Overcoming Spiritual Apathy “Causes and Tackle” (32)

By: Servants at Godlovehostel for Expatriate Students

Translated by: Beshoy Shokry

 

Preface

The apathy in prayer is one of the serious wars in our spiritual path.

Satan fights us with it in all the stages of our life, either at the beginning or after we have taken advanced steps. It has physical, psychological, and spiritual causes. Depending on the spiritual level in which a person is, Satan fights him with a reason appropriate for him.

It is serious to become a lifestyle, not just a war that continues for an exceptional period and ends.

In this series, we will find the causes and how to tackle them. But it is preferable that you first read the Handbook of the stages of prayer.

The Lord gives us a renovated mind and acceptance of His love through the intercession of our , the , and the prayers of our blessed father, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, to our God in His church from now and forever Amen.

 

 

As I am in my way to my Godfather, filled in bored. I am amazed that every time I go to him, I am very active but this time not. In fact, it is not coming to him that I feel so bored, but even praying these days I feel very apathy and bored. I greeted him and asking what is the tackle for apathy or boredom? Because these days I feel very apathy and bored that makes me not want to pray and loses its feeling, even though I know the value of prayer and I am aware of its importance.

He said: There are three causes for apathy or boredom, and they are physical, psychological, or spiritual. We will take them separately, the first of the physical causes are

Excessive fatigue

I said: What is the relationship between Excessive fatigue with spiritual apathy?

He said: When a person has a great physical or mental effort. Therefore, he does not have the energy to pray. Although a person has the desire to pray, it affects the spirit and the soul and causes apathy, because of the exhaustion of the body.

Also, many reasons cause the exhaustion of the body, including the frequent fallen in the flesh sins such as youthful lusts. Once a person wants to pray, he cannot because he is exhausted and tired. This is because the body’s energy is limited and when directed in a specific direction it becomes difficult for the body to move in the other direction.

Such as the one who drives his car with a limited amount of gas and has two targets way in front of him in two different directions. If he goes to any of them, he consumes this amount of gas, therefore he cannot go to the other goal.

Thus, the body has a limited amount of energy, so when we consume this energy in falling into the flesh sins, the person does not have any energy for the spiritual aspect, even if he has the will. He tries and cannot, has the desire, and was unable to do so, so he feels disability and negligent, and because of the many attempts, he feels bored and apathy.

I said: What is the solution to this resulting exhaustion, whether from the responsibilities or flesh sins?

He said: First, the solution to fatigue resulting from the responsibilities

You must pray before you do your duties

Where your physical and mental energy is completely not consumed yet.

Try to gradually pray, you can start praying for a few minutes (maybe one or two minutes) until you reach the long prayer.

I said: What am I saying at this minute?

He said: Oh God, me from apathy. Ask him to inflame your heart with his love, and to protect you from responsibilities that keep you away from him. And to bless your work or your studies, and to grow day after day in your spiritual life.

There’s no way, that the belly can be filled with food and felt both spiritual activities and theological grace.

Saint Symeon the theologian

The Hearts prayer book p.137

Graduation is a basic tackle for apathy in the prayer of all kinds.

Like when a football player suffers a broken leg, he cannot run or play but begins to move gradually until he is recovering.

Thus, when we suffer from spiritual apathy, we gradually get rid of it.

I said: But what about that resulting from the flesh sins?

He said: The solution to the apathy in prayer resulting from the flesh sins is to believe the advice that says “prevention is better than cure”.

If you direct your physical energy into spiritual matters, social activities, or sports, you will rest from the war of the body. When you direct your energy positively, there will be no energy until it comes out on the negative side.

I said: What do I do if I follow that, but keep falling?

He said: You need to control your senses, as we mentioned before that the direct causes of falling into the flesh sins are uncontrolled of sight, touch, the belly.

I said: Will I remain in this apathy until I control my senses, my father?!

He said: During this period, pray to God for what are you need. Pray that God sanctifies your senses, to give you in directing your energy. , starting the prayer gradually (a minute or two) until you reach a longer period and then the apathy phase will be over.

I said: I think the prayer for a long time will be difficult at the beginning of the road and I am suffering this apathy?

He said: There’s no problem, pray briefly but constantly. And don’t forget to pray anytime, anywhere. Pray to God to entreat you to set you free from every sin that dominates you. Be sure that God will hear and respond, and trust that he loves you and wants you to be free. He loves your freedom and peace; he loves to return to his bosom and in his love.

