The prayer Stages… (2) The Habituation stage (22)
Prayer stages are like the stages of study, there is the nursery, then the primary and middle school, and so on… Also, in the spiritual way, prayer are stages, the first stage is the stage of forcing, its war “laziness, boredom and boredom, and also despair of the frequent fall”, and we discussed that we are resisting it, with the principle of gradations, realization, hope and non-despair. This part completes the road with you and enters with you to the second stage, which is (The Habituation Stage).
If you started in the first stage (The Forcing Stage) even if it’s only a small part, you can complete the reading to know the features of the habituation stage, this is better. But if you haven’t started yet, it is better to postpone reading this part until you start even if 1%, but there is no harm to look at the road map before you start the path, it may encourage you to start to discover the way, but who remains a spectator may the time passed and he didn’t enter the road, until the day of his life is over, and the voice comes to him, the door has closed, who is outside, stays outside and whoever has entered, no one can get him out.
May the Lord give us to begin and continue, and not be satisfied in the middle of the road, until Christ becomes our father, our friend and our lives. The Lord Jesus completes the path with you, because without him, we can’t do anything. With the intercession of our Virgin Mother and the prayers of our Blessed Father, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, and to our God, glory forever. Amen.
I walked on the road that I took for months to reach my spiritual father, I felt bored because the road and the sand is the same, but in general I’m better than others, my friends most of them have no spiritual life, and many of them smoke, I don’t know how they live! no church or psalms, while if I don’t complete my spiritual law and the psalms, for me it’s a problem. Then I heard a voice inside me says “I hope you don’t condemn anyone and it’s not just a recitation and a law!” but I shut it up and said I’m better than others. That’s when I arrived and met with my father and after greeting him, I said; today we will continue the prayer stages?!
He said: Yes, we took the first stage, which is the stage of forcing, and we said there is no feelings or emotions, just words but aware of its meaning, and wait for its response.
I said: Right, I have started to commit and pray regularly, and I feel much better than before, but what is the second stage of prayer, Father?
He said: The second stage is
After a while in the stage of forcing and when you are honest in it and be patient, without noticing, you will enter the stage of habituation, which is a wonderful stage, prayer becomes a system and part of your nature, you can’t sleep without praying and can’t pass a week without taking the Eucharist, every day you must read the Bible, But also without feelings or depth or emotions, it’s just a routine, which is a wonderful stage.
I said (Interrupting): Pray without feelings or emotions, and you say it’s a wonderful stage, Father?!
He said: Wait, son, until you know what I mean, this is a stage in the way of learning to pray is very wonderful, but also the war at this stage is very dangerous.
I said: What is the war of this stage, Father?
He said: The war of the stage of habituation is:
I said: Sufficiency with what?
He said: That we say, “Thank God, we better than others”, “we are not that bad”, as the Revelation says, “Because you say, I’m rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).
This is a dangerous stage for the ecclesiastics
I said: Who are the ecclesiastics, Father?
He said: Those who attend the Mass, meetings and participate in the activities of the Church.
I said: Should I not do all this, Father, until I get over the sufficiency?
He said: Let me complete, my son, don’t stop these things they are the means of grace.
Nothing wrong with these things.
But the wrong and dangerous is, if you are satisfied with these things, or these things turn from a means to a goal itself, only to satisfy the self and conscience, and who thinks that he has become great, saint and better than others because he does and complete all the rituals, this is a great danger.
Peter and Bishoy traveled to Sohag after the first term, and when the train stopped in Minya, Peter got off, so Bishoy thought that he would buy something or need some fresh air, but he delayed, and the train started moving, quickly Bishoy stopped at the door of the train and started calling “Peter”, and Peter was sitting at the station singing and saying ” Minya is beautiful”, “I love Minya” and whenever he called him in a loud voice, And every time he grills a loud voice, Peter gets louder so he doesn’t hear Bishoy. The train started moving, so Bishoy thought that Peter was kidding, and he will run after the train to catch, but the train is faster and faster, leaving the station, and Peter sings loudly and shakes his head ” Minya is beautiful”, “I love Minya”.
Is Peter going to arrive Sohag?!!
I said (with a smile): Of course not.
