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Spiritual Progress

“We should always be wary of applying linear notions of progress to our prayer life and asking ourselves: “What stage am I in?” “How far have I progressed?” Whatever “progress” in prayer is supposed to mean, it certainly doesn’t work like that.” (Martin Laird) “We think we know a lot, but what we know is very little. Even those who have striven all their lives to bring progress to mankind—learned scientists and highly educated people—all realize in the end that all their knowledge is but a grain of sand on the seashore. All our achievements are insufficient… When a person is meek and humble, he will advance in knowledge.” (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)

“The Myth of Progress proves to be irresistible, especially to those repelled by traditional Christianity and its unpleasant doctrines of guilt, judgment, and repentance." (Joseph Loconte)

“We all have a natural tendency to lay blame on others, when in truth we must blame only ourselves. When facing our own sins and shortcomings, it is easy to put the blame on others, yet our faith tells us that spiritual progress can come only with the acquisition of a humble and contrite heart. As long as we put the blame on others for our shortcomings, we remain stagnant on the spiritual path. The saints give a clear witness that progress toward holiness comes when we look only at our own faults.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Even in our relationship with God, we experience mountain tops and valleys, or what some of the Fathers refer to as the abundance of Grace and the withdrawal of Grace. Of course, in a very important sense, abundance and withdrawal of Grace refer our experience. Our experience of abundance and withdrawal of Grace does not mean that God is any less present in our lives. God is present in the abundance of Grace and in the withdrawal. Nonetheless, the mountain tops and valleys of our spiritual life are often quite troubling. Each new valley brings us again to our knees as we wonder if we have made any progress whatsoever in our spiritual life, if we have taken even one step nearer to God. When we are on the mountain top we think we have finally made it, that we have finally acquired a bit of the Grace of God.” (Fr. Michael Gillis)

"By keeping our eyes on Jesus Christ, we are empowered to move toward holiness of life, for the good that rises up in our hearts comes from Him. As we struggle for transformation of heart, even if we fall a dozen times, we do make progress, and each step we take brings us closer to the Kingdom of God.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“We often write and talk about our “walk with God” not our “run with God.” This is because… walking is a biblical expression that pictures a believer’s steady normal progress with God.” (Sacramental Living Blog, Foundation Study Bible, Ephesians 2:2)

"If we are to make spiritual progress, we must not, and cannot, constantly give in to whatever we want, whenever we want it…spiritual progress comes from a dedication and focus on our sacramental life with often include moderating ourselves…Asceticism is an unpleasant idea in our present culture, which measures happiness and progress with the increase of capital and consumption." (Archimandrite Sergius, Sacramental Living Blog, Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon)

“God reveals Himself to the human race gradually, making known His energies and attributes … do you see how we learn all things by gradual advance?...Our lives are always a work in progress (Demetrios J. Constantelos, St. John Chrysostom, Dynamis 4/8/2015)

“For change is not progress unless the core remains unchanged. A small oak grows into a big oak: if it became a beech, that would not be growth, but mere change.” (C. S. Lewis)

#AbbotTryphon #SacramentalLivingBlog #ArchimandriteSergius #MetropolitanJohnZizioulas #FatherDemetriosJConstantelos #StJohnChrysostom #CSLewis #ElderThaddeusofVitovnica #JosephLoconte #FrMichaelGillis

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