When the darkness of Satan, which is doubt, despair, and turmoil, are covered you, call only Christ’s name. That in him you will find support, trust, comfort, and peace. In him, you will find the greatest mercy, goodness, and great plenty, all in the name of Jesus Christ.

Jones of Kronstadt

My life in Christ p.616

Besides, when Satan fights you with any sin, seek god’s help quickly. If you fall into sin, get up quickly, ask for , and persevere in prayer all the time and saying:

” Forgive me, Lord. Remit o God my sins. Thank you, God, for still loving me, despite my sins. Thank you, for not hat me as am I.

These brief prayers are the only way out of the spiritual apathy caused by flesh sins.

I said: What is the second physical cause?

2- lethargy

It is one of the most important reasons that lead to a fall in the flesh sins.

As the church fathers said, the devil finds work for those who have no. It is essential to direct energy positively rather than passively. The tackle of laziness involves directing energy and creating any system, such as time for prayer, reading, entertainment, work, study, the active, church services.

I said: I think it’s not easy, especially since I’m not used to the daily routine.

He said: It’s simple, just pray to God to teach you how to get used to this daily system, to release you from laziness.

God help me to organize my day and time, grant me to praying and Gospel reading, release me from laziness and time wastage. I am your son. Help me, God.

Pray each day, trust that Christ will help you and give you the wisdom to direct your energy in the right direction, and to release you from laziness.

Pray to god every time, even when you are sleeping or sitting, that you may be released from apathy and laziness and that your energy is directed to good rather than bad.

The strongest prayer is the one that prays for your needs and the best way to overcome apathy.

I said: What about the third physical cause?

He said: the third causes are

3- irregular sleep.

It’s known that the human brain has a natural biological clock that regulates the rhythm of the brain according to human activity. When bedtime comes, you find sings to all the organs that are bedtime, so all the organs start getting ready for sleep.

when the weak up time comes, singles are sent to all the organs to wake up, as well as the rest of the body’s activities.

But when there’s a malfunction in the normal biological clock system of the brain, there’s apathy and fatigue at all levels. When you want to pray and this is your bedtime relative to the biological clock, you will find yourself tired, exhausted, and sleepy even if you want to pray. But when “everything has a time”, you’ll find yourself praying at the time of prayer without fatigue or apathy, and at bedtime, you sleep without any worries. Pay close attention to this.

I said: for what?

He said: The time when evil thoughts fight the most is when you want to sleep out of bedtime, or when you do not wake up quickly when it is time to wake up.

I said: why My father?

 He said: Because the brain in this case is completely unconscious, so the person is neither asleep nor awake. It would be easier for Satan to fight him, so it would be easier to fall. So, Pope Cyril vi said, “go to sleep only at bedtime and don’t stay in bed long when you wake up.”

Setting the biological clock is give the power of will in the war against Satan.

I said: What about those who have different work?

He said: This is a problem that many may face, but the solution would have to be to make the time of prayer not fixed but with a steady act.

I said: what does a steady act mean?

He said: I mean, connecting prayer to what you do constantly.

Meaning you pray after waking time, whatever it is, in the morning or the afternoon. God will give a special blessing to every one according to circumstances.

But I know, son, that time setting and bedtime setting are things that if you do, you’ll get very comfortable. It saves you from war and serves as a shield against Satan “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” ( 3: 1 ) When we do everything in due time, we will be in great peace and spiritual stability.

I said: These are the physical causes, what about the psychological?

He said: the psychological causes are

1-    Upsetting someone

When you feel that you are fatiguing someone physically, psychologically, or spiritually, you will have apathy. You will feel sadness over this quarrel, and you must deal with it quickly and seriously. Because if you neglect the problem, it’ll double and the fatigue will increase.

I said: What do you mean, my father?

He said: When I make a mistake with someone, I felt uncomfortable inside me, if I don’t hurry up and apologize in time, I’ll get used to it and my heart will be callous and insensitive. In prayer, you move on to feelings of routine and boredom[1]

and then to become accustomed to the absence of a sense of God, that’s where the problem is bigger and harder.

I said: can you explain more, my father?

He said: When I have apathy in prayer because I quarreled with someone and the holy spirit reprove (John16: 8). I need to hasten to accommodate him, for when my feelings of contentious are neglected, I will become accustomed to being callous, and prayer will be reduced to mere formalism or ordnances.

