Posts Tagged With: spiritual

When We Don’t Get The Advice We Wanted

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We have all been there where we are looking to overcome our bad habits and sins. We all look for a priest who has a great solution to our problem.

One of those problems for men is often masturbation. You go to the priest, confide in him your problem. He listens as you ask for a solution to this and he responds ”Pray every day” or ”Say a rosary every day”.

Wait, what? No jumping into icy showers/baths, running up and down the stairs or drinking strange herbal teas?

That’s not the advice you were looking for was it? Yet had these difficult tasks been assigned to you, you would have done them already.

If the priest told you that the only way to eliminate masturbation once and for all was to climb some random high mountain in Tibet in the middle of winter. Upon arrival of its craggy peak, look for the ”ma choo choo leaf” and wipe your bum with it three times then crawl back down the mountain on your hands and knees carrying the weight of your Tibetan peasant guide. Half way down the mountain in the woods by the brook many bears will shall be congregated there.

Whilst silently hidden among them look for the one with only one testicle. Give it a squeeze and he shall let out a mighty roar that will scare the other bears off but will cough up a precious stone. Once you have mixed it in with your dinner that evening you will never ever feel the need to scratch that itch and masturbate again. You’d have done it wouldn’t you? You would immediately make plans to save money and make that trip.

Yet here he is… giving such a simple task of praying the rosary …and you complain. The answer to our problem is not complex so why so many complaints?

Do you know who behaved the same way? ”Naaman”  in the second book of Kings (5:1-14)who was ”the army commander to the king of Aram” did. He had leprosy and so eventually Elisha sent him word that he would have God heal him. He requested only that he bathe in the river Jordan seven times.

Naaman was not happy about this. He thought Elisha would just come and wave his hand over him and heal him instantly. He wanted to cleanse himself in some other river than the one Elisha recommended. His servants approached him and said ”My father, if the prophet had asked you to do something difficult, would you not have done it?”

It’s comical how us humans after thousands and thousands of years have not changed. When someone offers a simple solution we just refuse to accept it because we are always looking for what we want. It’s always me me me me me.

I hope you found this post entertaining, edifying and will just accept this simple advice ”to pray” that you’re given in the future.

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How To Prepare Your Child For Warfare

You may not think it, but every single Christian is a spiritual soldier engaged in warfare. Do I sound like a crazed redneck gun lover putting spin on Christianity to militarize it? Maybe I do and I do like my guns but no that’s not what I am at all.

The warfare I speak about is different. The weapons and strategies to win this war are completely different in comparison to how we would understand war to be.

In a real war such as world war II which my grandfather fought in from beginning to end (he was a british soldier) there was a lot of suffering. in the midst of all this hell there was also moments of peace. People preferred those moments over and above the necessary killing and warfare that ensued such beautiful moments.

It is the same in the world. The world is a battle ground and whilst it has it’s beauty and peaceful moments our goal really isn’t to make earth our home and bed down for the night. Our final resolution is to work out our own salvation and lay down the blueprint that will see us get out of here alive and well.

In this fight to save our souls and others there will be more suffering than peaceful moments I guarantee you that. Take a look at the apostles during the transfiguration in the Gospel. They wanted to stay put and build tents for moses and elijah and live happily ever after in ecstasy. Unfortunately for them they had to be brought back down to reality  and into suffering again.

So what does our children have to do with this? Well their bootcamp begins in the womb and training doesn’t stop until the job is done and they’re either married or religious and at very least a very spiritual and talented Christian in whatever profession they choose.

Read them the Bible, behave Christian around them as much as possible. Take them to mass regularly.

Ok so you get all this what’s new? well for a start, most parents don’t ever teach their kids mystical theology. They never sit them down and show them the difference between Us (Christians) and ”Them” (The secular world). This is why their kids roam around the city getting into all sorts of trouble because whilst prayer and Mass are good, the kids are lacking someone to educate them so that they can make sense of it all and the fight between us and the powers of darkness.

It is my plan when my son reaches 12 years old that I will sit him down and discuss with him a very serious mystical theology of the early fathers both Orthodox and Catholic church fathers. I will train him how to think in the spirit and not by himself. Don’t believe people who tell you they think for themselves as such people live in a delusional world. Everyone always thinks under the influence of others and forms convictions based on what thought may be popular. I wont get into that right now but teaching your child a heavy mystical theology early on is healthy.

