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“When we assume…that our well-being depends on ourselves or our circumstances rather than on God, then we become constantly vigilant to potential threats to our social and emotional well-being. Like an animal that continually shifts its focus while quickly scanning the environment for threats, our brain scans our experience for actual or potential problems. Then, as soon as we find a problem, we fixate on it…Part of the solution to these survival-based ruminations is to begin to actually believe that God is competent to take care of us (Matt. 6:25–34). If we truly believe that the hard providences of life are orchestrated for our spiritual benefit (Rom. 8:28), then we can relax in the Lord’s protective arms.” (Robin Phillips)

“A believer once became so despondent that he abandoned his faith. It was winter, and He sunk into the depths of despair. But when spring came, and the trees began to bud, he realized what he was missing. But how was he to recover the trust in God that he had set aside? He confessed his loss of faith to his priest. The priest offered a directive. “Go back,” he said, “Revisit each thing that led you to despair. And then thank God for every struggle, every disappointment, and every letdown. Consider them to be the ‘chastening’ of the Lord to correct you. Let these times of discipline assure you of your Father’s love” (Hebrews 12:7-11). There in your gratitude to God for your trials, you will find the faith that you threw aside.” (Fr. Basil)

“It is sometimes better to be the younger son [Prodigal Son] starving in the pig pen than the elder son who, though outwardly abiding in the Father’s House, does not truly love Him. It is oftentimes easier to “come to ourselves” amidst the misery and emptiness of the world than under a false veneer of piety. Because it is only by realizing we have wandered that we have any hope of beginning the long road home. It is only by experiencing the pain hiding beneath our pleasures that we can come to choose the path of escape. Sometimes, to taste the bitterness of the world we ourselves have poisoned is the only medicine that can cure us.” (Hieromonk Gabriel)

“It is also good to remember the great tribulations of the human life, so that the hardened and insensitive soul is softened and comes to a realization of its own state.”(St. Dorotheos of Gaza)

“We begin loving the world less in order to love God and His Kingdom more clearly and truly. In this context we begin ‘hating’ the world, including our families and parents as we come to understand their value is transient not eternal. Once we see the world not as an ultimate value, but a very temporal one, we can again form a rightful bond with it, realizing it has its place in God’s Kingdom, but can at times cause us to turn away from that Kingdom, like a shiny, distracting object. When we realize its proper and limited place, then we can love it appropriately. Then we realize that everyone in our lives is part of the world God is saving and transfiguring, and we come to love it all in its saved state which is now part of our life. We come to love everything because of its connection to our Creator and Savior. Our hearts begin to expand as we realize that what is worth loving on earth is that which becomes part of the eternal Kingdom of God. Our love expands towards eternity as we properly love all in our hearts.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)


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