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updated 12:01 PM GMT, Oct 30, 2018

The Christian’s task is not to observe rules, but to be in constant prayerful union with God. Given our weakness, this means self-reproach. Not in despair and self-scourging, but in self-reproach ­– that is, in the realization and recognition of our sinfulness with simultaneous faith in God’s mercy. That is, in the condition expressed in the Jesus Prayer, in the prayer of the publican.

The following incident refers to a friendly family of mine, and it took place on the 2nd of July 2009, a day after the blessed repose of Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi.

A. and her husband were going through some very tough times for the last few years and particularly since last May. It has to do with how her parents in law view her and how they behave towards their own son. In effect they are trying to separate the couple, who already have four kids, one newly-born- through quarrels, slurs, and malicious behaviour with appalling letters full of vile and slurs.

Three Gifts of the Spiritual Father
by Bishop Kallistos Ware

Three gifts in particular distinguish the spiritual father. The first is insight and discernment (diakrisis), the ability to perceive intuitively the secrets of another’s heart, to understand the hidden depths of which the other is unaware. The spiritual father penetrates beneath the conventional gestures and attitudes whereby we conceal our true personality from others and from ourselves; and beyond all these trivialities, he comes to grips with the unique person made in the image and likeness of God. 

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