He said: Although he booked in train and owns the ticket! Is he going to arrive Sohag?
I said: As long as he doesn’t get on the train, he won’t make it. As long as he’s satisfied with Minya, he’ll still be in Minya.
Thus, in prayer and spiritual life, those who are content with habituation will remain in it, and won’t reach anything in the spiritual life, and who believe that prayer is merely a ritual, imposition, routine and form without depth or love, will remain the same and will not move, but won’t reach God. All his prayers are for himself, for his own sake, for the sake of conscience, not for God, nor for a true relationship with God, and all his effort wasted in vain, and all his life will be nothing, and forgive me, son.
There will be no difference between those who are sufficient and the non-believers. He has his rituals and duties, and so are they. They may be more maintaining than him about their duties and rituals.
I said: What’s this dangerous talk, Father?
He said: If prayer is just a ritual that I’m sufficient with, and offering to God, or I must give it to him so he can be satisfied with me; this God is so difficult and tiring me, and (forgive me) he’s selfish and dominant! and if I don’t offer him the duties of loyalty and obedience, he will not bless me, he’s going to curse me and throw me in hell.
So, I begins to be dominated by fear of him and his evil and pray to him, but to say the truth, inside me a sense of oppression and humiliation, and at the first opportunity I’ll sell, reject him and rest from his bondage either publicly (atheism), or inside me rejected him and rejected his fear and oppression, but it is a shame to say so in front of the people and this can be called practical atheism and we will discuss it in detail in the future.
I said: What is this dangerous and frank talk, Father?!
Whoever understands prayer as an obligation or ritual must practice it, and be sufficed with that, this is the case whether he knew or not.
So, the Prayer is a relationship of love between a son and his father.
The prayer is that I take, not give, because God doesn’t need anything from me.
Listen to what the Bible says about prayer; “It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24), means before I say the word, God performs (what a grace!).
” He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.” (Psalms 145:19). Means the Lord himself under the command of the people who fear him (what a humility!).
“Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24). Means God says; what you need, my love (what a love!). So, those who don’t pray are the losers, will live in poverty. That demons, distress, desires, and people, will play with him and get him tired “live in poverty”.
I said: But what is the Forcing and Habituation, Father?
He said: As we mentioned before, prayer is a language we learn to speak to our heavenly father, as a son learns to speak with his father, like an immigrant learning the language of the country to which he emigrated, so we are learning prayer through the stages of learning, and we are now talking about the stage of Habituation, and its war is the war of sufficiency and formality, and it’s fighting the ecclesiastics and servants – as we have mentioned – it’s dangerous as you can see, because all the tiredness and strive in the spiritual life becomes for the sake of the soul, the conscience and the fear of God.
Son, you need to hear a sermon by His Holiness Pope Shenouda, which is called God’s status in your life.
I said: okay, but is the stage of habituation is as bad and rejected as such, Father?
He said: The stage of habituation is a wonderful stage and great progress in spiritual life, to have a fixed system in prayer and in the Gospel.
It’s accepted as a stage, but it’s totally rejected as a life
The study stage is acceptable to the student, but it is totally rejected that he prefers to fail in the same year all the days of his life in order to remain a student.
And the child they rejoice when he crawls, but it is not accepted to stay like this for the rest of his life to enjoy childhood.
I said: Sure, Father.” How can I overcome the war of sufficiency and formalism and continue on the spiritual path and not get enough?
He said: In the beginning, to overcoming the war of sufficiency to pass the stage of habituation is:
I said: Honest in what, Father?
He said: To be honest in the stage of habituation, whoever wants to pass the second to third row, it is necessary to be honest in the second row and so on, while if he isn’t honest, he will never pass this stage.
I said: I want more clarification?
He said: In order to pass the stage of habituation, be honest in it as a stage, and in order for a young person to graduate and work, he must be honest in his studies. So, keep doing and be faithful in your prayers, in your gospel, in taking the Eucharist and in fasting (which is very important), even without feelings, or emotions.
Many of us don’t enjoy the stage of study as a study, but in order to pass it and start working, he must care and study despite not loving or enjoying it, so don’t ask for feelings at this stage. So, the beginning of the spiritual life is like a child who is crawling (parents rejoice and play with him), and Forcing like a child who learns to walk (needs encouragement and help) and Habituation is a child who goes to school (he needs diligence and perseverance).
