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Christian Life

“…to grow in the faith and to mature in our Christian life, we need to “turn aside” from our thoughtless and superficial way of life. We need to become aware of the deeper things of the spirit….Prayer in solitude needs to be supported by prayer with others. Prayer is the heart of the Christian life.” (Fr. Basil, Bishop John of Amorion)

“There is nothing precise that we can identify as the “self” in such a manner that we “empty it.” We could identify desires, thoughts, plans, wealth, energy, and the like as things that we might choose to deny or give up. And this has been a well-worn path in asceticism and monastic life through the centuries. But it still concentrates our efforts on an absence, leaving us with nothing within. Such an absence is ultimately a misunderstanding of self-emptying. Like many things in the Christian life, “emptying” is a paradoxical phrase. We do not and cannot “empty” the self without reference to another. Christ’s own offering on the Cross was not an act of isolated renunciation. It was profoundly an act of love in which He emptied Himself but also filled Himself in union with our brokenness.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“In this journey of growing ever closer to Christ, we also move closer to becoming more truly ourselves. Thus, the Christian life is not a type of limited-resource transaction between God and ourselves. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that what we give to God leaves that much less for ourselves. But instead, the spiritual life is like our love for our family and friends—the more we give to them, the more we have.” (Robin Phillips)

“Instead of trying to hide his failings, St. Paul highlighted his own unworthiness, even calling himself the chief of sinners. The apostle had the humility to see and accept the truth about his soul, stating that “by the grace of God I am what I am.” He was not paralyzed by guilt or the hurt pride called shame; neither was he enslaved by the desire to make himself look righteous in the eyes of others. Despite his many trials and tribulations, and his keen awareness of his own imperfection, St. Paul did not abandon his ministry or somehow corrupt it into a way of glorifying himself. Instead, he used his sense of dependence on the mercy of the Lord to fuel his ongoing pursuit of the Christian life to the point of death as a martyr. As he wrote, God’s “grace toward me was not in vain.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“God will provide many opportunities to the growing Christian for sharing with others his or her experience with the Bible. What better witness for the truth of the Christian faith than a solid Christian life nourished by Holy Scripture and radiating true Christian love at home, at Church and at work?” (Fr. Theodore Stylianopoulos)

“The Christian life is, properly, a life of spiritual asceticism in which we seek to shed that which is not truly ours. This is not always obvious (by any means). It is also not entirely private. The “mirror” of the soul is Christ Himself. Were we only looking within ourselves the journey would be nothing more than “anybody’s guess.” Instead, we become like Christ as we steadily gaze at Christ. He is the “measure” of the soul and the singular measure of what it is to be truly human and “who we are.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Our Christian life consists of a sustained effort to recover our lost likeness to God….Each day of our lives, we must refuse to invest ourselves in serving the false gods of our own vain imaginations and instead embrace the basic spiritual disciplines of the Christian life in order to serve Christ in the life of His Body, the Church, and in our neighbors. The struggle to do so will often be inconvenient and frustrating, and at times we will perceive no visible signs of progress…Whenever we mindfully embrace the difficult struggle to turn away from slavery to our distorted desires and reorient our lives toward God, we take up our crosses. These are the most basic practices of the Christian life…” (Dynamis 5/24/2021, Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“The Christian life is simple; it is made up of love and humility…Forcing ourselves to have a humble mindset is most essential in leading a Christian life. Even if I have acquired all the wisdom in the world, it is all nothing if I don’t have love, St. Paul says (1 Cor. 13), and true love is firmly rooted in humility…humility is the perfection of the Christian life. It is not in the raising of the dead or in working miracles that Christian perfection lies, but in extreme humility.” (Constantina R. Palmer, Father Spyridon Baily, Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)

“A Christian life without pain is bogus. Pain of the heart is essential for salvation…all the trials and disappointments of the Christian life and ministry are worthwhile.” (Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos, Orthodox Study Bible, 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)

“One of the difficulties associated with the Christian life is the struggle for the liberation of the true self. We have already seen that much confusion exists surrounding what it means to “be true to yourself.”… Scripture and the Church Fathers challenge us to see virtue as the means of becoming more fully human, of realizing the true self that God created…Christian virtue enables us to plug back into our Life Source and thus to become more fully ourselves…no external suffering has the power to block us from becoming fully human as God intends…far from actually injuring a person, external affliction can assist her in the attainment of virtue (and thus human flourishing), as long as she remains receptive to the work of God in her life.” (Robin Phillips)

“The Christian life begins not with high deeds and achievements but with the most simple and ordinary act of humble asking. Then the life and joy grow in us over the years through commonplace, almost boring practices. Daily obedience, reading and prayer, worship attendance, serving our brothers and sisters in Christ as well as our neighbors, depending on Jesus during times of suffering. And bit by bit our faith will grow, and the foundation of our lives will come closer to that deep river of joy." (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“Christianity is a way of life or more properly said, the way of life…However, you cannot “look” at a way of life. Rational arguments, discussions, explanations, personal stories and the like certainly have the power to attract (and sometimes repel). But none of them represent communion with God. At some level, true salvation begins in a noetic experience between the soul and God. And this cannot be forced or managed. It is an intrinsically holy action in whose presence we can only be silent. St. Paisios noted that a person could be converted at the sight of a fox or a bear – the matter belonged, he said, to the “disposition of the soul.” (Sacramental Living, Father Stephen Freeman)

“The word “apocalypse” (from the Greek) means “revelation,” bringing into plain sight what had before been hidden. The Christian faith is, from beginning to end, apocalyptic in nature. It is always a bringing forth of hidden things. Very often the most important thing in the world is nearly invisible to everyone around: the birth of a child in a village in Palestine, the lonely execution of an itinerate preacher, an empty tomb that puzzles a city. Jesus is not what anyone expected. The entirety of His life is only understood after the fact, in the light of revelation.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

"Christianity is neither optimistic nor pessimistic, nor is it neutral. And that is so because it is true; it is life, based on the true story of God’s free choice to die for His creation, and our free choice either to rise or fall." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

“Christianity has a bad name in our world today, because many professing Christians live the same way as the world—and sometimes worse than the world...Our behavior is important because we represent Christ to a lost and dying world. What we do and what we say are seen by the world as representing Christ.” (Abbot Tryphon)

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