• Comfort, Convenience and Satiety
  • Monasticism and the Local Church
  • Expectations and Desires of Life in a Parish

Comfort, Convenience and Satiety

“There is a certain opinion in the air,” Fr. Seraphim related, “that of course, when you come to church you must be warm, because you cannot think about church services and prepare yourself for Communion when you have to think about cold feet. People tell us this. 'It's a great drawback,' they say. 'You cannot go and have cold feet and expect any spirituality to come out.' This happens to be an opinion, and its totally off. The Holy Fathers have been living throughout the centuries in all kinds of conditions; and, though there is no deliberate plot of torturing oneself with cold feet – still, this is something which helps to make one a little more sober about the spiritual life, perhaps helps one to appreciate what one has, and not just take for granted that one is going to be comfortable and cozy and that's it.” (p. 453-454)


Monasticism and the Local Church

As Fr. Seraphim wrote... “It is precisely the monastic services which are taken as the standard of the Church's life of worship, because monasticism itself most clearly expresses the ideal towards which the whole believing Church strives. The condition of monasticism at any given time is ordinarily one of the best indicators of the spiritual condition of the whole Church, or of any Local church; and similarly, the degree to which the local parishes in the world strive toward the ideal of monastic services is the best indicator of the condition of the Divine worship which is conducted in them.” (p. 473)


Expectations and Desires of Life in a Parish

“...if one learns to be realistic and does not expect from lay community as much as one does of a monastic community, this also is a possibility for our days – and actually a very important one. Life in an ordinary Orthodox parish today, in the abnormal big-city atmosphere and surrounded by unheard-of temptations – is not normal for Orthodoxy. We know a very zealous priest in New Jersey, with a very large flock and many young people. But he tells us that he is fighting losing battle. He has the young people in the church for a few hours on Sunday, and perhaps on Saturday night, and for an hour or two of church school on Saturday – and the whole rest of the week they are subject to the contrary influences of the public schools, television, etc. The desire to have an atmosphere where the Church can have more part in life and more influence on children – is a very natural Orthodox desire, and not something 'odd' or a sign of 'prelest,' as many seem to think.” (p. 484)



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