Apathy turns from a disease requiring tackle to a chronic disease that haunts me for a lifetime. Prayer becomes useless, and the relationship with god turns from one of love to one of routine or form.

I said: What a very serious thing.

He said: This is really very serious, So in the case of a contentious, you need to be quick and make peace with someone you have quarreled with, as the bible says “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remember that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. (Matthew 5:23)

I said: But what if this person doesn’t want to make up?

He said: The most important thing is that you apologize to him as long as you’re wrong and if he doesn’t accept this apology, asking God in your prayers to make peace and love between you.

Lack of love and harmony among brothers, husbands, and coworkers are causes apathy.

Therefore, one of the most important means of protection for Christian homes against the divisions and variations that result in destruction is the family altar. This altar brings together the whole family for prayer and bible reading. With the spirit of prayer and the Gospel, all problems and differences disappear, every spirit of hatred end, and love, peace, and joy reign in our homes.

I said: What if this person doesn’t see him again, where I met him on transportation by coincidence, even traveled or died, what am I gonna do?

He said: The bible says “to your brother” in the sense that he speaks of narrow circles within the family circle. While faraway circles are invisible or beyond our reach, you can repent and pray for this person that God binds up their painful spots, heals his psyche, and God will respond.

I said: what if it’s the reverse?

He said: This is my second point of psychological causes.

  • Being upset from someone

 When someone offends me, I have a feeling of distress and pain that causes me to faint in prayer. When this happens, I go and tell him his fault and then forgive him, as the bible says “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” (Matthew 18:15)

I said: Why would I tell him about his fault so that I can forgive him?

He said: You tell him his fault because he may have done it inadvertently, so he starts to pay attention and never does it again. If you do not, he may continue to do what he’s doing and hurt your feelings without knowing.

Also, you reproach him even you don’t have any feelings of and unacceptability toward him. When feelings of distress appear as a tender reproach and love ended and passed. But if you keep it inside, it can cause spiritual harm.

Hence, some people act harshly, which doesn’t suit the current situation but is the result of mounting and then flame up with rage. This leads to physical illnesses that have no real causes but require psychological treatment.

I said: What shall I do with people who are far away or who I will never see again?

He said: as I mentioned before, the bible says “to your brother” in the sense that he speaks of narrow circles within the family circle. While faraway circles are invisible or beyond our reach, you can repent and pray for this person that God binds up their painful spots

I said: would it be a big mistake and a deeper wound?

He said: We talked about this point in part six, but all I want to say is that when you forgive people, God will make you up several times and rest from his labor. Remember, don’t forget that Jesus forgave you so many sins that would have led you to .

I said: But there are so many people who persecute and force us?

He said: For our part, we must pray for them because Satan does this through them. So, we pray for them that God will have mercy and free them from the bondage of Satan, for they are weak people, and Christ loves them and died for them, as he died for us. But if they don’t repent, God doesn’t leave them long in their darkness, he’s a fair “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” (Psalms 7: 11). “for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord”. (Romans 12:19). “The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:14). “for he that touched you touched the apple of his eye.” ( 2:8). “For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.” (Psalms 125:3).  

For our part, we forgive them, because our unforgiveness can be detrimental to our spiritual journey. On God’s part, if he repents, he will be forgiven, and if he does not repent, God will discipline him and set limits so as not to harm his children.

I said: What if I can’t forgive?

He said: On your own, you cannot forgive, but you need god’s help especially when it’s too much. So, you have to express your tired of Christ, your concern, and your inability to forgive. Say to him in your prayers: I cannot forgive my God give it to me, you are the only one who knows how much I suffer. If your feelings are confused, you cannot concentrate in prayer. Therefore, to enjoy prayer, you need to have pure feelings against any hatred, variance, or wrath.

Thou select thy people for naught, and dost not increase thy wealth by their price (Psalms 44: 12)

 Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit. (Psalms28: 1)

O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! (Habakkuk 1: 2) .

Otherwise, you will not feel the spirit of prayer, and you will feel that there is a big gap between what you feel inside and what you express. Everything I have said causes the apathy in prayer and you will not be able to continue your prayer with satisfaction, and instead of rest and peace, prayer became so burdened.

Expressing your true feelings in prayer, no matter what they are, will save you from apathy.

