Living with God in solitude in the midst of the world

Hello everyone, 

I have had this question for many years now: how can I live with God in solitude in the midst of the world? Solitude and the world are almost oxymorons but many saints who were successful in their spiritual life obtained this while living in the midst of the world. It fascinates me that many saints even in their childhood they lived this life and tasted its sweetness that when they went to the monastery, their father of confession told them that they were already living this life since the day they were conscious. I have asked monks about this question but I want a more deeper answer or more organized. Sitting with God in solitude facilitates many aspects of our life such as service, balancing our lives and prioritizing God, but reaching this is very challenging so how can it be done in the midst of everything we have to do in life and how can we balance our lives in such a manner? 

God bless. 


  • peace and grace msmekhael, sorry i was busy the last few weeks, but i liked your question.

    a really good teacher on this subject is pope shenouda, and one of the best sermons he has given on this is aimed at people who are not close to God for various reasons, but it is also good for those who already experience a close relationship with God in their prayers and in their life, but wish to go deeper.
    it is called 'Come back to God', and here it is in arabic with english subtitles:

    his life story also shows many ways in which someone can stay close to God in all circumstances:

    this is another of my favourites about forgiveness:

    this is one i saw for the first time, someone has put an article of his to music with nice pictures:

    you could also get hold of his book 'the release of the Spirit', which has a lot of advice, explaining deep things from the Bible about prayer and our relationship with God.

    another good book is 'have you seen the one i love?' - about the song of solomon.
    it explains how the whole book is about the love of Christ for His church, and is very deep.
    i strongly recommend it, but read it slowly, it is like eating a triple chocolate cookie!

    another writer who understood the depths of God's love and who was able to explain it to ordinary people like you and i is saint macarius.
    a new translation in english of his homilies (sermons) is coming out soon (i'll announce it on this forum when i see it), as the currrent translations are old, and the english is hard to understand. but if you have the arabic version, this is fine.

    in summary, to live with God in solitude, you have to be full of God's love (for yourself, for all other people and for the whole planet) and you have to spend your time learning about God and loving him and resist the temptation to spend too long watching the news, painting your house, shopping for clothes and all those other normal, useful things that can eat up so much of your time.
    what i mean is, for example, you could cook a quick nutritious meal in half an hour and then spend an hour praying, instead of spending 2 hours showing off your cooking skills to get praise from your friends or flatmates.
    it is so easy to waste time with entertainment and building up your physical life when your spirit is longing for a deep relationship with God, but if you are full of the Holy Spirit of God by spending every opportunity with Him, then you will always be apart from the busy world around you.
    if you have to study, for example, then give time to study, but also give time to prayer. aim to achieve a high enough mark in order to get a job that you can use to give glory to God, but don't be distracted by a desire for honour and power so that your study and your work eats up all of your time.

    to conclude (i have to go and pray instead of spending so long talking about it!), saint macarius asked God to show him how people could live a holy life in the world, away from the monastery. the Lord lead him to an ordinary house in the city, and he knocked on the door and found 2 ladies at home. they were full of the love of God and their house was full of peace. they explained to him that their 2 husbands were brothers, and when their marriages were being discussed, both ladies expressed a desire to be nuns instead, but their husbands wanted to get married instead. so the ladies agreed, and (as they were not rich), they all lived together in the same house, and had children. the ladies decided to live as if they were in a monastery, and worked together to agree on everything and to raise their children like one family, as they both cared for all the children the same. they led a simple life and agreed with their husbands to give money to the poor, although they did not have much.
    God showed saint macarius, that they had reached a higher spiritual level than some people in the monastery.
    may He guide us all to a life of love and solitude with Him.
  • @mabsoota
    Thank you so much for your reply, it is very helpful!! 
    Do you by any chance have a link to the sermons of Saint Macarius in arabic or old english, that you were talking about? 
    Thank you so much! 
    God bless. 

  • i did internet search on 'saint macarius homilies' and lots came up, including from an orthodox website. but I find it hard to understand such old english even though it has been my 1st language for over 40 yrs. if u send me yr email address, i can send u 2 or 3 more up to date ones.
  • edited September 2019
    @mabsoota, wow this is amazing!
  • Sure thanks @mabsoota, I will pm it to you
  • Thank you, very much, Mabsoota, for sharing the videos, I appreciated them so much. Your words of wisdom and encouragement are very warm and inviting. Thank you. 
  • Wow, HH Pope Shenovda's sermon on Forgiveness is the BEST I have ever seen or heard. Incredible descriptions on the biblical meaning of forgiveness. It is exactly what I needed to hear in my life right now. I love him, God bless his soul. Thank you, again for posting these beautiful videos I am so glad I found them today.  
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