My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
ADVICE TO ORTHODOX COLLEGE STUDENTS
by Abbot Tryphon
The summer months are coming to a close, and many young people will be facing the prospect of heading off to college, some for the very first time. A Scripture passage comes to mind: "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves" (St. Matthew 10:16).
College professors almost universally enjoy challenging students to question authority, yet are taken back when their own authority is questioned. They know they are addressing a class of impressionable minds and almost make sport of attacking the positions of their students.
My advice to Orthodox Christian students is to refuse to be intimidated or discouraged. Most of these professors took years to acquire the knowledge and skill to successfully defend their belief system, or lack thereof, including atheism. Their pattern of teaching is nothing new, for there have been antagonists like them from before recorded history. Furthermore, their arguments are nothing new. They may be new to you, but suffice it to know these challenges to your faith have answered by a great many apologists since the beginning of Christianity. The best advice I can offer the young Orthodox Christian heading off to college is this: The professor is a better debater than you, so don't place yourself in his scope. If you do, expect to be blown out of the water. Secondly, don't be embarrassed by your commitment to your Orthodox Christian faith. Most students secretly wish to find a spiritual basis for the meaning of life. They may secretly envy you for your faith. My final advice is, "walk...with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love" (Ephesians 4:1, 2).
Build a support system for yourself by gathering together with other college students to form a chapter of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF). Meet on a weekly basis for worship, study, and networking. Get to know your faith to the degree that you can stand up to the best of them when defending your beliefs. If you do, you may one day be the reason an atheist professor finds Christ and becomes an Orthodox Christian. (Source: The Morning Offering by Abbot Tryphon)
Prayer of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow:
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Lord, I know not what to ask of You. You alone know what my true needs are. You love me more than I myself know how to love. Help me to see my real needs which may be hidden from me. I dare not ask for either a cross or a consolation. I can only wait upon You; my heart is open to You. Visit and help me in Your steadfast love. Strike me and heal me; cast me down and raise me up. I worship in silence Your Holy Will. I offer myself to You as a living sacrifice. I put all my trust in You. I have no other desire than to fulfill Your will. Teach me to pray. Pray Yourself in me. Amen.
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God