For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. –Galatians 5:1
I know it has been awhile since I have blogged. Honestly, I’ve been exhaling. More than I thought I would. I have been so worked up for the last few years over the tension in the church we have left and the tension of desiring to become Orthodox that I hadn’t realized just how bound up inside all of that had become. I’m sleeping better. I’m not clinching my teeth half of the time. I’m actually looking forward to what our Bishop (Metropolitan Isaias) has to say.
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. . . now, I am looking forward to having a church I can obey (or trust enough to try to obey despite my sinfulness) and to which I can submit myself. I want to immerse myself and bathe in the teachings, to work out my salvation with fear and trembling. And I need the Church to show me the way. I can’t do it by myself.
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My Nativity reading has been The Ladder of Divine Ascent by Saint John Climacus, and it has been offering insight into what sort of person should be our spiritual father. I pray I may find one who conforms to Saint John’s suggestions, among them:
Let us judge the nature of our passions and of our obedience and let us choose our spiritual father accordingly. If you are prone to lust, do not select as your trainer a wonderworker who is ready for everyone with a welcome meal, but rather an ascetic who will hear of no consolation with food. If you are haughty, then let him be stern and unyielding, and not meek and kindly. Let us not seek those who have the gift of foreknowledge and foresight, but rather those who are unquestionably humble and whose character and place of residence correspond to our maladies…
It is nice to feel so peaceful . . . Saint John has more to say on freedom from anger:
The beginning of freedom from anger is silence of the lips when the heart is agitated; the middle is silence of the thoughts when there is a mere disturbance of the soul; and the end is an imperturbable calm under the breath of unclean winds.
Now, I don’t think I’m at that imperturbable calm — I think it will take a long time, as other things do come up now and again to flare up my temper. And I’m not sure I’m fully free from my anger at the old church — but, I do feel so much better. Please don’t think the leaving had anything to do with how I wanted to feel. It had most everything to do with the discovery of the truths of Orthodoxy, and despite the great peace, it is still strange and a little difficult to adjust to, but I don’t think it will remain so for long. Last week at liturgy I just couldn’t believe how cool it was, although I so long to know more about how it is put together and how it works.
There is time. καιρός time.