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Author Topic: A simple faith  (Read 842 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ortho_cat
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« on: October 27, 2009, 01:45:19 AM »

I envy my mom's simple faith, I really do. When I read in the bible about receiving the kingdom of God as a little child, I think of her. Lately, I have been reading lots and lots of books about Orthodoxy. The more and more I read, however, the more I feel myself drifting away from the simple faith that I see in my mother.  She prays to Jesus, and she feels Him there with her, and she trusts in Him with her whole heart. For her, that's all she needs. She doesn't contemplate how Christ's human nature is joined with His divine nature, nor does she know anything about Church history. Although I've been accumulating this great wealth of knowledge, and while it all makes sense to me, I feel like i'm missing the big picture.  So my question to you all is this: is a "simple faith" possible within Orthodoxy, and what would such a faith be like?  How are we to "receive the kingdom like a little child"? (Mk. 10:15)
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 01:47:54 AM by Ortho_cat » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2009, 01:54:13 AM »

I envy my mom's simple faith, I really do. When I read in the bible about receiving the kingdom of God as a little child, I think of her. Lately, I have been reading lots and lots of books about Orthodoxy. The more and more I read, however, the more  I feel myself drifting away from the simple faith that I see in my mother.  She prays to Jesus, and she feels Him there with her, and she trusts Him with her whole heart. For her, that's all she needs. She doesn't contemplate how Christ's human nature is joined with His divine nature, nor does she know anything about Church history. Although I've been accumulating this great wealth of knowledge, and while it all makes sense to me, I feel like i'm missing the big picture.  So my question to you all is this: is a "simple faith" possible within Orthodoxy, and what would such a faith be like?  How are we to "receive the kingdom like a little child"?

Most Orthodox have the simple faith you seek; and after you have completed your shift in paradigm you probably will, too. How many of us comtemplate such things as Christ's nature on a regular basis? We read enough to be convinced, but then we move onto actually living the faith. Study has its point, but don't allow yourself to become too enmeshed in the intellectual persuits of theology, rather than the doing.
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2009, 02:00:06 AM »

Just thank God that you have a mother who so wonderfully demonstrates the essence of authentic Christian faith.


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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2009, 06:03:55 AM »

You might enjoy this excerpt from the biography of Fr. Seraphim Rose: Simplicity - Chapter 87 from Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2009, 09:32:16 AM »

Sometimes knowledge, or perhaps study or the pursuit of knowledge, can be a delaying tactic. In retrospect, I can see that it was for me. Because I knew in my heart that Orthodoxy would change everything, I put it off as long as I could, covering up my laziness and procrastination with books and study.

Not that this applies to you, of course, just my own personal experience.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 09:33:09 AM by katherineofdixie » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2009, 09:44:28 AM »

There is a beautiful account of Simplicity in the :"Athonite Gerontikon".
There was a monk on the Holy Mountain who lived in a little cell dedicated to St. Paraskevi and he kept a lamp lit in front of her Icon at all times. Because his cell was in the wilderness on the peninsular, he acquired a kitten to deal with the snakes. One day, an Eagle flew down and grabbed the kitten in its talons and flew off with it. The monk went over to the Icon of St. Paraskevi and blew out the lamp and said: "I have kept your lamp lit day and night, couldn't didn't you have protected the kitten?" The Eagle immediately flew back and dropped the kitten in front of him unharmed, so the monk lit the Saint's lamp again.
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2009, 10:16:06 AM »

There's a Greek saying about priests: The rasso does not make a priest.

For Western inquirers/converts, the saying should be: Reading books does not make a Christian.
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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2009, 10:24:58 AM »

I envy my mom's simple faith, I really do. When I read in the bible about receiving the kingdom of God as a little child, I think of her. Lately, I have been reading lots and lots of books about Orthodoxy. The more and more I read, however, the more I feel myself drifting away from the simple faith that I see in my mother.  She prays to Jesus, and she feels Him there with her, and she trusts in Him with her whole heart. For her, that's all she needs. She doesn't contemplate how Christ's human nature is joined with His divine nature, nor does she know anything about Church history. Although I've been accumulating this great wealth of knowledge, and while it all makes sense to me, I feel like i'm missing the big picture.  So my question to you all is this: is a "simple faith" possible within Orthodoxy, and what would such a faith be like?  How are we to "receive the kingdom like a little child"? (Mk. 10:15)

Not only possible, but the norm in Orthodoxy.  Grandmas (sitti/yaya/babushky/mamaii/whatever) don't worry about foolish things like hypostasis, ousia, etc.  Read the Desert Fathers, and see how simple profundity can be.
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« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2009, 10:42:16 AM »

A Bishop I know told me the sweetest story: a yiayia in the parish he served as a young priest had an icon of Christ by the front door. Whenever she went out, she would kiss the icon and tell it, "All right, dear Christouli, you watch over the house while I am gone!"

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« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2009, 11:19:27 AM »

I myself feel the same way as the OP. I am an avid reader and tend to devour books. However, I am trying to commit myself to reading the lives of the saints and the faithful such as Fr. Arseny. I pray that the Lord will strengthen me to have the "simple faith" of a poor peasant despite intellectual curiosity and interest in theology.

Here are a couple of quotes I feel are very relevant to this topic:

Quote
How much our American Orthodoxy needs MORE HEART and not so much mind! I don't know any answer for it, except MORE PRAYER and basic education in ORTHODOX SOURCES.

Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim Rose, "Letters"

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Theology without action is the theology of demons.

St. Maximos the Confessor

Quote
Discussion of theology is not for everyone, I tell you, not for everyone — it is no such inexpensive and effortless pursuit...It must be reserved for certain occasions, for certain audiences, and certain limits must be observed. It is not for all men, but only for those who have been tested and have found a sound footing in study, and, more importantly, have undergone, or at the very least are undergoing, purification of body and soul.

St. Gregory Nazianzen
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« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2009, 11:53:31 AM »

I also wish simple faith were more achievable. Sometimes I can simply be overwhelmed with gratitude and feel direct in contact with God, but never when I try to do so. In the last week I had a period of feeling very unsure of my faith (it came back  Smiley ), and it makes me aware of how hard it is to simply believe without intellectualizing something not amenable to proof. It's like trying to describe the appearance of an object you can only see out of the corner of your eye - and the temptation to turn and look at it full-on is huge, but with God, you can't do that, you just have to accept the glimpsed version.

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« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2009, 11:58:52 AM »

I love when I am moved by the beauty that God has put in his creation and  how it is a symphony that resounds to his glory. When God allows me to experience this I know he is givning me a taste of the simple faith.
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« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2009, 01:14:45 PM »

I see this simple faith in many of my students, especially African American female students from poor "backwater" counties, whose families obviously struggle with poverty.
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