So when a wounded person expresses his wounds, his pain, his fatigue, prayer becomes a medicine and a cure for him, not a burden and an illusion.

        For example, when a wife has wounds from her husband, it will not help her to pray and say, “My heart is filled with joy and my tongue is cheerful” but expresses her feelings and says

“Lord, my feelings are hurt, my husband does not care about me and treats me cruelly. Please, Lord, give me the strength to forgive him as you forgive me, give me wisdom in dealing with him, and change him and his thoughts, my Lord. Help him, Lord, maybe he has problems and is unable to solve them, or tired and he cannot express his feelings. Lord, you know my wounds and my pain, I have no one but you to heal my wounds and heal my soul. You are my beloved, .

For the wounded person, his true prayer is the expression of his pain and wounds.

There is also another reason that leads me to apathy in prayer, which is emotional attachment, and we will discuss it in detail when we talk about psychological trauma.

I said: But is there a psychological reason for the apathy in prayer, my father?

He said: The third point in psychological causes is explicitly a common point between psychological causes and spiritual causes. And that is feeling guilty, for feeling guilt has a psychological and spiritual effect.

“Man is dear to God and the whole world obeys him, and the Son of God Himself descended from heaven to deliver him from permanent torment and reconcile him with God.”

S. John Kronstadt

My Life in Christ

(P. 608

As for the psychological impact, it makes a person feel small and unacceptable to himself, as the Fathers call it ” Inferiority

When a person feels the smallness of the soul, then he feels that his prayer has no meaning, and when he is convinced of these thoughts, then his reaction, without knowing, will be to feel an apathy toward prayer, and he says within him,

“What is the use of my prayer?! I am a sinner and my prayers have no effect, and they are not acceptable and meaningless.”

And prayer becomes his worry and heaviness, and he does not hope for any result from it. So, the feeling of guilt is a feeling that is fatal and kills our psyche without us knowing; that is why it can be called “the cancer of spiritual life” because it works in us without realizing it. On the contrary, we might think that it is , which will make us enter a circle from which there is no exit.

When we feel guilt, we start to feel apathy towards prayer, which results in more guilt and thus more apathy, and it is an endless cycle.

Thus, we enter a deadly cycle that ends either with abandoning and neglecting praying completely.

 

Or we enter into a routine circle and perform the prayer until we are satisfied with what remains of our conscience, but we do not seek benefit from our prayer and we do not wait for a response to our requests. And we think that this is normal and say “we are not Saints!”

This is a very dangerous war that separates man from God and his love, and kills in him the spirit of hope.

“O sinners, do not be sad or despair. Rather, all you have to do is believe in the Son of God. O sinners, appreciate one another, and do not despise any sinner, for we are all sinners, and the Son of Man has come to save all, purify all, and raise all to heaven.”

S. John Kronstadt

The Book of My Life in Christ

(P. 303)

And if we do not clearly see these deadly and dangerous results now, then soon enough we will see their results among the youth, as whoever enters this circle and does not leave it – with the confidence of complete and immediate forgiveness, it will lead him to openly and shamelessly deny God and say, “I do not want to know God, and I do not want to pray,” and  the spiritual life becomes for him a worry and fatigue. All of these thoughts accumulate within him and lead him to say, “I do not

want God, I am atheist!” But the truth is the result is the same. He who feels guilty, and thus the smallness of the soul, and that his prayer has no meaning or effectiveness, is separated from God, and God is not present in his life, whether he declares this openly or does not, know that or does not!

I said: What is the solution to this disaster, Father?

If I have sinned, then God is my purification, and if I am depressed or seized by sadness and darkness after sin due to the enemy’s aggression, then the Master removes my depression and revives in me my joy and my meaning, for God is everything for me.”

John Kronstadt

The Book of My Life in Christ

(P. 354)

He said: The solution is confidence in complete and immediate forgiveness through repentance. There is no other way, as Saint said, “Whoever thinks that there is another way to repentance (and thus forgiveness) except prayer is deceived by the devils.”

And also St. John Kronstadt says, “When you pray to God to forgive your sins, you have and believe in the mercy of Him because God is always ready to forgive you your sins after a faithfull genuine prayer.”

