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Author Topic: Encouragement: The Soul in Darkness  (Read 758 times) Average Rating: 0
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Catherine
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« on: August 19, 2009, 10:20:44 PM »

Sayings of an Orthodox Christian Father on spiritual aridity
BY: Saint Isaac the Syrian

At times our soul is suffocated and is, as it were, amid the waves; and whether a man reads in the Scriptures, or performs his liturgy, or approaches anything whatever, he receives darkness upon darkness. He leaves off [prayer] and cannot even draw nigh to it. He is wholly unable to believe that a change will occur and that he will be at peace. This hour is full of despair and fear; hope in God and the consolation of faith are utterly extinguished from his soul, and she is wholly and entirely filled with doubt and fear.
Those who have been tried by the mighty waves of this dark hour know from experience the change that follows upon its completion. God does not leave the soul in these things an entire day, for otherwise she would perish, being estranged from the Christian hope; but he speedily provides her with an "escape" (1 Cor 10.13). But even if the oppression of this darkness should be prolonged, you should expect that a change to the better will proceed swiftly out of the midst of it.

I admonish and counsel you, O man, if you do not have the strength to master yourself and to fall upon your face in prayer, then wrap your head in your cloak and sleep until this hour of darkness pass from you, but do not leave your dwelling. This trial befalls those especially who desire to pass their life in the noetic discipline, and who throughout their journey seek the consolation of faith. For this reason their greatest pain and travail is the dark hour when their mind wavers with doubt. And blasphemy follows hard upon this. Sometimes a man is seized by doubts in the resurrection, and by other things whereof we have no need to speak. Many times we have experienced all these things, and we have written of this struggle for the comfort of many.

Blessed is he who patiently endures these things within the doors [of his cell]! Afterward, as the Fathers say, he will attain to a magnificent and enduring dwelling. This struggle, however, does not cease immediately, nor in an hour; nor does grace come once and for all and dwell in the soul, but little by little of one and the other: sometimes trial, sometimes consolation. A man continues in these things until his departure. In this life we should not expect to receive perfect freedom from this struggle, nor to receive perfect consolation. For thus is God pleased to govern our life here: that those who journey in the way should be in the midst of these things. To him be glory unto the ages of ages. Amen. (St Isaac the Syrian, Homilies 50, in The Ascetical Hom-ilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian, pp 241-42)
« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 10:21:25 PM by Catherine » Logged
Myrrh23
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2009, 10:30:31 PM »

Is this from the book The Orthodox Prayer Life: The Interior Way? I need all the help I can get from Orthodox sources like this. I have many bad habits to break... Sad Embarrassed

Thanks for posting, Catherine! Smiley
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We all have a Black Dog and a White Dog inside of us. The One you feed the most eventually eats the Other.

All are tempted, but it is the courageous person who clings to God during the storm. For the Ego is a prison, but Christ is the Liberator
Catherine
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2009, 07:40:41 PM »


Confession:
 
http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2003/09/The-Soul-In-Darkness.aspx

I need all the help I can get from Orthodox sources like this. I have many bad habits to break... Sad Embarrassed


Same here... These were the words I needed to hear, a few days ago.

God Bless, Myrrh. You are in my prayers.
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ma2000
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Saint Anthony The Great


« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2009, 08:16:47 AM »

What helped me a bit in my darkest hours was the translation of this book:
Conquering Depression: Heavenly Wisdom from God Illumined Teachers
by St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood

There are a few things that helped me a lot lately and I'll post them soon.
Hope you find them useful.
God bless!
« Last Edit: August 23, 2009, 08:17:50 AM by ma2000 » Logged

Asemănându-te obiceiurilor râvnitorului Ilie şi urmând Botezătorului pe drepte cărări, Părinte Antonie, te-ai făcut locuitor pustiului şi ai întărit lumea cu rugăciunile tale. Pentru aceasta, roagă-te lui Hristos Dumnezeu, să mântuiască sufletele noastre.
Myrrh23
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2009, 10:56:33 AM »


Confession:
 
http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2003/09/The-Soul-In-Darkness.aspx

I need all the help I can get from Orthodox sources like this. I have many bad habits to break... Sad Embarrassed


Same here... These were the words I needed to hear, a few days ago.

