EXPLORATIONS IN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY
By: The Reverend Mother Myrella LeClair
What is Orthodox Christian Spirituality? What are the essential foundations of Orthodox Christian Spirituality? How do I live a life attuned to God? These are just a few of the questions that will be addressed on this page as we travel the spiritual pathway toward living life in communion with God.
PEACE and JOY
In the four or so weeks before Christmas and then shortly after Christmas, we await and then celebrate the birth of Our Savior. For a brief time - even if only for an instant -- we have "blessed hope" that Peace and Joy will enter our hearts and minds. We extend blessings of love and forgiveness to one another.
Yet, we lose hope once again and with it, our inner peace. We seem to pack Christ away with the decorations as if He was only another symbol of the holiday season rather the "reason for the season". Christ is not a symbol -- He is the "Way, the Truth, and the Life", incarnate so as to lead us home and teach us that we are the beloved children of God -- a Father who loves us so much that He "Himself will wipe away every tear" (Rev. 21:4).
How then do we maintain that inner peace? St. Theophan the Recluse in The Spiritual Life (Chapter 43) instructs us how to follow the spiritual pathway to inner peace. He says that we suffer an "inner disorder and confusion" and that we must destroy this inner disorder. First, we turn our attention toward the inward confusion and then "arm yourself with the necessary zeal against it." From that point on, we must "establish a firm intention to work for the Lord and belong to Him alone."
"There is a disorder within.... You must destroy it.... Begin by directly removing the cause of all of this disorder. The cause of the disorder is that our spirit has lost its original foundation. Its foundation is in God. The spirit gets back to it again through remembrance of God. It is necessary to get in the habit of unceasing remembrance of God....Be with the Lord, no matter what you do; and turn to Him with your whole mind.... Reverential attention in the one God will be established, and inner peace will come with Him...."
Let us not lose the Peace and Joy that the birth of Christ brings to us; rather, let us seek to keep that peace every moment of the year. It will take effort, but God Himself will help us if we ask. The Peace of God be with you!