> Spiritual Life
There are 30 questions in this category.
Could Your Grace please teach me how to have a strong relationship with our Lord?
Every time I return from a convention I have this passion to be close to God but at the end it always disappears in the midst of worries about college vanity and salf. I'm hoping you can give me a few suggestions on how to get started and how to maintain life in the spirit.
For the past couple of weeks, I have become more distant from God and I have grown quite frustrated with my spiritual state. I am a servant, but lately I have been serving with less zeal, and I even desire to stop serving. When I take Communion, instead of feeling spiritual, I end up feeling lost and confused. I am lost and unable to find my way. I am depressed out of my mind and cannot find meaning in my life anymore. I feel that my trying to be spiritual is making me more depressed because it seems that when I live my life away from God, my life is better. I am stuck right in the middle of living an evil life and a spiritual life. The evil life is involved with hanging out with the wrong crowd, having girlfriends, going to parties, and controlling myself as little as possible.
From the time we were leaving our trip until now I've been really annoyed with my father of confession. The slightest things get to me and it's causing me to be an offense to others. I got a bit angry with stuff he said, but I talked to him on the plane ride home and then on the bus ride home. I hated how the trip ended and how Abouna and Tasoni were acting. Perhaps I was highly irritable since our trip was coming to an end, but many of the other youth felt the same way as well. The thing that bothered me is that our disconnect from other churches seems to be growing wider and wider. It scares me when I see the youth gathered around Abouna on the edge of their seats listening to all the "wrong" things other churches around us are doing. This sight was so common on our trip. Often times I would remove myself from the table so I don't lose my peace, but upon returning to my room, several of the girls would rant to me because they were so offended by what they heard. I actually went and told Abouna that he had offended some people by what he had said. He told me that he's been holding this stuff in for so long and this isn't even the half of it. It's his job to protect us from this stuff, and it's important for us to know that this stuff is happening. I don't doubt what he says, but as some of the girls put it, "this isn't stuff he should be telling his congregation". I don't know if I'm more concerned about the girls questioning the validity of what he was saying or if I should be more concerned about the guys who clutch on to his every word and follow blindly. I feel like we've become our own cult. I'm judging him :( I'm holding a lot back, but somehow I've allowed myself to become an offense to people around me. I was picking up one of the new out of town university students for vespers on Saturday night. On our way home she was asking me some questions about our church. We got onto the topic of how we do things a little differently here. I mentioned to her that when the H1N1 scare was going around, Abouna decided it would be safest to dip the Body in the Blood when giving communion on order to avoid the germs spreading from the spoon (now we do it because it saves Abouna time - he has to give communion sitting down because he's so exhausted and can barely stand by communion time). I was so not happy when Abouna decided this and I still miss the old way, and I told her that. Anyways, the girl got so angry. I feel terrible for being an offense to her. And the worst thing is I have probably become an offense to her roommates who have come from the same church as her. I'm so annoyed by everything that happened. I dip into these phases every now and then and it's a huge struggle for me. This is my most hated struggle ever... I have such a deep love and respect for Abouna, so it kills me when I ‘turn against him'. He has bent over backwards for me and he's gone above and beyond his duties as a priest. He's one of the most important people in my life... so why am I struggling so much with this?
How can I be with God and in the world? I feel it is easy for me to find God in quite time alone, but not in sitting with people and talking (unless it is spiritual talk with spiritual people).
How can I come closer to God? I try to read the Holy Bible, but I just read the words and not understand what I am reading. I guess a lot is on my mind and I am not focusing. I take too much on my plate, and therefore, my mind is always thinking. I know that is no excuse, but I need some guidance. It just seems as though I get really close to the church, then I go to the opposite extreme. I think that it’s the devil fighting me every time. I feel like I'm swinging like a pendulum. Please help! Also, it’s disturbing that the Muslim community purchased land a mile away from our purposed church site five years after we purchased ours and they are currently praying in their facility.
How can I see more of our Lord Jesus Christ in me than me in me?
I am 15 years old and I need your guidance. I started smoking. I stopped praying. I curse often. I do so much stuff that I never ever thought that I would do. I wish to go back to God like I was before. I want to stop all these sins and resume my former spiritual life.
I am not getting any kind of personal relationship with my father of confession because he is just not a personal person. I don't have a real dad. The only Father I have is God, but sometimes I feel that I'm distant from Him. There are a number of issues that disturb me. To name a few, I get really anxious about death and eternity. I have separation anxiety; my mother who is an awesome mother, is the one person I can say I talk to a whole lot about things. Could you please help me in any way?
I am so far from God that I don't know if I die today where I would go. I want to be baptized, but I need to change, and I don't know, nor do I hear God's voice directing me any more. Will you please pray for me, and tell me what I should do.
I am suffering from spiritual sluggishness. I do not feel like attending meetings nor listening to spiritual talks. I'm a servant. However, I am beginning to dislike serving, its responsibility and the fact that I should take it seriously. As a result this reflects in my Sunday School lessons. What should I do? Also, I feel sometimes that Christianity is so complex by what I hear in sermons and read in books. But I'm thinking it may just be because I lack the virtue of simplicity.
I do not feel the Holy Spirit working in my life. What type of signs should I look for to know that the Holy Spirit is alive in me; and how do I nurture this work?
I have a problem balancing my life between school, family, and worship. While I want to grow spiritually, I discover I am sinning. I also have homework and study to worry about. What can I do?
I have an inner struggle between good and evil inside myself. I want to be good, I hold myself to certain standards. However, I don't do the good that I want, but the bad that I don't want. What does Your Grace think?
