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Order and Disorder

“In a medieval world, the “order” of things was thought important: kings and commoners, high-born and low-born, masters, yeomen, and apprentice, etc. The whole of the universe had an order (hierarchy) that included the angels, human beings, and all creatures. The point was not oppression or suppression, nor to “keep people in their place.” Rather, the order of things served the purpose of union with God.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Order reflects the nature of God’s holiness. The Church is called to witness to that divine sacredness in worship and life. Already in 2 Corinthians, Paul insists that “God is not the author of confusion but peace…” (14:33). The original Greek word for “confusion” comes from the thought of “instability.” It refers to the disorder that degenerates into tumult and chaos…The opposite of such disarray is “peace,” that is, quiet, harmony, and concord…” (Fr. Basil)

“What the Church does in its liturgies and sacraments is not make a secular thing holy, but to reveal the true God-inspired nature of things. Holy Water is thus not opposed to tap water, but is water which we pray will reveal what God intended all water to be from the beginning of creation. The Church doesn’t make things something they are not, but reveals the divinely given (thus natural) goodness (holiness) hidden in each created thing. Everything in the created world has a God-designed purpose. The Fall as such has caused a rupture in the natural order of things. In Christ, things are being restored to their natural state – the condition in which they were originally created by God.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“Since we became distorted through our apostasy from God, we need to strive, by God’s grace, to find our true self again and to proceed with His plan for us. This is the effort to which the Church calls each of us…[It is] important it is for us to regain our true self, to bring it to God and to be prepared to receive the great gift of salvation which God offers us. He teaches us how important it is to look deeply into our inner self, to bring our disordered nous [heart/mind/being] back into the heart and to listen to Christ’s invitation: ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to them and dine with them, and they with me’.” (George Mantzarides)

“To be human is to be a liturgical animal, a creature whose loves are shaped by our worship. And worship isn’t optional...Instead of being on guard for false teachings and analyzing culture in order to sift out the distorting messages, we need to recognize that there are rival liturgies everywhere. Our idolatries, then, are more liturgical than theological. Our most alluring idols are less intellectual inventions and more affective projections—they are the fruit of disordered wants, not just misunderstanding or ignorance.” (James Smith)

“God is a God of order, That is what He is doing when He creates the world as we read in Genesis. He is ordering it, moving things from disorder to order. Moving from evening to morning, night to day, darkness to light, is a movement from disorder to order. In the Hebrew Old Testament the word for evening is erev (air-rev). The root of this word is disorder or chaos. The word used for morning is boker (bo-kare) and it comes from the root or words that means “being orderly” and able to be discerned. The Hebrew word for order is linked to discernment which is wisdom. We read in Proverbs 8:22-31, a book about Wisdom who is Christ, about creation and the way God ordered it. It talks about Wisdom as the agent of creation. Our movement toward Christ to have union with Him is to move from night to day within ourselves, to move from disorder to order within, and grow in His wisdom and love to others.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“…only the presence of Christ and contact with Him can rebuke the wind and the sea within us. That is the meaning of the icon. It tells us to let go and stop trying to think we can control the universe. This letting go of control, while sounding appealing, feels abstract. To make it more concrete and obtainable we can frame it as accepting and being at peace with our own powerlessness; to deliberately practice not being in control. Each day, as we approach prayer, we remind ourselves of the words of the disciples as they witnessed Jesus calm the storm, “who is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”. This is who we approach in prayer each day, the one who can rebuke the wind and the sea. It is the desire for contact with the one who can do this that can draw us to prayer each day. The one who brings calm and order into chaos. The one who brings certainty into uncertainty.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)

“The state of justice, then, is the original state of the created order. In fact, it is the order that constitutes God’s creative act against chaos. The lasting rest and peace of the age to come, an age without end, will be ordered by divine justice. Sin, suffering, and death in this age are the result of the violation of this order in creation. Because that order represents the activity of the Triune God, such a violation is also rebellion, which brings about destruction. As the divine king, Christ is the minister of this justice, the one who judges (John 5:22). His reign is one of both threat and promise.” (Father Stephen De Young)

