Tuesday, January 22, 2019

What is Necessary for Troubled Times.

These times are difficult and troubled. It seems like there is an over abundance of anger and disregard for the needs of others. Saint Paisios says this: 
“May God forgive me, but the world has become a huge mad house! No one thinks of the next life any more. All they want is more and more material goods. This is why they cannot find piece and run around constantly.”  (P 169 With Pain And Love for Contemporary Man, Saint Paisios)
Christ is the light of the world and it is His light that can bring peace through spiritual disciplines. Jesus said 
“I am the light of the world,” and “you are the light of the world.”
The way to peace is through a union with Christ so His light and divine love can live through each of us. Saint Porphyrios tells us the following:
“Out task is to attempt to find a way to enter into the light of Christ...The essence of the matter is for us to be with Christ; for our soul to wake up and love Christ and become holy.” (P 96 Wounded by Love)
This is not about theology or philosophy but practical aspects of spiritual life based on Scripture, and living what Christ has taught through an Orthodox way of life. The key is to purify our hearts by mastering our distracting thoughts in our minds. We must tame the passions that polite our hearts with angry thoughts. Christ and Church fathers and traditions of church show us the way.

The human mind is like a flickering candle in breeze. It is ever active and can easily lead us to sinful ways like anger and selfishness. Without the breeze of temptations, this flickering flame can be steadied. One of the important elements of the Orthodox way of life that can help us is  the Jesus Prayer practiced in the context of Church.

We can become like a bright light. Saint Porphyrios says,
This light is the uncreated light of Christ. If we acquire this light we will know the truth. And God is truth. God knows everything. For Him all things are known and luminous. The world is the work of God. God illuminates this world with His uncreated light. God is light because He knows Himself. We do not know ourselves, and that is why we are in darkness. When we allow the light to flood over us we have communion with God...When we are united with Him, Christ makes us luminous. He offers the ‘great light’ to each of us. If only we would receive it. (P 149 Wounded by Love)
To receive this light we must reach deep into the unconscious mind of our souls through worship prayer and fasting. Saint Porphyrios reminds us:
“No one can ascend to spirituality without exercising himself” (p 156 Wounded by Love)
The Jesus prayer of the heart is a prayer from the depths of the heart. With it comes grace, the Holy Spirit, to enlighten, to purify, and conquer our anxieties and fears. Divine forces are released. It demands a total faith, a surrender and dependence on the Lord.
“When I am repeating the prayer in my mind, sometimes my joy becomes more and more intense. And when my joy becomes ever stronger with the words “Lord Jesus Christ...”, I feel my mind leaping within me along with my heart and there I experience all this joy as I say the prayer.  (P 123 Wounded by Love)
Our current life is being distorted by cultural wars. Bad habits have been normalized and therefore we must reach deep to change or eradicate them. Suffering with anxieties and fear of our future we have to go deep inside just like the saints. Many spiritual men and women show us the way of deep prayer, one that reaches depths of our hearts, purifying so we can receive this divine light.

Jesus tells our prayers will be answered. As a foundation We need the faith of Abraham, Apostles, martyrs, and ascetics. With such faith and our own acetic efforts through deep prayer we not only release forces to heal ourselves but also those around us. We become a beacon of His light. You can become peaceful and a force for peace in the world.

Overcome judgement and anger we can receive love and compassion in the healing light of a Christ. Cultivate it with deep prayer based on Love of Christ and work helping others in a selfless manner. Approach everything with love. You will in this way escape destructive ways of thinking and instead of anxiety and anger you will find joy.

This is the best way to deal with our troubled times.