I have mixed emotions within me. I am torn between the desire to learn more about God, His Holy word, the Orthodox church teachings, and my studies. I guess I am confused about what I should do. Can you please clear this up for me?
I have some spiritual concerns regarding my two children who have recently moved away from home to attend college. One is a hard worker and very responsible; and one is very active in school extracurricular activities. Both are extremely active within their respective college settings.
I sense that Church is not one of their priorities in their new independent college life. I am very concerned (actually worried) that the problem could be much bigger than this.
What is the best way to approach our children; knowing that talking with them about this subject has become very sensitive. All I am doing right now is praying.
I need specific advice please. I’m afraid that for the past few months my spiritual life has been absolutely horrible, I’ve stopped praying, and all sorts of bad things have caught up with me. I have made a firm decision to return to being very serious and I don't plan on ever leaving Christ’s hand. I’ve made an appointment with Abouna so I can confess next week, but until then, I need practical advice on how to restart my life in Christ. There is a mistake I made for which I need advice. I got into a relationship, and it wasn't serious. I didn't even touch the girl, besides shaking her hand. I realized it was a huge mistake, because I don't see myself getting married, but rather devoting my life to Christ. I still chose to go on with the mistake, and I broke everything off with her. The problem is that I was able to let go easily because of my plan for life in the monastery. On the other hand, I think she is hurt and I regret making that mistake. I’m praying that God removes the memory of me from her mind.
I think our priest has a strange approach in his ministry. This belief sets in my heart a lack of desire to go to church. What should I do?
I used to love reading the Bible, and spiritual books, and listening to the Praises. But lately it hasn't been like this at all. It has become so hard to pray, I feel like God doesn't hear me. So I have this emptiness inside me. I have become more distracted with earthly things and pursuits. I also have a lot of bad thoughts, thoughts of pride and judgmental thoughts I want to have peace and simplicity and to feel love for God againAnd also, I have become such a burden to myself, and one time I heard someone say a problem can be your cross. But can my own self be a cross to me?
I've started a new job which can be really time-consuming. I am doing my best to stick with my spiritual canon of bible reading, agpeya, and spiritual books. However, one thing I find lacking is good deeds. I have a strong desire to serve others, but I am lost as to how and when and where be the opportunities. I have been speaking with some people about setting up a free medical clinic as one idea. But on a daily basis, where do I look to help others? I feel like I waste my time when I am with friends, simply laughing and joking with no purpose behind our gatherings. Also, I feel like a spiritual friend is really helpful in growing in the spiritual life. I often felt that by speaking with the brothers and monks in the monastery when I would visit. But, I have not had the same opportunities here. Do you think a spiritual friend is beneficial or rather a hindrance to the spiritual life?
John of Kronstadt says, "When God is present in all of man's thoughts, in all of his desires, and in all of his intentions, through his words and through his acts, the kingdom of God has come upon him. Then man sees God everywhere in his holy thought, in his holy action, in the holy matter." How can I go from feeling that way...God is always in my thoughts...to this sinful creature I am now? I don't understand why it is always a rollercoaster...I just want to stabilize, but not down low. I want to be back where I was.
Lately I have been feeling that God is far from me. And it's a strange feeling, because I haven't felt it so strongly before. I feel He's so far. I know Him, but in the sense of knowing about somebody, not in a real sense. Why do I feel so far? And is this something I should be discussing with my father of confession?
My life has been entering a downward spiral for the past 2 years or so. I have drifted from God and the church. I no longer dress as a deacon or care to learn hymns, I have very little desire to read the Holy Bible (maybe just the daily readings), and I am very easily angered or filled with jealousy. My service in the church has become a routine, which I often neglect and is not even fruitful. I have lost all inner peace and spirituality. I recognize what is happening, but have not really done anything about it. I want to rekindle the spiritual fire I once had inside of me but I don't know what to do to start it or to maintain it.
St. Diadochos of Photiki said, "All men are made in God's image; but to be in His likeness is granted only to those who through great love have brought their own freedom into subjection to God. For only when we do not belong to ourselves do we become like Him who through love has reconciled us to Himself. No one achieves this unless he persuades his soul not to be distracted by the false glitter of this life."
What does he mean by "distracted"?
The Holy Bible says that the Kingdom is taken by violence. When am I going to love to go to church and to be eager to pray? I ask God to enable me to love doing these things, but even that, I push myself into doing. Also, should I be praying in the Divine Liturgy along with Abouna or my own prayers?
We have a problem with our oldest kids (12 and 9). They resent being obliged to go to church every Sunday (now that we have a Coptic church closer to us than before having been relocated). They have started to drift apart from God: they hate Sunday school, no longer pray at home, don't want to talk about God and say they are fed up with all this. I am very concerned about their souls. Of course they respect us and will obey us if we oblige them to go every Sunday. But what will become of them when they are adults? I am afraid they will reject God, since to them it meant only boredom and obligation. Could you please tell me what we should do? Thank you for your advice.
We often ask our children to obey us, and when they do not, we get upset and want to punish them. However, we treat God the same way. How could I be at all times sensitive to God's Voice, ignoring my own will and desire and that of others too no matter how strong the inside or outside call is and abide only in o His will. This is really a big problem and sin in my life. I wish that I could overcome this weakness in my way of life.
What causes us to stumble? What makes us yield so easily to all kinds of temptations in spite of our knowledge of what is right and wrong?
What is the meaning of verse, "
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul
?" (Mark 8:36)
Why do things sometimes seem clear and the faith very strong, and then the next day that clear vision of God is not there. Is it because I did something that upset the Holy Spirit? Is it a test? Can we always have this clear vision of God inside us or is it just a visitation of Grace?
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