Monday, January 21, 2019

Can Christianity Change the World?

Some thoughts from an Orthodox deacon on living the Christian faith in the world. While many are called to give public witness, prayer must always give precedence. From Pravmir:
 This way of life is known to be a struggle, requiring preparation, training, ascesis, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is the needed role of the Church.

When we examine how the early church grew and shaped a new culture over many years, we find that Christians lived a life based on the way Christ lived. They were different in how they lived. Many even sacrificed their life to stay true to their faith. It was their faithfulness to His way, His teachings, and their exemplary love for all humankind that made them different. They lived in a very difficult time that was in great odds with Christian teachings. Even so, they did not seek to overthrow or change the government, but lived by the Spirit, as Saint Paul says. They understood that the kingdom sought was not of the world but of the Kingdom of Heaven. They trusted in God and relied on the work of the Holy Spirit. They were faithful in all things. Their efforts were aimed at becoming like Christ, humble, obedient to His teachings, compassionate, accepting that we are all sinners knowing we are all made in God’s image....

1. Praying Daily: Have a regular prayer rule that includes morning and evening prayer.
2. Worshiping and Participating in the Sacraments: Attend and participate in the Divine Liturgy receiving Holy Communion regularly as well as regular participation in Confession.
3. Honoring the Liturgical Cycle: Follow the seasons of the church and participate in the fasts and feasts of the Church.
4. Using the Jesus Prayer: Repeat the Holy name whenever possible throughout the day or night.
5. Slowing Down and Ordering Your Life: Set priorities and reduce the stress and friction caused by a hurried life.
6. Being Watchful: Give full attention to what you are doing at the moment.
7. Taming the Passions: Overcome your habits, attachment to your likes and dislikes, and learn to practice the virtues.
8. Putting Others First: Free yourself from your selfishness and find joy in helping others.
9. Spiritual Fellowship: Spend time regularly with other Orthodox Christians for support and inspiration.
10. Reading Scripture and writings of the Church fathers. (Read more.)

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