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Spiritual Counsels from the Saints

Spiritual Counsels from the Saints

Spiritual-Counsels-from-the-Saint-final

“As a Priest, many times I have conducted services where only a handful of people would attend. Often a few people in a large Church building can be disconcerting to some. When prompted, I remind the people that it is not only they who are present at the service, but all the saints and angels of heaven are with them worshipping the one true God as one Church – in heaven and on earth. The Church is not just a gathering of people for worship; it is a mystical reality that is not limited by space and time. The Holy Church of God is a gathering of those who are living in the Lord and those who have ‘fallen asleep’ in Him. All the members of the Church pray for each other and all are ‘alive’ in Christ Jesus.

It is sad to see many Christian people, and even sadder to see some Orthodox Christians looking elsewhere for spiritual comfort and knowledge. The Christian faith is a unique journey for those who take the time and effort to walk it. The journey is not one walked alone; the Christian is part of something that is much larger, much deeper, and much more complex than just his or her individual stance before God. This journey is one that, hopefully, leads to perfection. We seek to allow God to transform us, more and more into ‘Christ likeness’. God has shown us this walk; he has indicated for us how we should live. Such truth is found in his Church, in its Holy Tradition, in its scriptures, in its teachings and in the lives of its saints.

The Christian faith has many examples of ‘saintliness’; its hymns, its Icons and its writings are filled with stories of those who have gone before us. Some suffered torture and even death for the sake of the Gospel; some lived lives of deprivation and suffering because they believed in the truth of what God has revealed. All these holy men and women are our examples to follow; we mould our lives on their stories, on their faith; we seek to be like them and to place our feet in their footprints. They are more than just ‘memories’ in the Church, they are real and living people in the same Church in which we are, and they pray for us as we struggle in our imitation of their ‘holiness’.

People seek for truth and for a way of life that ‘speaks to them’. Yet, sadly, in their search they pass over the greatest treasure of all – ORTHODOXY. This is so reminiscent of the story from the Gospels of the man who was digging in a field and he came upon a treasure grater than he could ever imagine. The Gospel story tells us that this man sold all he had so that he could buy that field, so that he could truly ‘possess’ that treasure. For many in our modern and, so-called, enlightened age, instead of buying that field, they do not even recognise the value of what they have found. They leave the field behind them and continue looking somewhere else for something that might just give them fulfilment.

When people are isolated and alone; when they face danger and despair and think they are struggling on their own, it is knowing they are part of the mystical reality that is the Church that gives comfort, surety and purpose to their lives. Our Orthodox Christian faith has the answers; it has everything that we need to find our place in this world and to find God who loves us.

Rev. Timothy Evangelinidis
Parish Priest of Holy Trinity Hobart - (TAS)

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