The solution is to repent whenever we sin and trust immediately in our complete forgiveness and acceptance, otherwise there will be no meaning to our prayers, and we will become apathetic and lethargic, and whatever liturgy

we do, we will never leave this circle. Only one solution to get out of this circle, which is to trust that we are completely forgiven and fully justified[2]. Because sin creates a separation between us and God (Isaiah 59: 2), and repentance and trust in forgiveness removes this barrier completely, so whoever does not trust that the barrier has ended and has been completely destroyed, he is poor and deceived by the demons and will remain apathetic and bored, and there will be no meaning for his prayers or effectiveness in his requests and his pleadings.

Also, one of the consequences of feeling guilty that may not be apparent is that “God forgives me for sin, but my prayer is not like the prayer of the Saints.” When I feel that my prayer has no effect or its effectiveness is simple, then a feeling of boredom comes to me automatically as a natural result, so as long as what I say has no meaning or effectiveness, what is the reason to tire myself and say it? And if I only did it, I would do it in order to fulfill the law and complete the prescribed, and with time I would start to feel

that this God is selfish and only cares about himself, his condition and his law, and there is no contact with him.

I said: Oh, Father, things that appear beautiful on the surface but they are actually destructive, but what is the solution?

He said: Indeed, my son, Satan is malicious and does not always directly come in his war, and the solution is:

To have a true image of ourselves as God sees us.

As God himself made clear in the Bible, He loves us very much (John 15:13), and we are very dear to Him (Isaiah 23: 4). Whatever our weakness, He will expect great work from us (Isaiah 60: 22). And he is waiting for us to ask Him to give us and make us happy (John 16: 24). And our value in his eyes does not depend on what we have done, but rather that we

“We do not depart from the truth if we say that many do not believe in the dignity promised to the righteous in the next life, because Satan has degraded the value of the human race in his own eyes, but this dignity will be a reality, and we must have hope that we will reach it because man is a picture of God.”

S. John Kronstadt

The Book of My Life in Christ

P. 511

equate his blood (1 1: 18). When we have confidence in our value before God and that we are honored and dear to Him, this

encourages us to pray and gives us confidence to ask. During that time, whatever our feelings or physical troubles, we will rise above it all because there is a deeper meaning of prayer and joy and pleasure of another kind in talking with the Lover and the heavenly Friend.

Our confidence in God’s appreciation of our prayers and that our words have efficacy, will ignite in us the fire of divine love and make us never stop praying, and the feelings of joy and happiness will pour into us and will not be limited by any place or prevented by a time. We would not only always pray (Luke 18:1), but rather we would give ourselves unto prayer ( 109:4).

 

I said: This about the psychological reasons. Then what about the spiritual reasons?

“Some people show that they pray to God, but in reality they serve the devil that lies in their hearts, because they pray only with their lips, but their hearts are lukewarm and do not feel and do not desire what their lips ask or say, as it is written “But have removed their heart far from me” (Isaiah 29:13)”

S. John Kronstadt

My Life in Christ

(P. 295)

He said: Spiritual reasons –

First: the feeling of guilt, as we discussed in the psychological reasons that feeling guilt makes a person feel his separation from

God, and therefore feeling the lack of his acceptance or the acceptance of his prayers. And we said the solution is repentance and trust in complete and immediate forgiveness.

As for the second reason for spiritual apathy, it is:

Pride and condemnation.

And as we have learned in our talk about the dead mouse (p. 8), it is the great war in the spiritual life, and Satan uses it in his war against those who have taken steps in the spiritual life, and have realized the true meaning of forgiveness and the unconditional love of God, so his in his war on them is pride. It focuses on real points in which a change has occurred in their lives, but neglects the grace of Christ and the work of Christ with them.

And here, when a person prays, he is self-assured and joyful in himself, his prayers become formal. And with time, he separates from God, and all he becomes concerned about is to complete the liturgy accurately and say all that is required of him, and the goal of prayer is never to communicate with God. And it does not occur to him to express his love and feelings for God, his beloved and his Friend, and unfortunately, it is possible for him to be satisfied and happy with all of that and not be fought by any apathy in his spiritual life, as Kronstadt said, “Some people show that they pray to God, but in reality they serve the devil that lies in their hearts, because

they pray only with their lips, but their hearts are cold and do not feel and do not desire what their lips ask or say, as it is written “But have removed their heart far from me” (Isaiah 29:13)”

I said: Is it possible for someone to be satisfied with routine and appearance and never be fought with and apathy in his spiritual life?