I said: Means, if I find myself praying for conscience and for myself, I better stop praying?!
He said: Of course not, this is a satanic war, son, Beware of it. He wants to keep you away from prayer in any way, there will be days when he illusion you, by telling that Your prayers are not for God’s sake, but for your own sake, you better not pray, so don’t stop praying, no matter what the circumstances.
So, don’t stop praying, but reveal yourself before God and say:
“Lord, my prayers have become routine, and become a form, for my own sake and to satisfy my conscience, liberate me, Lord, and make me have a real relationship with you, I am your son.”
I said: What’s the second thing to get past the stage of habituation and winning the war of sufficiency, Father?
He said: The second thing is,
I said: How?
He said: When you condemn someone, know that you’ve become a god.) James 4: 12)
I said (Surprisingly): What!! A God?
He said: Means, you take god’s place and condemn human beings, And God resists the arrogant, and the Holy Spirit is the quiet, gentle spirit who doesn’t live in a heart filled with condemnation and thus will never grow.
I said: How do I overcome the condemnation?
He said: This we will be talked about in detail when we take the dead mouse and the sources of light, but until then,
Turn every condemnation into a prayer, instead of condemning someone pray for him.
In the stage of habituation and your regularity on a fixed system of prayer, you start to be tempted by looking to others with a superior look, whom don’t keep up like you, and you compare them to yourself, and despise whom are away, and you think in yourself that you became a saint compared to them. So, beware of this war so that grace doesn’t turn away from you, and when it fights you- and this is normal – (as we have explained before, war of sin isn’t a fall into sin) turn every condemnation to a prayer, instead of condemning someone, praying for him.
I said: how about the false glory?
He said: In the stage of habituation, when someone commits to a period of prayer, Eucharist and the Gospel, he fights with thoughts and fantasies that he has become a saint, who performs miracles and exorcises demons, and people praise him and ask for his prayers.
(I smiled) and said: These fantasies are fighting me, Father, sometimes, what can I do to beat them?
He said: Tell the thoughts:
We are living under the protection and mercy of our Lord. If people had seen all our thoughts, we would be mocked and disgraced by everyone, remember your old sins and say to the thoughts (Let’s open the old notebooks).
Two stone collectors, their job is to cut stones from the mountain and then put it on the donkey, and go to sell it in the city for anyone who wants to build his house. A tired and exhausting job, but it’s their livelihood, and because the road is far, the stones are so heavy and the time is long, the donkey get tired. One day, the donkey got very tired and in the middle of the desert fell on his face and died, the donkey died, they cried and they said, “The Blessing died, how to live without it!”. And the dignity of the dead?!
I said: To bury!
He said: They buried it. And they didn’t know what to do? They were shouting out loud “How we could live without, The Blessing! The Blessing is dead, it was our blessing”.
A group of people was passing by and heard, so they said to them as long as it was a Blessing, let’s build a shrine or mausoleum for it, and let the people come to take its blessing, so you too can live on the gifts and vows. So, they really did that. Then the people came and put money in the box, and say “Give us your blessings”. Then one day the two men disagreed with each other, one of them said “Why this month, there is no money?! while there were a lot of people?!”, the second said “this is all the money we got, I don’t open the box except in your presence, I swear by the life of The Blessing, that’s all the money we got!”, the first man said “What!! You swear by the life of The Blessing?!! You can say that to the people, but we have buried it together!”
I said (with a smile): a true story, Father?
He said: It is found in the books of popular proverbs. Every time Satan comes to fight you and says, “You have become a saint”, say to him as the old Egyptian saying said; “Shame on you, we buried it together, let’s open the old notebooks.” Means, (let’s remember what happened before).
I said: Really, if it wasn’t for God’s protection on us, and if people knew all of our past, or even now, if they saw all our inner thoughts, no one would look at us, or they would look and despise us. May Lord continues his protection on us.
But what is the third thing to overcome the war of sufficiency and formality?
He said: First, to be honest.
Secondly: beware of condemnation and false glory. And
I said: Look to whom.
