Orthodox Church of the Mother of God

Joy of all the Sorrowful - Mays Landing, NJ (f. 1966)

SPIRITUALITY

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SPIRITUALITY - The ascetic and pious struggle against sin through repentance, prayer, fasting, and participation in the sacramental life of the Church. (Gal. 5:16 26; Phil. 2:12, 13.) 

The term spirituality has unfortunately become quite vague in our time, but if we take it to mean “the daily life of the Orthodox Christian,” we can say certain pertinent things. Orthodox Christians seek to pray without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17), and so for nearly every moment in life, every task, every occasion, there is a prayer. This does not mean that extemporaneous prayer has no place in the life of the Orthodox Christian, but it does mean that in general, Orthodox draw on the experience of the saints rather than their own private opinions, which are less trustworthy.

Fundamentally, the spiritual life of an Orthodox Christian is liturgical, sacramental, and mystical. This level of spiritual intensity is not something reserved for esotericists or monastics, but is for everyone. This life not only involves prayer and frequent participation in liturgical services, but it also involves a whole ascetical way of life, engagement in fasting and other ascetical disciplines, so that the whole human person, both soul and body, may be brought into communion with Jesus Christ. This means that holiness is much more than moral precepts and involves a whole way of looking at the world and living in it, that there are holy people, holy places and holy objects.

Orthodox spirituality is fundamentally practical and customizable, always geared toward the single goal, the “one thing needful” life in Christ.

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