Going from sexual sins and that of the flesh right up to spiritual sins and those of the heart and how to avoid them is important. For boys sexual sins are going to be tough ones especially in our sex crazed society today. Therefore boys will need our closer attention. Women on the other hand are more emotional and so they need training in how to control that. Women often read romantic novels and engage is whats known as emotional porn.

Men are more aroused by the physical and so as the teenage years approach proper training in the theology of the body and how it all works is crucial to a more clean and safe journey through adolescence.

So at age 12 it may seem heavy but I highly recommend you plough through the philokalia, St.John of the Cross and Catherine of Siena books. Mystical theology is missing in the church today, If we were aware of this more we may change our lives around a lot sooner.

Children need guidance and it’s very important you do not become a blind guide because that’s how most children sadly wander away from the faith, Most of these young people lacked the guidance at a young age. Give it to them because Jesus in the sergant and we all will have to give answer for those men we lost on the battlefield through our own negligence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Seeking A Relatioship With God Through Education

It may be happening to you right now. You’ve gone through your ”Epiphany” and conversion with God and you’re in your room right now surrounded by crosses of all sorts, icons and statues.

The great feast is happening and you’re indulging in every prayer and spiritual conversation.

Great, but watch out, because the devil is lurking around too, and your little Epiphany is about to get its rude interruption.

There are many tactics of the devil and I’ve often found the most obvious is spiritual burnout. This is where a newcomer to the Christian church is so excited about his newfound spiritual encounter with Christ, he stays up all night praying and will only engage with people when the conversation of of God and things about the weather or what was on tv last night don’t interest him.

Believe it or not this is the language of the angels that he is behaving like, he’s exeriencing and behaving like they do in Heaven. However, the devil often intervenes and sows the seed in the mans mind that he’s not doing enough and that he should do even MORE prayers and go to mass not once but TWICE a day and confession should be heard EVERY DAY etc etc.

Before you know it he becomes utterly exhausted and then will likely abandon the faith, that’s if he doesn’t survive the Epiphany and live through the burnout to see another day.

It’s a great time but it’s also a dangerous one if we are not careful.

Anyway one of these interruptions by the devil that is less obvious is theological study. When the beginner is let down from the breast of consolation he begins to miss these graces and he wants these more than he wants his relationship with God. He idolises them and unknown to himself he gradually begins to fall.

He’s constantly trying to regain them. One area he thinks he’ll get it is in theological study groups from small classrooms to the big university. He decides he’s going to be a theologian. Here is where the devil steps in and slowly and gradually the spirit of the pharisee begins to take hold and he becomes a self styled ”doctor” of the law and every canon in the church.

He then turns his attention to theological study so much that he forgets what it means to be a true theologian…to pray.

Then, because he finds himself not really able to regain the graces and consolations through all this education and is disliking all the dryness, he becomes like the servant Jesus speaks of in the Gospel who feels his master has gone away and is taking his time and so sets himself up as the spiritual police in the church going around hitting everybody and beating them with his harsh words of rebuke.

This idolisation of the intellect is a difficult one to grasp and the devil has lured many into its trap. We are not talking about just anyone but great spiritual writers who fell away from the church because of it. These include the great early fathers Tertullian and Origen as well as people like Evagrios who himself at one stage said ”He who prays truly is a theologian and he is a theologian who prays truly. ”

Even himself fell for the wiles of the devil and fell into the trap of becoming the self styled expert.

Today is no different, there are many of us out there on the internet and social media who think ”we know a thing or two” about the Christian faith we so dearly hold.

I strongly believe that the study of theology should have remained with the priesthood instead of being let loose as now every tom dick and harry is a theologian.

Why should it remain in the priesthood? because in the hands of worldly people not living a life close to God that is more likely to be lived out in the priesthood than in the laity, theology is dangerous. It’s like handing out medecine with no instructions or guide and we all need a guide. It’s like looking at the sun without protective glasses. We all need a spiritual guide.