He said: Look at the saints and long to go their way and follow their faith. But beware that your goal is the false glory and miracles, but follow them in their relationships with Christ and their love of prayer and in depth in the spiritual relationship with Christ, not just a quantity and formality.
I said: And when I’m being fought in a war of the formality and false glory, what should I do, Father? I want practical steps?
He said: The war of the senses we fight it by escape and replacement (as we mentioned in part 2), while the war of ideas we fight it with prayer and the Word of God, when you get ideas that you are better than others, or feel that you have be content with formality in your spiritual life, pray this prayer constantly and don’t stop until the Lord saves you:
“Lord, give me depth in my relationship with you, and make me love you with all my heart, save me from the formal relationship, and make my goal is you, not just the obligatory, the rituals, and the formalities.”
Unfortunately, all we have taken from the saints is to say glorification, to take the blessing of the altar’s veil, light a candle then walks away. But to ask God to give us to follow them! asking to have their love and their faith!
I said: But they are saints, there is a big difference between us and them, Father?
He said (firmly and strongly): These are the thoughts of Satan, poisoned thoughts, so that we remain in sin, to be content with what we are in, and to live poor and deprived of the grace of Christ, why do we strive! why do we tire and learn in spiritual life! where is the hope, that we keep advancing and grow in our love for Christ and our faith in him! and that God responds to our prayers as he has responded to them?! They are saints and we are sinners!! And what do you expect from sinners? Except sin and surrender! Thoughts that have ruined our minds.
As long as there’s no longing within us to follow them, and go their path, we’ll never grow, and we won’t move, as long as we’re satisfied and make a word like;
A hanger for our laziness and complacency.
And as the Bible says, ” For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7) and also ” Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you” (Matthew 8:13).
I said: These are the ideas that we were raised on, Father. But what are the right ideas?!
He said: Thoughts against the Bible, against Christ. The Bible says, ” Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. ” (Hebrews 13:7). means look at their end, go their way, and grow, as they grow.
means Is there anyone born a saint?! On the contrary, God chose sinners and adulterers and made them saints, and said to the ecclesiastic that ” “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.” (Matthew 21:31). The path of the saints is available to everyone to follow and grow in it, and the Bible said “Be holy, for I’m holy.” and the examples we memorize by heart, but we don’t understand anything, we say God changes “Augustine, Moses the Black and Mary of Egypt”..
That’s means you can go down the path and it will change you!! He says “No, I’m a sinner”, ok stay a sinner! “You don’t deserve a blessing.”
I said: You mean I say “I’m a saint, cheering, glorifying and raising up my hands!”
He said (with a smile): Of course, I don’t mean that. First of all, you don’t have to say to people, “No, I’m a sinner, or I’m a saint.” This is a special relationship between a son and his father, between a bride and her groom. Imagine an engaged girl and every little thing she says to people, “Today my fiancée told me. “Today I spoke with my fiancé in so and so… ” what you say about her?
I said: She is a silly or naive!
He said: The relationship with God is something special between you and him (and this we will discuss when we talk about not relying on feelings). I’m “Sinner”, and I’m not a “saint.” The Bible says, “I am dark, but lovely” (Song of Solomon 1:5). I’m a sinner and I make sin everyday (1 John 1: 10). But I repent every day (and I trust in full forgiveness) (1 John 1:7), and I walk in the path of holiness (Philippians 3:13), and I ask Christ to sanctify me and lead me (1 Corinthians 6:11), and the Holy Spirit teaches me and guides me (John 16:13). And the Fathers taught us.
The Law of Spiritual Balance is:
“I’m nothing, but in Christ I can do everything.”
“By my actions I’m a sinner, but in Christ I’m a saint.”
“I’m a sinner and nothing”, this sentence alone, lead to a self-smallness.
While “I’m a saint, and I can do everything” alone, lead to a pride.
The danger of sufficiency, is to pray, but I’m a sinner, so my prayers “Like nothing”, will God respond to me! He responds only to the saints. So, prayer becomes a mere routine and an imposition I offer to God, so that I can stay away from his evil or to make him satisfied.
The seriousness of the word saint, only causes pride and we will discuss it in the wars of the third stage.
