Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Saint Theophan defines what it Means to be Diligent

Seeking to live the life according to God's will is what we are called to do.  This Saint Theophan calls being diligent.

Here is how he puts it.
 Our entire lives, in all their parts and  details, must be devoted to God. The general rule is that everything you do should be done according to the Divine will and for the sake of pleasing God, in praise of His Most Holy Name. Thus, we should examine each act which occurs to see if it is in compliance with the Divine will and then perform it with the conviction that is totally in compliance with it and is pleasing to God. A person who always asks with such discretion and in the clear consciousness of pleasing God with his actions cannot fail at the same time to acknowledge that his life is proceeding truthfully.
This is a life, that is lived with a full knowledge and consciousness of the teachings that are found in the Gospels. It is a life that is lived with a continuous knowledge and relationship with the Holy Spirit. It is a demanding way of life. It is one that requires attention to every detail, every dimension, all aspects, of each action that we take. When we have this diligence, God is always foremost in our awareness.

Saint Theophan continues to also point out that this is not necessarily a life that is seen as exceptional by societal standards, nor is it necessarily a life of perfection.  It is a life dedicated to God.
Although his acts are not brilliant or perfect, he permits nothing consciously in them that would offend God or would not be pleasing to Him. This consciousness fills his heart with peaceful quiet from the tranquility of the conscience, and with that spiritual joy which is born of the feeling that he is not alien to God. For although he is not great, or distinguished, or famous, he is still His servant who tries in every way possible to please Him, directs all his efforts towards this, and believes that God himself sees him as such.

To live diligently we must consciously choose such a life. Saint Theophan calls this a "God-pleasing life" as compared to a "Man-pleasing life." This is the nature of the Orthodox way of life.

Ten Points of the Orthodox Way of Life

Reference: The Spiritual Life, pp 169-172

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