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God (With or Without)

“Precisely because of the excision of God from our life, or at least the marginalization of him, we’ve become convinced that everything’s fine, that we’re good, that sin’s an invention of priests and monastics. And if we actually do any good work, we think we’re God himself. So we shouldn’t be surprised when we’re constantly faced with the symptoms resulting from this: sorrow, worry, stress, absence of meaning, and spiritual suffocation. This, unfortunately, is the lot of people who are without God, of those who never ponder anything deeper in their lives. They experience hell even in this life while, perversely, being filled with the sense of their greatness and importance.” (Protopresbyter Georgios Dorbarakis)

“It’s time to acknowledge to myself: I feel part of this secularized world and I feel strange and hostile in the world that calls itself Christian. The secular world is the only one that is real. Christ came into this world and spoke to this world; in it and for it He left us the Church. If one would speak in paradoxes, one could say that any religious world, as well as the Christian world, easily manages without God, but cannot spend a minute without gods, i.e., idols. Little by little, the church and piety and the way of life and faith itself become such idols. The secularized world, by its denial, clamors for God. But, captivated by our holiness, we do not hear that clamor. Captivated by our piety, we despise this world, escape it with priestly jokes and hypocritically pity those who don’t know ‘our’ churchliness. And we fail to notice that we, ourselves, failed and are failing all our exams—of spirituality, of piety and of churchliness.” (Fr. Alexander Schmemann)

“The waters and all that is in the world is a means of communion with God because of His Divine condescension. The world was not created to be a place of an “alternative” existence, one without God. It exists as the means and focal point of our communion. The sacraments revealed to us within the life of the Church do not exist as isolated instances of a divine encounter but as examples and revelations of what God is in the world. “Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“If you decide, with all your heart, to always submit to the Lord and to please Him alone through the whole of your way of life, and if, in every predicament and need you turn to Him alone, in faith and devotion, then you can be sure that everything in your life, things spiritual and secular, will turn out successfully. It’s a great thing to realize that, without God, there’s nothing you can do about anything and, having come to understand this, to then have recourse to His assistance in full confidence. The conscience must direct the soul properly and inform it infallibly as to what is the right thing in every situation. It can’t do this, however, if it’s not pure and illumined.” (St. Theophan the Recluse)

“Without God’s providence, nothing could survive, but would slip back into nothingness. Without God as the source of life, we would return to dust, along with every created thing. It is by the LORD, the Spirit of Life, that all things continue to have their being. It is by the LORD that all new springs, and all renewals, including the great final resurrection, come to those whom He has made…“We know that there can be no life without love. This means that there is no life without God, for God is Love.” (Edith M. Humphrey, Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)

“With God, everything doesn’t find an immediate solution, as if by magic. But, people do have the sense of the presence of God, of his love, of the grace of the Holy Spirit, of consolation and of hope. So, they can maintain their courage in their everyday difficulties. They can live in the world and not be led astray by every profane and shameful thing. Unshakeable faith will bring optimism. Real love will foster charity and alms-giving. And in this way people’s wounded hearts will be warmed…Those who still follow false gods or make gods of people involved in politics, the arts or the sciences are destined to be thoroughly deceived. Without God, every crisis will overwhelm them and make them suffer from terrible delusions and many hardships.” (Elder Moisis the Athonite)

“The Lord does not desire the death of a sinner, and on him who repents He bestows the grace of the Holy Spirit, which gives peace to the soul and freedom for the mind and heart to dwell in God. When the Holy Spirit forgives us our sins we receive freedom to pray to God with an undistracted mind. Then the soul can freely contemplate God and live serene and joyous in him. And this is true freedom. But without God there can be no freedom, for the enemy agitates the soul with evil thoughts.” (St. Silouan the Anthonite)

“The New Testament occasionally makes comments about “lawlessness.” St. John equates sin and lawlessness (1Jn 3:4). When our communion with God is disrupted, lawlessness is the result. That is to say, the inner law, the natural compass of our well-being, begins to malfunction. We lose our direction. Our actions (even intended “good” actions) can become corrupted and serve only to destroy our lives. That this takes place on a cultural level is deeply alarming. Historically, cultures serve as something of a hedge around our lives. They cannot make us good, but they encourage us towards the good and turn us away from evil. Today, this is decreasingly true.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“A life of work without the liberation of communion with God is slavery. The struggle for excessive wealth is an incurable, tormenting disease. Fear of the future can stimulate greed, miserliness, hoarding. And God can be easily forgotten…Desire is transformed into lust when we exclude God from the picture. Without God, the natural powers of our soul become corrupt…God made the world, forming our very flesh and our eyes, yet sin turns even our natural desires into lust.” (Monk Moses, Dynamis 2/6/2014)

“My dear brothers and sisters, if we feel ‘existentially happy’, comfortable and at ease in this present world, then why would we seek to find a happiness that we don’t understand, that we don’t know we’ve lost, why would we even feel that we’re missing something? If we don’t feel exiled and estranged from communion with God, then why would we strive at all and where would we actually return to? Perhaps we should long for the lost joy on the opposite bank of real life, so that we can experience and confess that which was said by an Orthodox monk: ‘I believe in you, Lord, because outside you there’s nothing for me’. Amen.” (Archimandrite Nikanor Karayannis)


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