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“My experience has been that it is what I did with the time prior to any trial or suffering I faced that prepared me for it. The routine of daily prayer, Bible study, faithfully going to church, all of which did not always feel inspiring, and even mundane and repetitive sometimes, is what enabled me to withstand the fiery storms and trials and grow from them. Not that it was easy, nor did I fully realize how prepared I was while these sufferings were happening. But coming through them both whole and transformed gave me a retrospective understanding that God was with me and guiding me even when I was failing and flailing miserably. And the perception of Him I did have during the trials, albeit very limited at times, was just enough to help me endure.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“Christian teachers have emphasized that growing in maturity involves becoming attuned to the spiritual realities that underlie the commonplace, from our family relationships to our daily routine, from our inner thoughts to our deepest desires, from our lying down to our waking up. God is part of all these experiences, yet often we fail to perceive His presence until our eyes are opened.” (Robin Phillips)

“…dispositions and habits can be inscribed in our unconscious if we regularly repeat routines and rituals that we fail to recognize as formative “practices.” If you think of love-shaping practices as “liturgies,” this means you could be worshiping other gods without even knowing it. This reductionistic view of the human person is then mirrored by a failure to see cultural practices as liturgies—as habit-forming, love-shaping rituals that get hold of our hearts and aim our loves…in the formation of your loves is your religious and spiritual identity, which is manifested not only in what you think or what you believe but in what you do—and what those practices do to you…We become what we worship because what we worship is what we love.” (James Smith)

“In our society, changes continually interrupt the comfort of our routine. We prepare for them as best we can. But the scriptures are concerned about two things that need our urgent preparation. The first is the sudden return of the Lord in glory. The second is the likelihood that we will be called to stand up for our faith and even to face trials that will test our inner strength. The best preparation is “watchfulness” that comes from constant prayer. By continual prayer, we grow so strong in faith and love that we are ready to greet the Lord when He appears as Lord and Judge. Moreover, we will be able to withstand any and all evil that might come upon us.” (Fr. Basil)

“To guard a nation against attack requires constant surveillance and early detection. The armed forces of our nation remain ready for deployment at any time, but without the gathering of intelligence such preparedness is of little value. The same is true of our life in Christ. Prayer, worship, and the sacraments help us but little unless we are trained in the use of these spiritual weapons, employ them regularly, and stay aware of developments around us.” (Dynamis 6/2/2020)

“…if we can learn to live with low expectations…then the number and intensity of the temptations in our life will dramatically decrease…However, low expectations of ourselves and of our experience in this world are only helpful if we have high expectations of God. When we look to God to be our help and to save us, then difficult times will no longer be trials, a diminution of the smooth sailing that most people expect their life to be; but rather the bumps and failures and difficulties of life will be nothing more than just life, life for a sinner in a fallen world. Moreover, every difficulty will for us be yet another opportunity to draw near to God to be saved, another chance for “patience to have its perfect work” in us (as St. James puts it in his epistle).” (Fr. Michael Gillis)

“Spiritual joy goes together with spiritual suffering. It is wrong to think that joy comes only at the end when the suffering is over. Joy in Christ goes together with suffering in Christ. They co-exist and are dependent on each other for their power and strength. As blessed mourning over sin is the mourning that comes with the joy of salvation, so suffering in the flesh, in this world, is consonant with—and in a real sense is even caused by—the unspeakable joy of salvation. Thus Saint James can say that Christians should “count it all joy” when they “meet various trials,” knowing that the “full effect” of their steadfast faith is that they may be “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (Jas 1.2–3).” (Father Thomas Hopko)

“If you take God as your hope, He will be your help in the time of your anguish; “for anyone who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who search for him” [Heb 11:6]. These words were written for us, that we may believe in God and do battle, great and little, by fastings, prayers and other religious practices…“joyfully put up with every trial. For if you knew the honor that results from trials you would not pray to be delivered from them, because it is preferable for you to pray, to weep and to sigh until you are saved, rather than to relax and be led off a captive.” (St. Pachomius)

“Paul admits that he has great anxiety for the churches in the religion of Colossae. He is worried that false teachers will lead the believers away from their faith in Christ But note that Paul does not pray that the deceivers will suddenly disappear. Nor does the Apostle pray that the believers will find arguments to refute their tempters. Paul only prays for the faithful to be encouraged amid this temptation. You see, the trials of their souls allowed them to grow in their faith: to love one another more closely, to believe more confidently, and to understand more deeply.” (Fr. Basil)

“There was a time in my life when my first reaction to any trial, temptation, and suffering was to pray to be delivered from it ASAP. Then my reaction changed. I still pray for deliverance, but I also pray for God to open my heart and grant me understanding of what He is trying to teach me through any of these struggles, and to submit to His will and timing in all things. I also pray to see the bigger picture beyond just myself of what the Lord is accomplishing for me and others. It’s not easy but it is in alignment to truth. If nothing happens apart from God’s will, then He can take anything that happens to us in life and use it for our growth and salvation. So rather than strictly pray from a position of total control, I found it better to surrender my false sense of complete control, still be rationale in seeking not to struggle and suffer, but also be faithful and trust God is with me amidst the storm.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

#FrMichaelGillis #FatherThomasHopko #StPachomius #FrBasil #SacramentalLivingMinistries #RobinPhillips #JamesSmith #Dynamis

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