He said: Indeed, he will not be fought by apathy because his self-satisfaction gives him an illusory satiety. Here, Satan will not prevent him from praying, but will make him content with that illusion and routine and makes him convinced that this is prayer.

I said: Is this a problem that occurs suddenly or gradually?

He said: It is possible both.

It occurs gradually with the person who gradually started the spiritual life. Satan is very intelligent, so with this person he does not suddenly fight him so that he does not feel the war, but pulls him little by little so that he does not know what is going on and tries to fix the issues until he is in the depths of the chasm – if he even figured it out!

“He who thinks that he is without blemish has contained in himself all the faults.”

Saint Moses the Black

(Father’s Paradise )Bustan Al-Rahban)  , p. 325)

And it occurs suddenly with the person who wants to jump into the spiritual life – suddenly – relying on himself and thinking that he can cross the road alone without the grace of Christ. When the devil finds

his perseverance and seriousness, he directs him towards glorifying himself and his dependence on himself, makes him suddenly grow false and illusory growth in the spiritual life and makes him rejoice that he prays, but his prayer is a routine without depth or love. The truth is that he will not last long in that, and if he continues, it will just only be a routine on the outside, but on the inside, he will be full of all iniquity and sin, just like the Pharisees “outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23: 28)

I said: What is the solution to this devastating disaster, Father?!

“Humility of heart precedes all virtues, and pride is the basis of all evils.”

Saint Moses the Black

(Father’s Paradise )Bustan Al-Rahban)  , p. 309)

He said: The solution is for the person to be sensitive to the work of the Spirit of God within him, respond to any conviction quickly, and constantly adjust to changes within himself (p. 2). And when he feels the absence of the feeling of love and the birth of the feeling of apathy within him, he should cry out to God to reveal to him the cause of apathy, and not stop until God enlightens his depths, and he must search himself faithfully, offer repentance for every sin, and humiliate quickly. And he must move away from condemnation, from self-exaltation, and from praise and love of appearances, and he must also walk with calmness and humility and stay away from Criticism, condemnation and defamation.

But if a person lived with apathy and was satisfied with the routine and the ritual as if it were a natural thing, lived with the absence of the love of Christ and the relationship of friendship with him, was satisfied with all of that as if it was a normal matter and he did not cry or ask about the reason of what is happening to him, then he is in great danger. Because after some time, he will become accustomed to the hardness of the heart and the dullness of feelings, and the spirit of God will be extinguished within him and he will live self-sufficient.

These, as we said, are fighting servants, monks, and everyone who took steps in the spiritual life or who took responsibilities in the service, which is a difficult and dangerous war:

Because a person continues to perform his prayers while coexisting with apathy as if it were a natural thing and he does not know that he is walking on the path of perdition and all that remains to him of his spiritual life is the routine and the liturgy and what he does is to satisfy his looks, his self, the form he took, the clothes he wears, and the people who put him in a certain place. The man’s life becomes a form without a soul, a name without life, as it is written “thou hast a name that thou lives, and art dead” (Revelation 3:1). He also becomes a stumble for all those who follow his approach and are guided by his teaching

because he knows the teachings of himself, speaks about himself and preaches the form and routine in which he lives, and he does not know to convey the message of the Spirit or the words of love, because the words of the Spirit can only be communicated be those who live the life of the Spirit, and the words of love are only effective if they are told by those lived and experienced them.

I said: Father, please explain the solution, because the issue is dangerous and frightening!

“If we look at our sins, we will not look at the sins of others, because who would let his dead and weep for the dead of others, and man’s sin is the death of his soul.”

(Father’s Paradise (Bustan Al-Rahban) p. 321)

He said: The solution is:

When you are fought by the absence of the feelings, cray to the Lord and do not stop until you figure out the reason (sin, lack of repentance, pride, …)

Keep adjusting yourself to fix any issues or problems and repent daily so as not to deviate gradually.

Beware of vain glory, running after people please and rejoicing with their praises.

I said: OK. What is the third point in the spiritual causes?

Note: Only those who have reached the stages of working with God will benefit from reading the following part (part 10/12).

He said: the third reason is:

Unfruitfulness.