I said: It’s really dangerous, Father, I thought it was humbling to say I’m a sinner. But it turned out to be a demonic war to spoil every relationship with God, and to make prayer meaningless, just a concern and tired.
He said: We go back again to look and follow, for example in the religious ceremonies (seasons of saints), we keep eating, drinking and playing, what! it’s a ceremony!!
Plus, things that doesn’t glorify God, and make us a stumbling block and a cause of blasphemy in the name of Christ, but the saints are not here!! What matters is that we go to the ceremony, visit places, give the vow’s, buy candles and that’s enough, but what have we learned from the saints!! They are saints and we are sinners, and as long as we are sinners, then what do we do?
I said: Sin.
He said: Exactly as the saying says, “If the defect comes from the people of the defect, there is no defect.”1 This is a very dangerous point that we will discuss in detail when we take the qualities of the new human being.
I said: You mean, we canceled the religious ceremonies, Father?
He said: We don’t cancel the religious ceremonies, son. Some Christians find all their connection to Christ in the religious ceremonies, in which they Baptism, enter the Church, and eat the Eucharist. But this is our responsibility and the responsibility of the Church before God, to take advantage of such great gatherings.
When the Church is not sufficiency with vows and candles, and there is a state of emergency 24 hours prayer (Mass – hymns – praise in Arabic – sermons for fathers of bishops, priests and servants even if twenty sermons a day – saints films – radio hymns 24 hours – theater – individual visit – visit families – visit from priests And taking confessions and encouraging eating the Eucharist – distributing profiles – ..).
We have a big role to play towards these gatherings and this great people. We must not be content and rejoice simply by the number, the visit, and the gathering of vows, but how many have repented, how many have reached the word of forgiveness and acceptance, how many have been associated with the Church and the secrets, things that have become strange to our ears. And we, the servants, are satisfied with these things, and this is a responsibility before God for which we will be accounted for.
Also, my son, pray that we will not be satisfied either, and rejoice as soon as people go to the church, attend conferences, go to trips, and the churches become merely a social place for interviews (And those who are in the church’s playground more than those who pray within it) the difference is that it is for Christians only, to help the Brothers of God, for moral teachings similar to human development, to historical, liturgical and biblical studies just for information.
I said: Are all these things wrong, Father?
He said: As we mentioned, it’s not wrong. Serving the poor is very important, Historical ritual biblical studies are very important, and even if it’s an amusement for love, it’s acceptable and required, but the danger, all the danger is in sufficiency with that. Because all of these things can be done by non-believers, and some charities are very interested in the poor, there are social clubs, beautiful, entertaining and very respectful, and in Europe atheists teach theology and history of the Bible.
I said (Surprised): What’s the difference, Father?
He said: The message of Christ is clear” And you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21), the angel said “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2 :11), and the Lord Jesus said about his message. “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4: 18), “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” (Matthew 18: 11). Please take this training, search the church prayers, the book of hours, the mass, the old hymns, for the words of salvation.
The message of Christ is full forgiveness, salvation from sin, freedom from Satan, we must accept it and tell others about it, and sufficiency to do otherwise makes us not Christians.
I said: Sufficiency is a dangerous thing, every day with you, Father, I discover as if I were not truly Christian.
He said: Keep growing, following and don’t be a sufficient. And the picture will be completed by the grace of Christ when we take the indicators of the true Christian and the guild and you will discover amazing facts.
I said: I need a practical training at the Habituation stage?
He said: The danger at this stage, my son, is not laziness or in practical training, the danger and all the danger is (sufficiency). As the Bible in the Book of Revelation says to one of the bishops, ” Because you say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’–and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3 :17)
When you take more practical training in your spiritual life at this stage, you may be exposed to this war, that you become satisfied with yourself, because you are completing what required from you, like; to say good morning, pray in the morning and evening, prostration, read the Gospel, so all these things become the goal of your life, not the relationship with Christ and become satisfied with just the formalities, and neglected to reveal your weaknesses before God and speak to him openly, and all you care about is the law, duty and that’s enough, and when you increase it, you feel more satisfied. So, the spiritual life becomes fragile, just a form without depth, that is prone to collapse at any moment.
