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I need to vent.
  • I erased my venting.
  • Hey i suffer just like you! i'm going to say something u probably heard over and over again... you can do anything with Gods grace... you say that God gives you many gifts... if God sends down his grace abundantly for you (like you say) then all you need to do is make a small effort and God will help you the rest of the way! but if you don't try to do your end of the deal Gods grace wont really work... unless you try your best! overcome laziness as much as you can! Make sure you ask God for help because human strength alone will not succeed. 

    the problem with me is that i know exactly what to do... but i always feel "busy" with school or other "obligations" i found it so easy to focus only on God when i went to the monastery last summer! it was amazing and i didn't suffer spiritually as much as i would out in the world! if you can make a small trip to the monastery you will not regret it and your spiritual life will be impacted vey positively for the rest of your life!  
    May God help us all!
     we can't do this alone only with the grace of God! 
  • +Christ is risen!

     

    Dear CopticStrength,

     

    allow me to be so bold as to comment on some things you've written. I might be misinterpreting them since I barely know you, and if I am, just holla. :-)


    One thing I acknowledge with my whole heart is that I cannot succeed in life without God. Even if I earn it with my own effort, I will never be satisfied with myself. That's why I need God so much.



      You actually don't need God for the sake of getting things, you need Him because you're created a spiritual being and your spirit is longing for Him. You need Him because of a relationship, not for benefits. So, you need God, for sure, but it's not going to be because of success. You need Him because you love Him and can't live without Him.

     For example, I have the bible always in front of me, spiritual books, and the agpeya, but I always choose to do the alternative. ...me.

     To this, Abouna Matta elMaskeen answers:


     When Christians devote themselves to the spiritual combat, to assiduousness in prayer and the careful observance of other spiritual practices, they can come to feel that this activity and this assiduousness condition their relationship with God. It seems to them then that it is by reason of their perseverance and fidelity to prayers that they deserve to be loved by God and become His children. But God does not want souls to go astray down that false path, which would, in fact, separate them for good from God's freely bestowed love, and life with Him. So He takes away the energy and assiduousness that threaten them with this loss.

    Once God has taken away the abilities that He had offered freely in proof of His love -- these souls are left without strength, incapable of performing any spiritual action, and are confronted with the stupefying truth that they resist believing and persist in seeing as highly improbably: God in His fatherhood does not need our prayers and our good works. At the beginning, they cling to the idea that God has withdrawn His fatherly care from them after they stopped praying; and that God has abandoned them and neglects them because their works and perseverance were not up to the measure of their love. They try in vain to get up from their prostration and mourning and take up their former activity, but all his resolutions go for nothing. And then, little by little, they begin to understand that God's greatness is not to be measured by the yardstick of man's futility, that His eminently superior fatherhood chose to adopt the children of dust because of His infinite tenderness and the immensity of His grace, and not in return for the works of man or our efforts; that our adoption by God is a truth that has its source in God and not in ourselves, a truth that is ever present, that persists - in spite of our powerlessness and our sin - in witnessing to God's goodness and His generosity. In this way, their spiritual lukewarmness leads these souls to revise their concept of God fundamentally, and also their evaluation of the spiritual relations between the soul and God. This profoundly modifies their concept of effort and assiduousness in spiritual works. They no longer consider these things as the price of God's love, but as responses to His love and fatherly care."


     

    So something, maybe to consider, my friend, is that you're reaching a point in your relationship with God where you are coming to start to appreciate that He loves you in spite of you, that it's not for your asceticism or hard work that you earn the love of God. you can't earn God's love, He already loves you. This is wonderful, it's actually a sign of growth. When the person starts to see this, it may make Him strive toward loving Him for Him and Him only. Not sure if I'm making any sense.

     

    Regardless, having been through exactly what you are describing myself, I can say only, fear not! He's closer than you think.

     

    At any rate, you are in my prayers and I hope that you will put me in yours as well. 

     

    prayers,

    ap

    http://canamorthodox.wordpress.com

  • You're right. But I wrote this (a few paragraphs) after:

    "I
    want to learn to pray with love again. I dont only want to pray so I can be
    successful or to take things from him, but because I need it. I need to love
    god again. Im so selfish. I ruined God's plan for my life. And even though I
    ruin it daily, he fixes it up for me."

    But this is selfish of me to go on with this thread. I'll just start praying from the agpeya from now on, and see if it makes my cold and proud heart warm again with his love.
    Thanks, and please continue praying for copticstrength, and for the other people too.

     
  • +Christ is risen

    I'm still confused as to why it means that you don't love Him just because of a season of dryness. There are seasons and cycles in the spiritual life, ups and downs. We keep doing what we do because of our love, but love doesn't have to be translated into emotions all the time. Love is a continual giving of self, not just an emotional high. A married couple may not have the same butterfly feeling daily in their marriage, but that has no translation into whether or not they love each other more or less. They continue to work with one another, to communicate with one another, to sacrifice for one another, and to die for one another. There's no question of love.

    Forgive me for zooming in on the one paragraph, it's just that there's a concept there that I find that many people get lost in, and so I picked on it on purpose.

    I really hope that you zoom in on the last few sentences of the quote from Abouna Matta. We need to really understand what our asceticism and works are. They are not ways to please the Lord. God is not delighted in how much we pray. God is not delighted in how pure we become. There are not a bunch of "things" that God sees and says, "Yo, good job, homie!" No. We do these things in love, and He delights at them when they are acts of love. I pray because I want to talk to God. I don't pray because God said, "Check in with me daily or I will be unhappy." If I stay up in vigil, it's not because "staying up is holy", it's "Lord, I want to be in your presence all night that I can't sleep!" just like two people in a relationship keep texting until super late at night because they're excited.

