Below is my first new post in almost a year. I suspended blogging, now I am resuming. I hope you will enjoy it and will return frequently. PLEASE PRAY for me and my family. Thank you.
This blog will be written in Papyrus true font. This will be done to improve the esthetics. I you don’t have this font, please download and install the font so that you can appreciate the site. I wish you all a Blessed Thanksgiving! Dn. G.
What do you do when you lose faith? How do we move from that abstract question to the reality of life? Frankly, I don’t have all the answers. Sometimes I am full of questions, many of which don’t have easy solutions. There is a distance between God and us that at times seems to grow even further. Yet, we are assured God is always available, awaiting us. It would seem, we’re the ones who move away from God. For me this is very problematic. When life deals you difficulties; whether illness, the death of a loved one or as in my case unemployment your faith is tested and you don’t know why. The Church tells us we should trust in God and surrender to His will. For me this is very hard. Trust is one thing, but knowing His will for your life is sometimes very confusing. We are told not to fear, this is extremely hard to do when your life seems to be in such turmoil and you make choices that appear to be the correct ones only to turn out poorly. How do we know God’s will for our life? There are so many examples of faith in the scriptures, but how do we get from doubt to certainty. One of my problems is that I can relate to the theoretical, I can quote chapter and verse and I usually know the right things to say. But, the application to life, is a struggle. Like most of us, I want to have faith and to be confident in that faith. Why to we question our own heart and create such a turmoil in our spirit? Seeking God is our natural state, yet we make it so hard. I try to find answers for these questions in Scriptures or in the Lives of the Saints. As I mull over these thoughts, I am sure that I am not the only person to have asked these questions. As I have tried to search out a path, I have found that the Church talks of two types of faith. The first is based on knowledge, understanding and leads to quiet and complete trust in God. This level of faith is the higher faith for which we all yearn. Perhaps, the first step of faith is realising that we all question. I believe that prayer is a powerful weapon, so I ask for your prayers. I will pray that God strengthens our faith and gives us insight and understanding which leads to an unshakeable faith.
Lord Jesus Christ Son of God Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
Last week, I wrote about children and the Church. We often hear children are the Church of tomorrow. What dribble. Children and the youth are the Church today; but they are not alone. We all assemble as the Church. I have a problem that many of you who know me can confirm, I tend to approach faith intellectually. I read, study and search out answers. The photo that I use today illustrates that which I envy, YiaYia’s simple faith.
We read in the Gospels, Our Lord says many times: “your faith has made you well.” (Mark 10, 52.) What is faith? In the 11th chapter of his Letter to the Hebrews, St. Paul has a beautiful chapter on faith. Parts of the chapter are read as Epistle readings on the Sunday of the Holy Fathers (the Sunday before The Nativity of Christ in the Flesh – Christmas) and on the Sunday of Orthodoxy (the first Sunday of Great Lent). But, I believe one of the most touching thoughts is captured in the very first sentence of the chapter:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence
of things not seen. (Hebrews 11, 1)
One of the strengths of the Church is that each of us learn from the other. Last week, I said we are all responsible for teaching children. The beauty is that we can learn from everyone in the Church. If we stop and try to quietly follow the examples of faith around us; it will help our own spiritual growth. Бабушка can teach all of us. Grandma’s faith is born from years of prayer. Sittie’s trust in God gives us all an example, which will guide us. Last Saturday, we celebrated the Dormition of the Theotokos, the Panagia is the model of the Church; remember her words: “Behold I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be according to your word.” ( Luke, 1, 38) Trust in God, by putting things in His hands. YiaYia has learned her simple faith; and she shows us this in her unbounded love. As we approach faith, we must learn both from YiaYia and from our children. They share a simple trust in God. Yiayia’s trust is born from prayer, and a child’s trust is born from innocence. They are two examples from different ages, but are they really that dissimilar? Putting faith in God give both, YiaYia and a child, a serene confidence and a peaceful reliance on His Love. Knowing that God loves us no matter who we are should allow us to put our hearts at ease. We have children, YiaYia and what is more important the example of the Most Holy Theotokos to guide us. Let us declare, as did the father of the epileptic boy: “I believe; help my disbelief!” (Mark 9, 24).
Greetings in the Lord !
I wish to thank my readers in the Orthodox Lands of Russia and all Orthodox Slavic Countries. You are appreciated, loved and I continue to pray for you. I read all your comments, but I must depend on a translating software by Apple to translate them. Regrettably, I do not speak Russian. All comments are screened. I approve those which can be translated. I will spam all improper or lewd comments, but will try my best to translate, read and approve all of them; even the critical ones. I will answer all questions that are proper.
May God strengthen Orthodoxy and your faith journey. Thank you for visiting my site. вы и Бог благословляет!