Being Saved This Day in the Church

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I thought I would bring the discussion down from the heady heights of theology and into the place where I spend my time and the bulk of my life. Being saved in the Church is a very day-to-day and moment-to-moment thing.

Getting started: Do I cross myself before I get out of bed. It sure helps. My sincerest hope is that my desire for God does not weaken between bed, kitchen and my prayer corner. Too many distractions.

Getting started part 2: Since I am not required by a canon to fast before my morning prayers, I usually have a cup of coffee which helps prayer immensely. Caffeine addiction. Discuss with confessor.

Praying. The great struggle is to have a single concentrated thought about God. To hold in my heart the Creator of the universe – or better stated to hold my heart there in His presence. The good morning is the one where His presence is accessible and not missing for some reason. Time to search my heart.

Fasting – What day is it? And even though the food may be “compliant,” do I remember to leave the table slightly hungry?

Reading the Blog – What has happened overnight. What has Europe and the American Insomniacs had to say. If there is a Romanian translation, what does it say? Was what I wrote clear and what will be next?

The Day – My day has appointments or tasks to be completed, or phonecalls, or services to be prepared, and all of these in between times for prayer. Prayer – the same questions as the morning.

The close of the day. What did I do? Did I remember God. Did I come close to constantly remembering God. Where did I refuse to remember Him?

Why does the cat annoy me?

Everyday would look something like this for me. The conversations could be good or bad, heartbreaking or producing anxiety, depending. But all of it is made up of small minutes, small decisions, and each is a decision to remember God or to forget the one who died for my salvation. Each phone call is a call from Christ (God have mercy on me).

Wonderously I am remembering that everything is filled with God – that He is everywhere present. And stopping and going slowly through the day the brightness of this unmitigated joy overwhelms anything that would seek to replace. Not just the natural things that grow – but everything. Glory to God!

And each day, is a struggle to say yes to the Grace that pours out upon us more than we can bear. Glory to God.

I will sleep in Grace, in the palm of His hand.

26 comments:

  1. Thank you, Father, for this wonderful post. Sometimes we get too caught up in the theology to remember that, all too often, the struggle can be as lowly as the level of our stomach. If we can’t control that most basic appetite, how can we hope to control the others?

    I know that it is easier to do when I’m doing what I should–which is praying. Those of us that came from other backgrounds sometimes have these lofty ideas about being ‘prayer warriors’ and confronting those powers and principalities; I find that, now, in Orthodoxy, my sights are set much lower. It was a profound thing the first time I realized that agonizing over passing on salad dressing during Lent was part of the spiritual struggle. 🙂

  2. I’m sorry that the cat annoys you! I am a great lover of cats and would gladly adopt an unwanted kitty to add to my scanty collection of five.

  3. Cats have a way of picking out, as the object of their special attention and love, the person who least wants them, and that often makes them annoying.

    Anastasia

    P.S. Thank you for a terrific post with important reminders! It has helped me.

  4. Is there a Romanian translation?!!!

    I see everybody goes to what is closer to their interests – cats, translations… sorry…

    I am an “Orthodox” since I know myself (baptised when 40 days old), but I guess I am not exactly Orthodox because I never knew I may eat before my morning prayer. I considered it somehow offending to God to fill in my stomach first. Don’t think, please, I started praying so long ago. Or thinking about what might offend God.

    God bless you, Father, this is a great blog! You have what’s best of America and Orthodoxy.

  5. Milla,

    Your background in Orthodoxy is doubtless better than mine. If you can do your morning prayers before eating – all the better. Of course please do not misunderstand. I was only referring to the prayers with which we begin the day. We never eat before the prayer of the Divine Liturgy. That is a very different thing. I hope you did not think I meant those prayers – that would indeed be creating a confusion on my part.

    I appreciate everyone’s concerns for the cat – I have two (one does not actually have a cat, I think). And the prize goes to the angry chinese driver, they were put there by God to teach me patience. Of course.

