Keeping Orthodoxy Fresh
Keeping Orthodoxy Fresh

Three steps to regaining the fervor of our Faith.

Fr. Anthony Rusakevich outlines how to regain the excitement we used to have in our Faith...

Laypeople often turn to the clergy with such a complaint: “When I was a convert, prayer was fervent and sincere, and now, being an experienced Christian, I feel emptiness and the futility of my petitions to God. Why is this happening?” Where is the logic here? After all, a church-going and experienced Christian should be much more skilled in prayer than a neophyte or a nominal Christian. The whole point is that Christianity offers us an endless path of moral and spiritual perfection. There are no prolonged stops and limits on this path. However, damaged human nature often hinders progress on this path, inclining us to make simpler choices rather than the right ones. Why do neophytes get more satisfaction (some emotional, psychophysical “feedback”) from prayer, from fasting for many days, from participating in the sacraments? Because this whole universe of the Orthodox way of life is new to them. Neophytes are in an unusual state of a spiritual challenge and gaining mastery over themselves, that is why they receive such emotional and spiritual reward from prayer, services and fasting.     

Meanwhile, experienced Christians have already developed a skill, and many of their actions are stereotyped: the lists of sins that they bring to confession are very repetitive, they choose a nice vegan diet to feel comfortable throughout Lent, etc. And it is not a subjective fault—it’s just our human nature: to simplify, standardize and adapt to the situation—so they lose the effect of novelty and spiritual joy. However, if an experienced churched Christian constantly sets himself new tasks in the spiritual sphere (for example, to practice ascetic life; there are many options in this field), then he will avoid the stage of spiritual burnout...

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