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Questions (Wrong Questions)

“Christ promises to be present and make Himself known to us. When we spend time with each other, developing our relationship, we no longer ask if the other exists. Rather, we understand that because we know someone, the question of existence is surpassed. This is the kind of knowing and being that we have in relationship with each other, and this is equally true of our relationships with God. So a student may ask, “How do we know God exists?” but this, for me, is the wrong question. We know God as we know each other, and no one has yet to ask me if I exist. The better our relationship, the deeper is the knowing. Knowing God is being in relationship with Him and is so much greater than knowing about Him. When we commune with God, we share the life He took on flesh to share.” (Fr. John Abdalah)


“If you ask the wrong questions, you will hear only silence. Help me to succeed, make me wealthy, and give me a life of worldly delights—for the answer to such as these goals, you are on your own. Christ came to earth so that we humans may have our true nature restored. He wants to return to us the dignity that was lost by Adam and Eve. If you are happy living like a mere creature, you will never find the door Christ refers to, because you will probably die without ever realizing such a door exists within you. Even more than restoring the nobility of Adam, the Lord Jesus brings to you the grace that comes with the Holy Spirit. It is a special gift of love that He offers freely. He comes to us in our prison of darkness, the worst kind of darkness, which we aren’t aware we are held captive, and He leads us through the passage towards life and light. He doesn’t just point us the way; He has gone ahead of us, inviting us to follow Him.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)


“ ‘What is the meaning of life?’ is a typical question almost everyone ponders at some point, or many points, in their lives. In my more spiritually lucid moments, I realize that this is the wrong question. The question I should ask myself is ‘who is the meaning of life?’ and the answer of course is Christ. At a personal level, I have found that the purpose of my own life becomes clearer and clearer each day I continue to strive to be a branch on His vine.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


“Whatever we do in the course of the day, it is good that we not lose ourselves amidst our distractions. Do the thing that truly matters, the “one thing needful.” We need to speak to God and ask the question. And keep asking, seeking, and knocking, until we find the right question.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“Igor and Ivan were doing landscape work around the church. Igor sits down to take a break and lights up a cigarette. Igor wistfully says to Ivan, “Do you think it is alright to smoke when praying?” Ivan replies, “I don’t know. Why don’t you ask the priest?” So, Igor goes into the church office, finds the priest and asks, “Father, is it ok to smoke a cigarette while I pray?” The priest outraged, replies, “Igor, how could you ask such an impious question! Of course not! That would be offensive to God; It is a sin to smoke a cigarette while you are praying. Why would you even ask such a question!?!” Igor goes back to Ivan and tells him how angry the priest got and what the priest told him. Ivan says, “I’m not surprised. You asked the wrong question. Let me try. Come with me.” And so Ivan goes into the priest’s office and asks, “Father, if I’m smoking a cigarette, is it ok to say a prayer?” The priest looked with fondness on the thoughtfulness of Ivan and replied, “Of course! It is always the right time to pray – whatever you are doing, it is never the wrong time to say a prayer.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)


“We have been taught to ask the wrong questions. The thought process of modernity can be described as an abstraction that seeks to shape reality. The nous…(our capacity for knowing and perceiving God)…does not shape reality – it simply perceives it, and in so doing, even learns to perceive God. God is not an abstraction, though modernity has taught us to think that He is. For modernity, if there is a God at all, then He is the Supreme Abstraction. That fallacy draws our attention away from the world as it is and towards our thoughts about the world. And every revelation of God-in-the-world is dismissed as mere psychology. We think our own mind is The Thing.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“Have you ever noticed that when things don’t go as you expect (your car breaks down, your basement floods, your boss yells at you, your spouse or children betray you)…we almost always say to ourselves, “what did I do to deserve this?” Think about how these words reveal our self-esteem. First, these words reveal that I think that it’s normal for things to go well for me, and when they don’t go well for me, something must be wrong. Second, such a question reveals that I could/should/might/ought to have done something to avoid the problem—as if life were under my control. This is not how the saints think.” (Fr. Michael Gillis)


“…we wonder is why God allows a good person to die. Mitch Albom in his book, The Stranger in the Lifeboat says this is the wrong question. “When someone passes … people always ask, ‘Why did God take them?’ A better question would be ‘Why did God give them to us?’ What did we do to deserve their love, their joy, the sweet moments we shared?...Whereas the first thing many modern people probably would ask the newly risen Jesus is some version of “what is death like?”, the Lord offers no description of death at all. He came to destroy death, not describe it, which may be why no one in the New Testament asks Him what it is like to be dead or what death is like.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh, Mitch Albom)


“We ask the young, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The question will stay with them for a great part of their lives. Our culture concentrates on “making” something of ourselves but offers very little or nothing towards actually knowing the truth of ourselves. Perhaps this is because such truth cannot be commodified…In our culture, the million-dollar question is this: Do you know that it’s okay to be you? Think about how much healing could happen in our lives if we really believed, “It’s okay to be me.” Sadly, in our families, our close relationships, and even our marriages, the messages we hear are often very different. In various ways we are taught that being ourselves is not good enough. Part of the air we breathe in our culture is the idea that you have to be someone else before you can be worthy of love and belonging.” (Father Stephen Freeman, Robin Phillips)


“You’ve realized that instead of nagging questions about God or the afterlife, your neighbors are oriented by all sorts of longings and “projects” and quests for significance. There doesn’t seem to be anything “missing” from their lives — so you can’t just come proclaiming the good news of a Jesus who fills their “God-¬shaped hole.” They don’t have any sense that the “secular” lives they’ve constructed are missing a second floor. In many ways, they have constructed webs of meaning that provide almost all the significance they need in their lives (though a lot hinges on that “almost”). It seems that many have managed to construct a world of significance that isn’t at all bothered by questions of the divine — though that world might still be haunted in some ways, haunted by that “almost.” Your neighbors inhabit…an “immanent frame”; they are no longer bothered by “the God question” as a question because they are devotees of “exclusive humanism” — a way of being-¬in-¬the-¬world that offers significance without transcendence. They don’t feel like anything is missing.” (James K.A. Smith, Charles Taylor)


#FatherStephenFreeman #FrMichaelGillis #FrTedBobosh #MitchAlbom #RobinPhillips #JamesKASmith #CharlesTaylor #FrJohnAbdalah #FrVladimirBerzonsky #SacramentalLivingMinistries


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