Prayer as an Important Aspect of our Spiritual Life (Part III)

Compressing lengthy, beautiful and comprehensive homilies of Saint John Chrysostomos on prayer, we offer the following salient points to help the praying person. Prayer must be a systematic and regular practice in our life, with a pious and reverent stance, and with absolute attention. To pray as we should, with the reverence appropriate to conversation with God, we should be aware of the great benefit of prayer, independently of knowing whether there have been specific responses. The person whose prayer is truly a conversation with God is transformed into an earthly angel.

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July 17-Saint Marina

Born in Pisidian Antioch of pagan parents, Marina only heard of the Lord Jesus at the age of twelve, of His Incarnation of the Most Pure Virgin, His many miracles, His death by crucifixion and His glorious Resurrection. Her little heart was inflamed with love for the Lord, and she vowed never to marry and, further, desired in her soul to suffer for Christ and be baptized with the blood of martyrdom. Her father hated her for her faith, and would not regard her as his daughter.

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Prayer as an Important Aspect of Our Spiritual Life (Part II)

What, after all, is the nature of prayer? Is it worth the toil, concern, and effort that goes into it?

Let us examine the words of the Holy Fathers for insight.

Saint John Chrysostomos says:

"Prayer is a harbor in the storms of life, an anchor for those who are storm tossed, the treasure of the poor, the security of the rich, the healing of the sick, the preservation of health. Prayer banishes evil things, and preserves the good."

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Prayer as an Important Aspect of our Spiritual Life

The life of prayer is one part of a much broader topic of spiritual life, in general, the life in Christ, spiritual ascension, the way to sanctification and deification (theosis). Combined with personal inner purification and a regular sacramental life, a life of prayer will help significantly in the regeneration of the faithful during this difficult period in which we live.

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Spiritual Warfare and Suffering (Part II)

Saint Silouan likewise writes, "Just as people go in and out of a house, so may thoughts proceeding from devils come and go again, if you do not accept them." The same idea is expressed by another contemporary spiritual elder (geronda) of Mount Athos, Elder (Saint) Paisios. He used to liken logismoi (evil thoughts) to airplanes that are flying by overhead in the air. If you don't give them any attention, they just keep passing by, but he said we must be careful not to build an airport in our hearts so that they can land and take residence within us. That's a nice little analogy.

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Spiritual Warfare and Suffering (Part I)

In the words of Saint Silouan--and this is the first quote on your handouts if you want to follow along-he wrote:

"I began to beseech God for forgiveness and He granted me not only forgiveness but also the Holy Spirit, and in the Holy Spirit, I knew God. The Lord remembered not my sins, and He gave me to love people, and my soul longs for the whole world to be saved and dwell in the Kingdom of Heaven."

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On Idle Talk and Gossip (Part II)

What great evil results from empty and idle conversations and gossip! Sometimes one heedlessly spoken word causes a whole storm of unpleasantness and fills the heart of the one referred to with indignation and hatred. So even a word that was not ill-intentioned, one we counted as nothing, can strike a mortal sin, just as a small spark often turns into a great fire burning whole villages. "How great a matter a little fire kindleth", says the holy Apostle James.

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The Orthodox Christian Family (Part II)

Just as an army trains soldiers to battle the enemy for the sake of the homeland, so the true family, the Orthodox Christian family, endows its children with the spiritual armor by which they can overcome temptations, battle sin, live exemplary and moral lives, gain union here on earth with God, fulfill the divine potential within man, and pass into the next life with the spiritual power to pray for family members left behind. A True Orthodox Christian family teaches love (agape) to its members-that intuitive, spontaneous love natural to blood relations, and encourages them to go out into the world sharing this love with others and perfecting it to whatever degree possible.

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