God Bless, Myrrh. You are in my prayers.

Thanks, Catherine! I'm glad you registered--you have a lot of good to add here. Smiley
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We all have a Black Dog and a White Dog inside of us. The One you feed the most eventually eats the Other.

All are tempted, but it is the courageous person who clings to God during the storm. For the Ego is a prison, but Christ is the Liberator
Catherine
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2009, 04:33:27 AM »

Thank you, ma2000!

you have a lot of good to add here. Smiley

Give it time -your views will definitely change. :-)

-----------

Elder Ephraim on Trials & Temptations

God allows temptations so that they might rouse us to remember Him. When we call upon Him, He acts as though He does not hear us so that we multiply our supplications and cry out His holy name. Then, through pain of the entreaties, our heart is sanctified, and through experience we learn the weakness of our lame nature. And thus we realize in practice that without God’s help we are not able to do anything.

This deep experience is acquired with the blood of the heart and remains indelible; it becomes a foundation for the remainder of one’s life. The grace of God leaves and comes again, but experience never leaves, because it has been branded within the heart. And no matter how much Satan praises the heart, it points to what is indelibly written within its depths, that without God it is impossible to do anything.
If there were no temptations, pride and other passions would have turned us into other Lucifers. But our good Father, God, allows afflictions to come upon us so that we may be guarded by humility, which will lighten the burden of our sins.

When we are still in our youth, we must be tempted, for youth is easily derailed. In time the war will cease and the desired peace will come. Just have courage and patience. Do not despair, no matter how much the passions may fight you. God loves one who is fought against and fights back.
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Catherine
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2009, 04:34:13 AM »

"Don't worry too much about how spiritually poor you are - God sees that, but for you it is expected to trust in God and pray to Him as best you can, never to fall into despair and to struggle according to your strength. If you ever begin to think you are spiritually "well off" then you can know for sure that you aren't. True spiritual life,even on the most elementary level, is always accompanied by suffering and difficulties.

Father Seraphim Rose
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Catherine
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2009, 04:35:00 AM »

Encouraging Bible Verses:

Psalm 25:16-18:  Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged. Bring me out of my distresses. Look upon my afflictions and my trouble, and forgive my sins.

Psalms 31:9:   O' Lord have mercy on me in my anguish. My eyes are red from weeping; my health is broken from sorrow.

Psalm 126:5: Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.     

Psalm 30:5: Tears may flow in the night, but joy comes in the morning.       


Psalms 147:3: He heals the broken heartened, binding up their wounds.

John 14:18:  No, I will not abandon you or leave you as orphans in the storm-I will come to you.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)


Blessed is a man who perseveres under trials; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)


Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:28-31)


The Lord your God is with you; his power gives you victory.  The Lord will take delight in you, and in his love he will give you new life.  Zephaniah 3:17   

...God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.  1 Cor. 10:13

I have come in order that you might have life, life in all it’s fullness.    John 10:10   

Base your happiness on your hope in Christ.  When trials come, endure them patiently; steadfastly maintain the habit of prayer.    Romans 12:12

John 16:33:  I have told you these things so that you will have peace of heart and mind, Here on earth you will
  have many trials and sorrows, but cheer up, for I have overcome the world

2Thessalonians 2:16+17:  May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us
  and given us everlasting  comfort and hope which we don't deserve, comfort your hearts with all
   comfort, and help you in every good thing you say and do.

Isaiah 49:13:  For the Lord hath comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted.   

Corinthians1:3-4:  What a wonderful God we have-He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy,
  and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.And why does He
  And why does He doe this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement,
  we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.    Psalm 34:18

I waited patiently for the Lord;  he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.   Psalm 40:1-2   

Why am I so sad?  Why am I so troubled?  I will put my hope in God, and once again I will praise him, my savior and my God.   Psalm 42:11   

Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.  He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases; he redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with love and compassion.  He satisfies my desires with good things, so that my youth is renewed like the eagles.  Psalm 103:1-5
 

 
 
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