I was just wondering, doesn't the faith element of Christianity thrive and blossom when it faces hostility and persecution. And at an individual level, doesn't our prayer life improve during family crisis, exams, unemployment.
When a hostile threat (such as atheistic or non-Christian fundamentalism) appears, hitherto separate communities sink their differences and often work together. Take for instance, some countries of the Middle East where public Christian worship in severely restricted or even banned. Here, we find people forming prayer groups and meeting privately at a member's residence. Even in more liberal places here where public worship is allowed, groups and denominations often share worship facilities or conduct joint services. In the past, when there was deliberate persecution (remember the Apostles and Desert Fathers) the faith was well-focussed against all odds and emerged stronger than ever. The faithful survivors who battled it out recount and relate to the trials of St.Paul and the others.
On the other hand, the absence of challenges generally brings out the worst behavior - factionalism, lukewarmness, arrogance, indulgences and excesses of various kinds and not to mention, a dilution of faith. Factionalism in church parishes gain hold and members break off to form new groups, get "poached" or lapse into vices. At the individual level, when its smooth sailing, when we have a high income job, when there is no perceptible threat to our well-being, our desire to seek pleasure gets triggered. Silent obedience gives way questionable choices. Prayer life is neglected.
Now, the global financial crisis has brought back the fear of God into most people and spirituality is actually on the rise. Joblessness, terrorism, natural calamities and persecution has caused a renewal of faith in many of us.
1. Are trials and tribulations really necessary for faith to blossom?
2. How do the monks and nuns in monasteries remain so spiritually focussed in the absence of typical common man's trials such as joblessness, children's education, traffic, taxes etc.?
3.How does one become more consistent in our prayer life and remain motivated?
I would greatly appreciate inputs from folks here.