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249. October 30/17, 1977

How to Survive as an Orthodox Christian in the World Lecture

A. Introd.: pilgrims will go back to world—here we are protected, have our rhythm, segregated community, oneness of mind, services, Lit. to inspire and recharge—but how to continue inspired in world and remain Orth (w ones children)?

B. This question arises bee. our way of life is so diff. from worlds. Not just a matter of evils + temptations in world, esp. for children, but diff. fr. everyday consciousness. Our aim and way of life totally diff from world’s. Forming Orth corns no answer either—no com. can help but feel pressure of surrounding world. Bec. of times, impression is created that “real world” is everyday pagan world, and Orth, world fights losing battle against it. Then how can one survive as Ortho Chr.?

C. Let us take a warning fr. a characteristic phen of our times—fruitless fig trees. Person can be very zealous as Orth Chr., read much, go to sem. or mon.— + then cool off, get bored, + even when he remains as Ortho Chr., is in a state of constant dissatisfaction or boredom. Same th. can happen to a person who was never too zealous, but has simply learned to take Chr ty for granted. This is t. sickness of one who has becomes too familiar w. t. Faith, + bee. of outward familiarity loses inward meaning of it. Such people are worldly, self-satisfied, and “know better”—they have been conquered by world around them, are formally Orth but without t fruits of true Chr’ty. This is quenched spirit of wh Apostle Paul speaks, symbolizing absence of H. Sp.

D. How do we avoid this pitfall and remain zealous Chrs.?

1. It helps, of course, to have spir. fr. for confession + guidance, regular attendance at ch. services, reception of Holy Mysteries, regular prayer at home. But one can do all this + still be fruitless.

2. A hint: St. John Chry.: “He who doesn’t read spir. bks. can’t save his soul.”

3. What is function of reading spir. bks? They put us in contact w age-old spir. trad., give us spir. formation of cons., develop our mind in Chr. path. Attraction of surrounding world is one of different consciousness, that wh “everyone believes”—we must be in constant contact w. what Ch. believes.

4. Once one gets used to spir. reading, new world opens up—one is constantly learning, no room for boredom (that is only for those who already “know everyth”).

a. Lives of Sts.—constantly new discoveries in how men have pleased God. We meet those w. whom we hope to be in paradise. Vlad. John encouraged knowl + ven. of W. Sts.—as source of inspir. Sts. Romulus and Lepucinus—spir. of Rus. Thebaid in 5th c. Gaul.

b. Spir. writings—to learn ABC’s of spir. life wh. we constantly forget. Can be read again + again as we gain in exper. If we are always learning, these bks are always fresh.

1. St. John of Kron.

2. Unseen Warfare, + others of Bp. Theophan (most not in Engl.)

3. Desert Frs.—among monks, but t passions + virtues described are universally Chr., Lausiac Hist. Para, Dialogues

3a. St. Macar. Great.

4. Ladder—esp. for Lent.

5. Coms, on Scriptures.—St. Greg. Diog has excellent ones. Vlad. Aver.

6. Many more not transl.—but these are beg.

A person reading such bks, preferably keeping journal of extracts fr. them, is bldg a world of his own—not private world, but t real world of Orth Chr’ty thru t ages. This perhaps our main weapon against worldliness wh surrounds us.

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