By: Hieromonk James Deschene (Abbot of Christminster in Canada)
To live an authentic Orthodox spiritual life, one must be faithful to the basics: daily prayer, the sacraments, the ascetical disciplines of fasting, abstinence and almsgiving, and feeding the mind and heart with holy reading. All of this must be done within the context of a lively and faithful church life and under the guidance of one’s spiritual father or confessor. The essence of becoming holy is learning to become totally open to and submissive to God, utterly malleable to His will and His wise and gentle moulding of us into the saints He has created us to be. There are no gimmicks or shortcuts to this end – only the patient struggle each day to lay aside sin and all that keeps us from God, who is the true and only source of our joy and who seeks nothing more than to give us the fulness of His joy. But regrettably, we have so many ways of blocking and refusing His gift. We need His help even to stop resisting His help – that’s how messed-up we are. But God is good and full of mercy and loves us unfailingly. It is such foolishness to resist such goodness, but there you are – we’re fools!