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Spiritual crisis, East? West? #411810 06/07/15 05:06 PM
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jova Offline OP
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I believe this is the right subforum for this question. It is actually, a second and deeper crisis, since I made the decision over a year ago to slide from Roman Catholic to Eastern Catholic. I was seriously considering Eastern Orthodox, however. So much that ties with that priest and the parish have me doubting I chose the right place, given my deep spirituality. My current parish is busy, busy, busy, and I am a quiet, contemplative type. There is no deep study of scripture or opportunities for spiritual growth and as a 'different' voice I am finding backs turning on me. For example, I dissented on spending tens of thousands on electronic signage. The sign is up, and I am viewed as an opstacle hindering future 'progress', when I see it all as regress.

Thanks for listening. In my perfect world I would not have to choose, but just be.

Re: Spiritual crisis, East? West? [Re: jova] #411816 06/07/15 08:58 PM
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theophan Online Content
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jova:

Glory be to Jesus Christ!!

There is a story in The Desert Fathers about a man who goes to a monastery and tells the abba that he is a spiritual man. So he is put into a cell, given a psalter, taught how to chant the psalms, and left alone. After a long day, the man gets hungry and wonders why he hasn't been called to a meal. He seeks out the abba and asks if the monks are not eating that day only to learn that they are. But, the abba explains, he did not call the him because he thought that, as a spiritual man, he did not have a need for earthly nourishment, just the spiritual nourishment that he had given him.

There is another saying that comes from the same source. "A virtue that is made a show of is soon lost"--meaning that the
Enemy tempts a man to become proud and his deep spirituality becomes empty. The Lord moves an eternity of distance from such a one. Spiritual exercises, as St. Seraphim of Sarov points out, are means to obtain the Holy Spirit of God; they are not ends in themselves.

If I may give you a word of advice, one is known for his "deep spirituality" by the way one lives his life, not be the outward exercises he does. And further, one's spiritual depth should be as one's prayer--a secret veiled by humility. No one is a spiritual man unless he comes to the point where he sees himself as nothing, as the least of all in the parish, and the servant of all.

Going back to your spiritual home, it may be well to become the friend and supporter of all, including in the things that seem earthly but that are necessary to keep a parish going. Otherwise it might be well to move on and start over fresh with a new attitude.

We are not spiritual beings imprisoned in a body. We are a wonderful creation of both flesh and spirit and we live in a fallen, yet redeemed world. So if the necessary things needed to function in this world are a hindrance, it might be well to consider a withdrawal to monastic life. But all these things need to be done with the advice of a priest and/or spiritual father who can assess your situation and give sound advice. Christianity is not a do-it-yourself project. In the meantime, we in the secular world are called to sanctify each and every thing we do--even things that seem mundane and unworthy of deeply spiritual people.

Bob

Re: Spiritual crisis, East? West? [Re: jova] #411826 06/08/15 08:31 AM
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Peter J Offline
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Hi jova. You mentioned that your parish is busy busy busy, but what about other nearby parishes? In my experience, a large proportion of parishes are pretty unbusy or non-busy.

Re: Spiritual crisis, East? West? [Re: jova] #411834 06/08/15 10:13 AM
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jova Offline OP
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I do see myself as nothing, I have been in this spiritual crisis for about 5 years. It has to be my pride in remaining 'Catholic' that I am suffering.

I have no priest/spiritual father to talk to except the Holy Spirit and the Orthodox priest, who has the time to talk and challenge. I believe the last challenge I chose wrongly, I chose to keep Pope Francis. Because for a year now, I have been slowly dying amidst the busyness.

Re: Spiritual crisis, East? West? [Re: jova] #411860 06/08/15 09:06 PM
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Orthodox Catholic Offline
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Dear Friend in Christ,

I too, as an Eastern Catholic, have had the experience of becoming very close to an Orthodox priest - even to the point of wanting to become Orthodox because of the inspiration and comfort I found in him.

Alice the Moderator here has had a similar influence on me - I could see myself becoming Orthodox to imitate her Christian example (yes, I do get on her nerves at times - but I think she knows I'm a hapless idiot).

And then there's Recluse who never goes half-way on anything. When he makes a commitment, it's all the way. Again, an inspirational example.

Spiritual discomfort is never easy - am going through some right now myself.

Changing one's Church is not going to make the suffering go away.

We should just be grateful for the examples of those we are in contact with to help pull us through.

And we will pull through, even though the light at the end of the tunnel seems very distant and dim.

Alex

Last edited by Orthodox Catholic; 06/08/15 09:08 PM.
Re: Spiritual crisis, East? West? [Re: Orthodox Catholic] #411885 06/09/15 02:56 PM
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jova Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic


Changing one's Church is not going to make the suffering go away.

We should just be grateful for the examples of those we are in contact with to help pull us through.

Alex


I thought and hoped it would, and you are right, I am very grateful for the faithful who are examples for me. Thank you.

Re: Spiritual crisis, East? West? [Re: jova] #411893 06/09/15 07:55 PM
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desertman Offline
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Jova,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I've struggled with similar feelings in the past and I highly recommend this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Way-Ascetics-Ancient-Tradition-Discipline/dp/0881410497

It's full of practical advice about living the spiritual life amidst the busy world. One of the messages in the book is that the truly humble person cannot be disturbed by external situations because they're too busy with their own repentance. If they see themselves as the worst sinner and everyone around them as being better than themselves, then nothing can scandalize them. This helped me immensely years ago when I found myself constantly irritated and annoyed by things going on during mass. In my case, I discovered that I was having those feelings/thoughts because of the hidden pride within me. Anyway, it's a short book, but it's the real deal.

Another quote I remember reading from St. Ignatius Brianchaninov about this same topic was something like (I'm paraphrasing):

"The scandal lies within you! Only within you!"

Hope this helps!

And by the way, I really need to reread this book myself because I've recently fallen even further into pride than ever before.

Last edited by desertman; 06/09/15 08:03 PM.

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