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Archive for July, 2008

After a long search, I’ve recently begun meeting with a Spiritual Director. He is an Orthodox Priest who lives and serves in our area. This past week we met for the second time. I went in with a particularly heavy heart around some familiar issues and burdens.

My time with Fr. E was profoundly helpful. He quietly listened to me describe my situation. He asked thoughtful questions. Finally, I stopped talking and he began to speak of deep things in the soul of men.

He helped me to see that many times when you’re anticipating an issue or a conflict, it actually greases the wheels for it to happen. This anticipatory anxiety comes from wounding and to move away from it requires healing. He also noted that when we are wounded – particularly when our pride is wounded – it can color all of our interactions and the way we view the world.

Repentance and forgiveness are the way forward. He recommended the book Turning the Heart to God by St. Theophan – a Russian monk. Fr. E thought I would find this a helpful read.

There is much more to say. But there is more to pray and think about.

Glory to God!

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On Priesthood

We are not merely teachers of truths, who perform our office chiefly by preaching. We are not like men of other professions, whose success may not be affected by their lives. Our success in delivering men from sin and making them holy, depends on the extent of our own self-victory and our own increasing sanctification. Natural abilities, learning, powers of speech or administration, make men popular. They help men to get on. They bring the reward that will perish. But they are not the sources of the Priest’s real strength. To draw others to Christ, the Priest must be a spiritual magnet filled with divine energy. To deliver others, he must have fought a terrible fight with the world, the flesh, and the devil in himself. To win others to a real self-surrender, to a life separated from the world, he must himself be separated in life, aims, and conduct from it. To make men willing to submit to the mortification of true penitence, the Priest must preach the Cross from the Cross. His whole life must be united to Christ, not only as the Priest and advocate, but to Him as the Victim and the Lamb slain. He must become a Man of God and bear in every part of his life the brand of the Cross, if he is to compel others by the spiritual power in him, to be separated from the world and bear the Cross. You must put, my sons, nothing less than this before you, if you want the “well-done” at last and the eternal reward.

There are a number of clergy in our day, who do not put this high standard before them or seek to conform their lives to the life of Christ crucified. There are those who go in, as they say, for what they can get, whose lives are governed by secondary motives, who are popular, successful, and will probably be well spoken of when they die, but who will wake up to find the Master saying, “You lived for yourself, not for me, and you have had your reward.” They will say, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy Name, and in Thy Name done many wondrous works; built churches, presented large classes for confirmation, aided many charitable enterprises, preached the Gospel?”

He will say, “I know you not,” for it is true now, as it was in the days of St. Chrysostom and other fathers who declared that a large number of the clergy would certainly be lost, a larger proportion probably than of any other profession.

– From The Works of the Rt. Rev. Charles C. Grafton (Volume 7), edited by B. Talbot Rogers, New York: Longmans, Green, 1914, pp. 123-131

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