“When we turn our attention outward, toward the actions and behavior of others, then we evade what lies in our own heart….Here is the heart of our Lord’s teaching which is to be found in Saint Luke’s Gospel: the way to change our hearts from evil to good. The great Healer of the passions prescribes turning inward, toward the condition of our own heart. There we find the source of our disorder, and no longer presume to lead the blind while we are blind and falling into the ditch (Luke 6:39). The Lord Jesus commands, “First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly” (vs. 42). Our foremost need is repentance, which is the primary cure for the presumption that we are without passions, the remedy for spiritual blindness…What holds us back from repentance? The obstacle lies in our presumption that we do not need to repent.” (Dynamis 10/6/2020)

“Pay attention carefully. After the sin comes the shame; courage follows repentance. Did you pay attention to what I said? Satan upsets the order; he gives the courage to sin and the shame to repentance.” (St. John Chrysostom)

“Everything we received as an occasion for life we have turned into an occasion for sin; everything we bent into an occasion for depravity will be turned into an occasion of punishment…First people’s hearts are disordered, and after them the elements.” (St. Gregory the Great)

“When we are disordered within, we perceive disorder without and lose our ability to clearly see the things of God. We are also a contributor to the disorder of the world because our inner state dictates much of our outward behavior. That is why it is so important to be ordered within our hearts. Today there are many obstacles and enemies to this, some new, some the same as ever. The use of technology without specific purpose is a huge one since much of it is designed on purpose to create addiction which by nature disintegrates and reduces us within. There are many others as well. The sacramental life of the church is all about reordering us within through the Holy Spirit. When we are ordered within, we know God better and we know inner peace, the treasure many seek but don’t know how to attain.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“Reliance on human solutions to mankind’s intractable problems is bound to fail. Life will only become uglier and more bitter. We find wisdom when we quit trying to solve problems of the heart by technical means, for scientific methods alone never will relieve spiritual disorder.” (Dynamis 11/16/2019)

“Spirit has a limit – not on God’s part, certainly, but on our part. Never doubt that the grace of our Master is all-powerful, inviolable, ever-merciful, and invincible unto the ages of ages. However, we know very well that we have the ability to override the prompting voice of the Spirit of God. When we fail and are overcome by the forces that assail us, we affront God’s goodness, break His commandments, disorder our lives, and literally put ourselves out on a limb. All is not lost when we stumble, however. In His compassion, God encourages us to repent, that we may labor once again with Him. For we “are Christ’s” (vs. 24) and we can “live in the Spirit . . . [and] also walk in the Spirit” (vs. 25). We may be “overtaken in . . . trespass,” but we can also be restored “in a spirit of gentleness” (vs. 6:1).” (Dynamis 12/1/2018)

“I shall repeat again: Maintain the conviction that our disorderliness is not natural to us, and do not listen to those who say, ‘It is no use talking about it, because that is just how we are made, and you cannot do anything about it.’ That is not how we are made, and if we undertake to cure ourselves, then we will be able to do something about it.” (St. Theophan the Recluse)

"What is brokenness? Where does it come from? Brokenness is the term that describes the fundamental disorder that exists in creation that affects a person's relationships and creative activity. We experience it inwardly in a way that St. Paul described as that pull between right and wrong where we know what is good but choose the opposite. Outwardly it is expressed by the scandals of greed, sexual abuse, and other crimes that seem ever more prevalent year by year.” (Father George Morelli)

“How is it that all nature, and everything in nature, is so wisely arranged, and moves in such wonderful order? It is because the Creator Himself directs and governs it. How is it that in the nature of man - the crown of creation - there is so much disorder? Why are there so many irregularities and deformities in his life? Because he took upon himself to direct and govern himself, against the Will and Wisdom of his Creator.” (St. John of Kronstadt)

“Reliance on human solutions to mankind’s intractable problems is bound to fail. Life will only become uglier and more bitter. We find wisdom when we quit trying to solve problems of the heart by technical means, for scientific methods alone never will relieve spiritual disorder.” (OCPM 7/25/2016)

“When we abstain from practices that disorder our loves, and in that time of fasting redouble our contemplation of God and the good things of Creation, we recenter our minds on the inner stability we need to create a coherent, meaningful self.” (Rod Dreher)

“Our Lord Jesus promises that a right-side-up world is coming, a world which He calls the kingdom of God. Furthermore, He undertakes the essential corrective action to straighten out the present disorder. Let us rejoice, for the restorative power of our Lord is available to everyone today!” (Dynamis 5/14/2018)

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