As we explained before that the natural result of a person reaching the realization of eternal life is that he cannot be silent, as we knew that:

“He who knows is not silent, and he who is silent does not realize”

So every person realizes the meaning of forgiveness and the meaning of eternal life, his natural reaction to that would be to realize that he needs to begin to work with God to convey the message of forgiveness and the message of eternity to his brother, but whoever does not do this indicates that:

Either he is selfish, and he only cares about himself, and he does not think about God who cares about the salvation of mankind. And he also does not care about his brothers who suffer because they are deprived of knowing

God’s love and forgiveness and the eternity that awaits them.

Or he did not really realize the meaning of forgiveness and eternity and lived in an illusion not reality.

“If he who saves someone from bodily death takes dignity, even though if death does not find him today, he will die tomorrow, how much more deserves it to save a soul from eternal death, and to give it a life of eternal glory that it never loses.”

Father Gregorius.

Book of Brotherly Love, p. 234

Either way, whether selfish or delusion, his relationship with God will become apathetic.

God expects fruit from us, and if we do not bear fruit, then what was ours will be taken from us (Matthew 12:12). Like a young man who graduated from medical school, and instead of making his father’s heart happy and working as a doctor and treating people, he was lazy and did not want to work. As a result, his relationship with his father would become bad, he would be ashamed because he had disappointed his father’s expectations, and he would also feel negligent and feel that there is something abnormal.

I said: But, Father, are we all required to be preachers and talk about Christ?

He said: There are levels, my son, at work. There is the level of desire, level of prayer, and level of speech. And each person according to his spiritual stature, but the truth is we are all required to bear fruit, so himself said, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away” (John 15: 2), and also said, “that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15: 16), and He said, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit” (John 15: 8).

The fruit is a necessity, not a choice.

Indeed, many began their spiritual life with all seriousness, joy, and a strong love relationship with Christ, but with time they entered into apathy and did not know its reason.

I said: What is the reason, Father?

“If you find a jar full of gold, would you tell yourself why didn’t this person or that person take the jar? Or would you run like a wolf and take it before and one else?!

Have this longing for your fallen brothers as if you found a precious treasure, which is your concern for the matter of your brother’s salvation.”

Saint John (Golden-mouthed) Chrysostom

Book of Brotherly Love, p. 238

“Do not say, I also do not have the gift of teaching, because if God had bestowed it on me, I would have benefited many … if you did not have good logic, eloquence and ability to elicit meanings, but in any case you know the general things that are known (i.e. knowledge of salvation in simplicity). If you do not have the ability to preach in the church in the presence of the congregation and to derive meanings in education, then you have children, neighbors, relatives, brothers and friends with whom you can speak.”

Saint John (Golden-mouthed) Chrysostom

Book of Brotherly Love, p. 239

He said: The real reason for this is that they reached the fruiting stage and stopped. As the saying goes, “its growth has stopped!”

God expects a fruit from us. Whoever does not bear fruit, his spiritual growth stops, and what he had of growth and love stops, and with time, all that was deep in his spiritual life becomes mere memories.

I said: What is the solution, Father?

He said: It is to begin and offer repentance for our shortcomings.

1- We start with the work prayer and ask God every day in the morning, and we say, “Lord, use me for the glory of your holy name.”

2- We start by distributing the yearnings of salvation by asking Christ to allow everyone we see on the street and everywhere we go to know him and say, “enlighten them, free them, and sanctify them”.

3- We do not despise the little that we do by distributing a brief or an audio file, or saying a word about the love of Christ. We also explained in detail in “How Does God Work?”.

Because without that, our growth will stop and we will feel a chronic apathy in our spiritual life: we pray but we do not feel the prayer; we speak the words of love but we feel nothing; and we feel that our growth has stopped and what we had is lost. The solution, as we said, is to begin and take steps in the fruitfulness of the kingdom of God so that we increase and grow in grace, love and knowledge of Christ.

I said: I will start, Father, I will!

He said: To summarize what we said today so that we do not forget; we talked about the causes of apathy in prayer, and there were three reasons.

First: the physical causes:

  • Excessive fatigue
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Irregular sleep schedule

Psychological causes:

  • Upsetting someone
  • Being upset from someone
  • Feelings of guilty (It is common between soul and spirit)

The spiritual causes of apathy:

  • Feeling guilty
  • Pride and condemnation
  • Unfruitfulness

The spiritual causes:

  • Pride and condemnation
  • Unfruitfulness

I said: Goodbye, Father, and next time we continue with the grace of Christ!

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[1]  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. (Matthew 15:8)

[2]Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24)

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