Drawing Close to Christ & Our Holy Orthodox Church
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Everyday of our lives, we get to choose how we are going to spend our time. Time is a gift of our Lord, and it is both a blessing and a responsibility. What will I do today? Rise early? Make the most of the day? Sleep in and get some extra rest? Start the day with prayer or hit the floor running? It is in the details of our lives that the quality of our walk with our Lord and His Holy Church is determined. What do I think about during the day… positive or negative thoughts? Do I take a moment to thank God before I eat? How do I respond to a rude driver? As Orthodox Christians, we need to be mindful of the moments we have been given each day, both during and in between the bigger responsibilities of life: Work, Marriage, Parenting, Homemaking, Care Giving. How we approach all of these tasks strengthens or weakens our relationship with Christ. What is the leaven we are adding to our day to elevate the mundane into something supernal?
There are many tools that we have been given through the Church, by our Lord, to help us ‘rise’ and draw near to Him everyday, every hour, no matter what is going on around us. Prayer is the most basic tool. It is through prayer and a prayerful disposition that we attract the Grace of God. Starting and ending the day with prayer is a wonderful habit. Practicing the Jesus Prayer, as we are able, unites us to God and keeps the memory of God’s love for us in our hearts. Attending Church Services is akin to getting a big vitamin shot. We are filled with holiness and goodness through the sights, sounds, tastes and grace we receive there, and become less easily trapped by the Devil and his wiles. The Sacraments feed our souls, and hearing and reading the Gospel and Spiritual Books enlighten our souls. The Orthodox Study Bible is a great resource at home, as we are able to receive sound teaching as we read through each chapter.
Finally, chanting and listening to chant is a great way to be in Christ’s presence at any given moment whether at Church, in our cars, or at home. Chanting allows the Theology and Teachings of our Faith to pierce through to our very hearts through the medium of music, another immense gift of God. When we chant, we join the ranks of the Angels who surround the throne of God singing, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Sabbaoth. Heaven and earth are full of Your glory!’ Thus, hymnology is a leaven that leads us right to the footstool of our Father in Heaven.
Let us all make the most of our time and draw near to Christ our Lord and His Holy Church, daily, through His abundant gifts and rich mercy.