fall into conflict during this activity we can see immediately our weaknesses and where we need to grow. When we hold a spiritual aim for this kind of activity it becomes a process of spiritual growth for all of us. Our difficulties become opportunities for the expression of love and spiritual growth.

Fr. Dimitru comments,
The road to Christian perfection doesn't exclude work, but it does require that it contribute to the winning of the virtues.  No one should imagine that the work he does is an end in itself; it has the role of beautifying his nature, with the virtues of patience, self-control, of love for his neighbor, of faith in God, and in turn of opening his eyes to the wise principles placed by God in all things.... 
The ultimate purpose of work and the taking part in life of this world isn't so much the development of nature as it is the normal development of the dormant possibilities in man and in his neighbors.

Reference: Orthodox Spirituality pp 40 - 45. 

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