But until then, a little reading here nor there and simply practicing the sacraments suffices for me. Still think you need to attend that theology class? take a look at St.Joseph of cupertino. Dumb as rocks he was, couldn’t read nor write ….but he could levitate in prayer and was a saint.

Education is important but you’re better off treading that minefield carefully as you don’t want to end up like Tertullian or Origen.

 

 

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When Your Spiritual Confessor Ask You To Test The Spirits 

  
And you happen to find a really good one. . . . 

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The Spiritual Hangover And The Recovering Sinaholic

Today I thought about those of us who sin greatly but are blind to its wrongness and its bad effects. When we sin, we prefer to indulge in it and find ways and means to try and bend the laws of physics to make 2+2 = 5. Politicians and dissident theologians happily try to find ways in which to help us along in our journey towards that end but it’s always out of self interest on their part because they don’t care either way once they get the pat on the back and the few votes. The media also encourage us to indulge also.

The alcoholic will never recover if he doesn’t take the first step of acknowledging that what he is doing is destroying him, not only physically but spiritually also. In fact I’ve heard it said that there is no such thing as an alcoholic who is cured and I guess that’s right, once an alcoholic always an alcoholic but it’s the same with sin, once a sinner always a sinner. But look how greatly life improves for the alcoholic who acknowledges his/her problem and takes remedial steps to diminish this weakness he/she has towards the bottle.

Sin is like this. We get high when we sin, but like alcohol we get what’s known as the spiritual hangover and the very thing we think makes us high does in fact make us depressed and has the opposite effect. It isn’t until we accept that what we are doing is to no benefit to our physical and mental state can we actually take the remedial steps necessary to a road of forgiveness, Grace and a cure, not just a cure here and now but for eternity.

I’m no great Christian myself but I have met Catholics who reject certain dogmas of the faith, even Catholics who reject the priesthood ( yes it gets that complicated ) and I think its due to the culture that if something doesn’t fit our views, then we get to decide reality and reality doesn’t get to decide us ( moral relativism I.e what’s right is right for me and what’s right is right for you ). If -lets say- I find myself struggling with masturbation, then instead of seeking to understand its bad effects I will perceive it as a normal thing to do and will look for someone to verify that for me. That seems to be the worlds way that if we fail in being capable of controlling our anger, rather than seeking to acknowledge it as wrong and coming to an understanding of it, we instead indulge in the anger. That is how it is In countries today that have legalised gay marriage and abortion. Or how about in Sweden where they have legalised prostitution and masturbating in public spaces. These countries are blind to the sin but rather than ban it and understanding why it is wrong, prefer to take the easy root of shoving their fingers in their ears, closing their eyes and refusing to take a peek or listen to the voice of common sense.

What mathematician in his right mind, if he had a student who was telling him 2+2 =5 would just allow the student to bend the laws of physics allowing him to arrive at such a warped conclusion? Would he not come down to the child’s level and do his best to teach the child he is wrong? This is what’s happening in the church today. She is continuously ready to explain the sum of her mission and teachings but if we are not willing to listen, if we are not willing to acknowledge our wrong doing then we will continue to live like thirsty fishes in the ocean looking for a drink. God is all around us but unless we sinaholics addicted to sin and Franks sinatras “my way” take the first step to recovery and admit we are really unhappy and need help, we will never make it. This may sound odd but I think its better to be a habitual sinner aware of ones faults, remaining close to God and His sacraments than one who is unaware he is doing wrong and heading for ruin. I think it was St.Austine who said there is is nothing worse than a sinner without temptation and he is right. I would like to believe what he means is that there’s nothing worse being both unaware and unwilling to to admit we are wrong. The devil has no need to destroy a soul willing to destroy himself. He’s more interested in tempting the ones who have by the Grace of God figured it out and are trying to lead lives close to Jesus Christ.

That’s why I always advise Catholics that if your failing to practice the churches teachings doesn’t mean you should reject them altogether and indulge in the sin. Likewise repression of the sin doesn’t work either, only understanding the sin and its bad effects coupled with the Grace of God and prayer etc etc will see you through it all. You’ll always be a sinner but at least the opportunity to improve and live a fuller and happier life is there for the taking not to mention an eternal home all made up for you in heaven.

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