    So, just to be on the safe side, check yourself and sit with your foc and examine whether your understanding of holiness, of God, of your relationship with Him are all sound. If they all are, great! But spiritual dryness is a totally normal thing, and many people understand it because everyone goes through it, even monks and nuns.

    Pray for me.
    AP
  • Hey CopticStrength,

    I remember reading your post before it was erased and can I mention one thing, that although you are seeking God and miss Him, God seeks us to return to Him more than we seek our own selves to return to Him. God did this through His incarnation. We couldn't restore our communion with God without Him. During the Sunday readings of the Great Lent, each reading revealed how Christ came seeking those who weren't seeking Him. In the reading of the Samaritan woman, the scriptures say that God needed to go through Samaria, He came to her, she didn't seek Him. The man born blind and the paralyzed man both didn't seek Him, but God came to them. Even in the parable of the prodigal son, the Father in the parable saw His son coming to Him afar off and ran to him. God does the same to us. He sought and still seeks us out. CS, if He has that love to those who do not seek Him, He loves you who seeks Him. God seeks us continuously, keep seeking Him through prayer because in prayer, through the Church and the sacraments, God reveals Himself to us, and as Father Antony Paul said it is as an offering of love on our part from what we can offer that we prayFather Matthew the Poor in his book Orthodox Prayer Life, describes prayer as a divine call and a human response, "forever active on God's part and forever slow on ours," which, "the initiative is always God's." Father Matthew the Poor also describes how God seeks us through saying, "O that we should always remember that God ever seeks our worship! It is as if He awaits the hour of our prayer." God is so kind CS, He doesn't need us but because His love is selfless, He wants His creation to come to goodness for our salvation.

    Think of this overall:
    "To God, love is not a emotion, but a self-offering. In prayer, God offers us Himself. God offered us Himself when He created us in His own image. Through prayer, He offers us union with Himself so that He may become totally ours and we may become totally His." - Orthodox Prayer Life, Father Matthew the Poor.

    From your previous posts, you said you really wanted your relationship with God again and to pray properly again. If you can, please try to read Orthodox Prayer Life by Father Matthew the Poor. It will help give a better understanding on prayer between God and yourself and it focuses on the relationship with God. (If you want to read the first 60 or so pages http://books.google.com.au/books?id=CpPnSHWu5d8C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false)
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Hey Jojo,

    THIS BOOK is amazinggggggg - this kind of stuff really makes you think and I love that. Thankyou
    I think somebody should make a list of books like this and post them here. If there's a thread with that already, PLEASE let me know
    Or we can make a thread, and have everyone list spiritual books they have read over the years.

    About what you said, it's so true




  • You know what? I’m coming back. I will discipline myself to
    listen to God’s commandment and conform my will to his. I will learn to struggle
    in prayer again and learn to cut this laziness out. I will learn to stop despairing
    about the stupidest stuff that won’t matter. A year from now, I’ll look at what
    I did, and say what was stopping me? Well, nothing was, nothing is.



    Prayers do work. I’ve witnessed this in my life a lot, as Im
    sure everyone has. If I say anything other than that, then Im even more ignorant
    than I already am. Because when anyone asks god for something, he won’t say no.
    He might not say yes right away, but eventually he will give us what we
    petition for because he loves to give us (a few ppl helped remind me of this :).



    Im still a sinner, and I’ll never be anything but a sinner
    but the difference between someone who walks a journey with God and one who
    doesn’t really care is the willingness to rise everytime we fall, and the blind
    trust in his power to guide us in this.



    There’s nothing more to say. If I want to come closer to
    God, then I just got to start doing it. He is there, and he showed me this. And
    so, I got to focus on exactly that.



    Pray for my weaknesses; pray that I can come back with all
    my will, not partially.



    (And I wont post anything personal anymore because it can be
    annoying to constantly do it on a public forum)



     

  • may God guide u and give u strength and peace.
    i think many people benefit from your posts as many people struggle in this way. 
    it is good to hear you are concentrating on yr prayer life again.
    :-)
  • Dear CopticStrength, 
    The fathers say that prayer is like breath to our soul and without it we spiritually die. When we return back to God we are 'alive again'. :)

    When I was reading your post you reminded me of a few things that may help in the decisions in your post. The thing about prayer is that if we persevere in prayer and put prayer as the highest priority, so that it fragrances all of what we do, the decisions in your post will be perfected.

    "In prayer, God's personal will and ours meet. Christ's will is sharply focused upon our own salvation, renewal and rescue. Nothing can thwart Christ's will for us except our failure to pray. ...Through prayer our will becomes like that of Christ. Through prayer, we gain His Spirit and are conformed to His will. His power thus rests upon us. Without prayer, man cannot know what the will of Christ is in relation to himself." - Orthodox Prayer Life, Father Matthew the Poor

    The sins that hurt the soul, will 'dry up'. "We will also come to feel within ourselves how our lives are changed; how the bleeding sources of sin dry up, how the motion of evil die down... God now sets a guard over the mouth and lips and a censor over the eyes. The ears become like a gate of a divine fortress, never to be opened except for pure things alone. The heart desires nothing but to please God and enjoy His love." - Orthodox Prayer Life, Father Matthew the Poor

    Love of God: "From genuine prayer, the love of God is born, for love comes of prayer." - Saint Isaac the Syrian (taken from Orthodox Prayer Life, by Father Matthew the Poor)

    Keep close to the Church and Her mysteries, and to your spiritual rule of praying, reading the Scriptures etc. during this time.

    P.s The whole book is wonderful. A thread like that would be really beneficial.
    I agree with mabsoota, and it's more than a blessing to even write to you. 

    Please pray for me CS

    In the risen Christ


Memorial for HH Pope Shenouda

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