Peter was injured by scabies, and he was over-dressed in beautiful clothes to hide his scabies, that show the outside shape as beautiful as he can. While he was always criticized his friends for their appearance, or acne, and leave no chance, but to criticize them and make fun of them, but on the day of the medical examination of the army, he had to undress to be complementing the medical examination, and here was the shock to his friends and acquaintances, whom he treated with sarcasm and ridicule and criticized their clothing and form.
This is how anyone who is content his prayers with recitation, fulfillment of duties and rituals (is it something to get rid of)!! He lives with God a miserable, desperate, sad life, his face is depressed, his heart is sad, he criticizes people and looks at them with contempt, he checks and narrows them down, makes people afraid and run away, and if you want, they hate God and his way because of him. But in the face of the least experiences he falls and his fall is great, because his relationship with God is a formality that is not real, based on form and content with it, not on love and doesn’t seek towards him or waiting for him.
I said (with fear): How, Father?
Mina and Michael are friends in the third high school, Mina loves his father very much, his father is his friend, there is no problem instead of telling him Papa, he can tell him Kimo, (his father’s name is Kamal), he is afraid to do something wrong, not because he is afraid of punishment but he loves his father very much and is not likely to see him upset. He tells him all the details of his life, when he has a difficult subject, a teacher who is upset with, different with his friend, in all things. Even when he felt an emotional inclination towards one of his friends, he tells his father honestly without fear or shame, and when his father told him that this is a normal thing at this age, but everything in its time, we must control our feelings and make our minds and thoughts control our emotions and take a step back until the right time comes.
Mina rejoiced and obeyed his father with joy, because he is always confident that his father understands more than him, and also that his father loves him very much, everything his father says can be discussed, but always in the end he is joyfully subject to the wisdom of his father, even if he tells him you will understand later. So, Mina lives a happy life with a father who can return to him, supporting him in his troubles, and guides him in his choices. At school, he always talks about his father and how he misses every day to go home to see and sits with him, talks to him about all his problems and tiredness, and even if there are no problems, tired or needs, once he is with his father, he is happy.
While Michael is surprised by all this, he respects his father because he is his father and enough, and he is afraid to make a mistake not because his father will be sad – that is not in his feelings and conscience – but just because wrong is wrong. And his relationship with his father is very serious, “With your permission! Thank you!”, but friendship, love or longing to be with him, these things are strange and new for him that he didn’t hear about before, and can’t, no matter what, discuss him in his own affairs, whether his emotional matters or his fall or his mistakes, so there is a great gap between them and a great distance. He lives at home in earnest as if in an army, there is no space of freedom and discussion, only obedience, and to have a friendship is a great crime.
Michael and Mina succeeded in high school and entered the Faculty of medicine, Mina is in contact with his father constantly takes his opinion and his father in love directs him without repression and teaches him to depend on himself and to grow and mature, Mina succeeded par excellence, and was appointed to the university, and participated in many services consciously without affecting his studies.
While Michael, when he found himself free from the shackles of his father, and when he was exposed to a psychological gap abroad, he found no one to fill it except bad friends, while the church servants tried with him to help and direct his energy towards The Lord Jesus, but he didn’t listen. Then he went from a group to group, and there is no satiety, from cigarettes to addiction, from emotional attachment into sin, and whenever he tries to satisfy, he become more hunger, and from failure to failure, and failed more than once, that he left the Faculty of medicine to Faculty of Commerce, and the failure scenario is repeated again, then addiction, atheism. And there is no need to continue the tragedy!
*And here my father asked me “And you, how are you going to deal with your heavenly father?”
I said: I will deal with him as a father, as a friend, and if it doesn’t exist now, I will wait for it and I won’t be satisfied with routine and form.
Thus, anyone who is content with his relationship with God, our father, by routine and thinks that this is prayer, as soon as possible and in the face of the temptations of evil and evil circles, his fall is easy, but his fall is great, so don’t you surprised when you hear that a servant says that he is an atheist or a servant who left Christ.
I interrupted my father (As if I found an opportunity That I don’t want to miss).
And said: Really you made it clear to me, Father, a mystery that has confused me for a long time, how a great servant, male or female, or even a father (in the history of the church) could fall into a great mess in such things!!
