Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bright Wednesday: On the Spiritual Life


What follows is my translation of a word for Bright Week by Bishop Mefody of Campanie (+1974):
The Great Fast reveals our sores.

There are personal sores and the sores of many. Among them one notices impoverishment of faith, spiritual dryness, insipidity. This is a serious and dangerous condition in our spiritual lives. Its cause is, to a large degree, our own carelessness.

Imagine a garden deprived of sunlight, that is not watered or cared for. You know that nothing will grow in it, that it will wither and die.

Imagine someone who refuses food: he will fall ill of exhaustion and die.

The same thing happens with our spiritual condition. We do not nourish ourselves spiritually: we do not pray, or we pray poorly; we either read the Gospel poorly, or we do not read it at all; we go to church rarely; we do not read spiritual books and do not attend spiritual talks. In a word, we do not nourish ourselves spiritually. Therefore we become spiritually depleted, grow weak, and die.

Now that Great Lent has given us spiritual encouragement, we need to try not to lose this, we need to work at least a little bit for our own spiritual nourishment. If we could only accustom ourselves to praying daily, just as we eat daily; if we could only accustom ourselves to read at least a few verses of Holy Scripture daily, just as we read the paper daily. If only we could not be lazy in going to church, and contemplate the spiritual life at least a little bit, striving to implement it. Then there would probably be less spiritual dryness and emptiness.

Another circumstance in our spiritual lives, apart from spiritual nourishment, is sin. Sin is a murk that separates us from the Lord, darkening our spiritual life. Moreover, sin is the root of the evil we cast into the world. This evil often bears horrible fruit even in our personal lives. Sin sometimes appears attractive, almost like a good. In such cases we especially need to be guided by the clear indications of the Word of God and the instructions of our spiritual fathers.

A serious attitude towards life demands of us a more serious and responsible attitude towards our personal spiritual lives.

Having been found worthy of meeting the joyful Feast of Pascha, let us not shy away from our responsibility for our own personal spiritual lives. And may the words “thou shalt not,” according to God’s commandments, protect us from sin.

Only then will there be less spiritual darkness and all personal and general evil.

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