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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

Sunday, 16 September 2012

SAINT SILOUAN'S ATTITUDE TO THOSE WHO DIFFER FROM HIM (Orth)



  Sep 14
Stolen from another FB page: "An excerpt from Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharovs)’s 'Saint Silouan of the Athonite' (SVS Press, 1999)
(Thanks to Dave Brown)


"Father Silouan’s attitude towards those who differed from him was characterized by a sincere desire to see what was good in them, and not to offend them in anything they held sacred. He always remained himself; he was utterly convinced that ’salvation lies in Christ-like humility’, and by virtue of this humility he strove with his whole soul to interpret every man at his best. He found his way to the heart of everyone - to his capacity for loving Christ.

I remember a conversation he had with a certain Archimandrite who was engaged in missionary work. This Archimandrite thought highly of the Staretz [Saint Silouan] and many a time went to see him during his visits to the Holy Mountain.
the Staretz asked him what sort of sermons he preached to people. The Archimandrite, who was still young and inexperienced, gesticulated with his hands and swayed his whole body, and replied excitedly,

‘I tell them, Your faith is all wrong, perverted. There is nothing right, and if you don’t repent, there will be no salvation for you.’

The Staretz heard him out, then asked,

‘Tell me, Father Archimandrite, do they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is the true God?’

‘Yes, that they do believe.’

‘And do they revere the Mother of God?’

‘Yes, but they are not taught properly about her.’

‘And what about the Saints?’

‘Yes they honor them but since they have fallen away from the Church, what saints can they have?’

‘Do they celebrate the Divine Office in their churches? Do they read the Gospels?’

‘Yes, they do have churches and services but if you were to compare their services with ours - how cold and lifeless theirs are!’

‘Father Archimandrite, people feel in their souls when they are doing the proper thing, believing in Jesus Christ, revering the Mother of God and the Saints, whom they call upon in prayer, so if you condemn their faith they will not listen to you…. But if you were to confirm that they were doing well to believe in God and honor the Mother of God and the Saints; that they are right to go to church, and say their prayers at home, read the Divine word, and so on; and then gently point out their mistakes and show them what they ought to amend, then they would listen to you, and the Lord would rejoice over them. And this way by God’s mercy we shall all find salvation…. God is love, and therefore the preaching of His word must always proceed from love. Then both preacher and listener will profit. But if you do nothing but condemn, the soul of the people will not heed you, and no good will come of it.’" H/T: Christopher Orr

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

...this is a great meditation father..and a problem area for me personally..im not anything near as bad about this as i used to be but i still struggle sometimes to 'let people be' where they are on their spiritual path..I generally feel an overwhelming urge to 'help' others to see the light,so to speak...in my lifetime I've been called(among other things):self-righteous..smart alec..know-it-all..insensitive..and condescending..I've had significant growth in the past 5 years of sobriety but there is still much work to be done..as we say in AA: "progress,not perfection" ......Lord have mercy.

Anonymous said...

...father,if i may speak frankly, It dawned on me this morning while visiting here,as i have everyday for a while now,that the chief reason i come here is to antagonize you and find a reason to disagree with the topic your post's..Im trying to understand WHY i would find any pleasure whatsoever in doing this..I perceive this blog as being very religious in the dogmatic/ritualistic sense but with very little genuine/original spirituality,which is most annoying and disturbing to me personally,so..in essence,im trying to reach or grow to a point where i can 'Let Go' of the annoyance of this blog that i seem to almost cherish in some sick way,and leave you alone...Im sorry if this comment disturbs you father David,that is not my intent..Im acutally trying to grow up...

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