He said: Being content with routine in a relationship with God is dangerous, so in the Book of Revelation, God says to the Bishop of The Laodiceans “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3: 15-16).
I said: What the meaning of cold and hot here, Father?
He said: The cold is the sinner who admits his sin and repents and shouts for freedom, and the hot is like the saints who can’t stand sin, while the lukewarm is the one who is content with his prayers and rituals, with his prayers and his mass, while saying “I’m better than others, thank God I pray )Prime and Vespers and Compline(- Prayers from The Book of Hours “Agpeya”- and not like the people who addicts to drugs or the bad guys.” And To people whom is satisfied, God says ” I will vomit you out of My mouth “, which means that I can’t stand this hypocrisy.
I said: It’s a little confusing, isn’t a person growing up a little in spiritual life, feeling better, meaning isn’t saints feels that they better?
He said: This is the hard equation.
I said: And what is the hard equation?
He said: The more a person grows in the spiritual life, the humbler he becomes. As if someone is wearing clothes with a lot of stains and in a dark place, will these spots appear?
I said: No.
He said: When there is dim lighting, large spots appear, and the more light, the finer details appear. I mean, when you wash your hands, they look clean, but if you put them under the microscope, you’re going to say what’s all these microbes!
Thus, as we approach God and his divine light, the finer details emerge, and we see our sins more and we feel our weakness, so we are humbled and asked God to sanctify us, So he sanctified us, then we go down the path of holiness, and get closer, then see more details, then become more humble, and ask, then sanctified and approach, and thus be a permanent growth in spiritual life and in the way of holiness.
I said: But it’s not a tiring thing that I always see my weakness?
He said: This is the difficulty of the equation, that although I see my weakness, I still don’t enter into the smallness of the soul but gratitude and joy.
I said (Surprised): How!! Joy and gratitude?
He said: Gratitude. Although I’m a sinner and weak, but I’m accepted and loved.
And joy. Because God himself is not just going to accept me, but also every time I make a sin, I’ll return to him, and he will purify me and makes me grow in the way of holiness, even he will bless and reward me like a prodigal son (and this is a very important point that angers Satan, we will take it in detail in the benefits of experiences and distress). While the responsibility of the doctor is to heal the patient, the patient is not healing himself, and our doctor is God and he is very skilled, let us leave ourselves to him and trust that he will heal us, just to admit that we are sinners and continue treatment.
The danger of the stage of habituation is that we take treatment, but we may not recognize that we are sinners, and treatment becomes as if we do god’s a favor, we pray not because we need, but to complete the duties we are content to complete it, as if it concerned or as if we do god’s a favour.
Marco, 14 years old, kept collecting and keeping money from his pocket money, and he collected a good sum, and on March 21 he brought a beautiful gift and went home and said to his mother (as if he humiliated her) ” a gift. A gift from my money, from my pocket money. (Here my father asked; What do you think his mother’s reaction will be?!)
I said (with astonishment): She can throw it away, and tell him “I don’t want anything from you”.
He said: This is clearly reflected in fasting; people moaning for fasting, 55 days fasting, tired. God answers and says, “Son, when you are fasting, you provide me with food!! And also, in prayer, a person prays or finishes attending mass or prayers in the book of Hours “Agpeya”, as if he had distress finished.
I said: Well, I’m doing this, Father, what do I do! Should I stop fasting and praying?
He said: As we mentioned. Don’t stop. But fight these ideas, and don’t be content.
I said: I want one last conclusion, Father, so I don’t get lost?!
He said: The stage of habituation is a stage without feelings without depth, but the whole age will not be like this, just a stage, but I have to go through it and pass it successfully:
**To be honest: I don’t stop praying, under the pretext of not being deep or feeling, but not sufficed about.
**I don’t condemn: I don’t have to brag about the prayer and feel superiority over others, for we are all in need of God’s grace.
**I look forward to the life of the saints: to be like them and not to make a hanger “that I’m a sinner”, to be lazy and sufficient with the routine life with God, so I pass it in peace and joy with Christ.
I said: Are there any stages in prayer after the stage of habituation?
He said: Yes, it is the stage of longing. That’s what we’ll talk about next time with the grace of Christ.
 Egyptian saying.