  6. It is not important just to have cat, dog and appreciated them or just eat after prayer. It is important to have Jesus Christ in your life as Lord and Savior, and the Bible with the application in your life. cat, Dog and foot are going no where, but your souls is going back to God. Blessing of God be upon you.

  7. A day of following Christ includes kindness to everyone and everything. If you think you are following Christ but are not kind to your brother and all around you then you are in delusion. I accepted Chrst as Lord and Savior over 45 years ago. But I still have to follow Him everyday. Being kind to all around you is the Bible (1 John 4:7-8). Please read the Bible before offering judgments on things you do not know. Thank you.

  8. I did not intend for the cat comment to take away from the point of the post. The obvious “Christian” answer for keeping an annoying cat is that God is using that cat to teach us patience.

    Another way to look at it is that we endure the cat to exercise our patience (or to exorcise our impatience). God may not be concerned with the method we choose to pursue this.

    So my original question, apropos of the post, is not, “What lesson can we learn from something that annoys us?” but “If I have the option to avoid a temptation (impatience), why keep the source of that temptation?”

    Unless, of course, the lesson is not one of patience (inactive) but of compassion (active) for those that annoy us. Therein lies salvation today.

  9. “Each phone call is a call from Christ (God have mercy on me).”

    Oh, my! Something I must remember at work when customers surround me with their requests and I am feeling overwhelmed and then the phone rings……

    The differences between heaven and hell were once described to me in this way (simplified for this post): Heaven is being with Someone who loves you and you love in return and receiving all His attention. Hell is being with Someone who loves you, but you don’t love in return, and receiving all his attention. The cat is a small example of what eternity with God will be like if you don’t love Him in return.

  10. My famiily had much discussion about my cat comments last night. We have two. I am famously grumpy about the cats, but it’s really just a show. I love the cats. But cats, like people, can be annoying from time to time. Even the writers of blogs (like me) can be annoying. God forgive us all.

  11. Father Stephen, many thanks for your insight about the cats, but it is better we can spend time and money with people than with the cats, because we will spend the enternity with God and with the people who are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. I know in Europe and others western world people love animals like Dogs and Cats more than people. My prayer is that we have to turn back to God’s vision of salvation to all mankinds and love them together with God (Mark12:28-31). God bless you.

  12. Olodor,

    Must be a cultural thing. Of course people have the greater importance – be we enjoy certain animals as pets but you are misinformed about people in the West loving them more than people. That would be a rare and extreme view. But animals have been living with us in such manner for probably 10,000 or more years. I can see nothing in Scripture that commands me not to love creation. God loves creation. How can I not?

  13. Wow,

    I can’t believe a humorous, passing comment about being annoyed by a cat has produced this much analysis discussion…

  14. This is a very well said. Do you think on the days we don’t sense God’s presence that God has somehow made himself less accessible or is it that we are just too inattentive? Thinking here also about Mother Theresa.

  15. Father Stephen, I am not against loving creations and I am not against your cat or the cats of others in this world. Jesus Christ said that we have to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds and power, and we have to love one another as ourselves Mark 12: 28-31. I am glad to know that you are spiritual man of God, let us share the salvation that we have in Jesus Christ others who are not saved. Jesus callwd you to take care of His sheep, how do you taking care of the Church right now? I am praying for you and may God use you with power for His glory and honor. Let be friends and forgive me if I did mistake against you through our discussion. Love of God and mine be with you in Jesus’ Name.

  16. Olodor,

    Thank you for your kind words – may God forgive us all and bless us in our common mission for Jesus Christ. Pray for me, if you will, I have another mission trip this weekend, and I’ve caught a cold. Prayers for health and patience would be much appreciated.

  17. Dear Father Stephen,

    Yes I will pray for your health, and may mighty touching of God heals your body in Jesus’ Name. May God grand you a save mission trip in this weekend, and use you with power for his glory. God bless you with many blessings.

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