The prayer Stages… (3) The Longing stage.
Note: To take full advantage of this series, please read the full parts first in order, the lack of arrangement may cause confusion and non-continuity may cause frustration.
Prayer is 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. The second stage is the stage of habituation, and its war is sufficiency and we resist it by being honest and to beware of false glory, condemnation, then look and follow.
This part completes with you the way, and enters with you to the third stage, which is the stage of longing, a stage not only for the saints, but it’s a normal stage for everyone who walks into the spiritual way, he must reach it, and has no end, but every day there is a new in the spiritual life, man enters in a permanent prayer does not end, and begins to taste the eternal life from here, and the image of Christ become printed inside him, so, he begins to accept everyone with love and breadth of heart.
May the Lord give us to continue the path, in meekness, heart’s humility, and to save us from pride and complacency.
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.
On my way to my spiritual father, I found myself, without noticing, repeating inside me, “He forgives me”, “He forgives me”, I looked at myself and said, what am I saying?! I smiled and remembered that it’s the hymn of forgiveness that my father has taught me. How beautiful is the forgiveness, and more beautiful is to imprint the holy words in your mind, and all life becomes for Christ, then I remembered my brother, and how he didn’t start in the spiritual path yet, so I said into myself “poor, that he doesn’t live with God”, and didn’t complete the word until I hit a rock and fell to the ground, and if it were not for God’s mercy, I would have fallen from the mountain and shattered. I arrived, while thanking God, and I didn’t want to tell my father about the fall issue, so, I said today we will continue the stages of prayer, Father?
My father noticed my tension and didn’t want to embarrass me, and said today we will complete the third stage in the stages of prayer, which is:
The longing stage
It is a wonderful stage in the spiritual life, in which prayer becomes love and depth, or rather addiction. There is no forcing to pray, but I run to the church and the Liturgy, but my whole life becomes a prayer.
On the way, during work, and sleep, God becomes the beloved friend who I don’t lose sight of him for a moment, I love standing in prayer, and also when I sit I don’t lose sight of him, I also talk to him while I’m awake, and while sleeping, I dreaming about him, all of that with love, not just routine or habituation, but every word I say, I mean it, realize and feel, I feel him like a father who very close to me and loves me a lot, while I live with him like a little child, who running and playing in front of his father and then jumping into his arms and settling. As you continue and grows at this stage, God becomes my life without him, I can’t live, and with him I live and move, and I find him in all my decisions, and all my work he shares with me.
I said: Great stage, Father, can I get to it?
He said: The student enters school not to continue to study for his whole life, but to come the day to graduate and get the certificate and start working.
Whoever walks in the path of prayer, not to spend all his life in forcing and pain, nor in habituation and boredom, but in order to reach love, depth and pleasure in the Lord, this is the normal gradual path of prayer.
I said: Can a person never tire of this stage or get bored of it?
The prayer is the adherence to God in all moments and situations of life, so that all life becomes one prayer without interruption or disturbance.
St. Basil the Great
He said: Of course, a person can get bored or tire, if this stage has an end. But whenever a person grows in love and longing, he finds depths and depths, the more he drinks from the love of Christ, he quenches, but he wants to drink more and more. And this is a big difference between the evils of the world or the love of sin, and the love of Christ.
I said: How, Father?
He said: The evils and desires of the world, who drinks from it will not be satisfying or quenched, and he will ask for more to feel the pleasure or the first pleasure, and he will not find it. The first cannabis cigarette has a special pleasure, and in order to get this pleasure in the second time he increases the dose, and yet the pleasure decreases, then the dose increases and every time the pleasure decreases and so on …, until the pleasure and enjoyment disappear and the restrictions remain, life becomes just an evil habit, after which it feels frustrated, servitude and humiliation, and so on with all evil, porn movies, and the youthful habits (and these will tell in detail how we are liberating from them by the grace of Christ), all of which begin with great pleasure and then decrease. And the dose increases while the enjoyment decreases, until it becomes without pleasure, just tied me, robbed me of freedom, and made me a slave for a temporary pleasure that ended, whatever the doses.
While with Christ the situation is completely different, starting with fatigue, forcing and then habituation, then we move on to the stage of longing and enjoyment.
And while we grow, pleasure and joy increase, we will be more satisfied and happier, and therefore we will increase prayer, so we rejoice more and satisfied more and so on…, so we will never be bored or never feel bondage, but more freedom and joy that lasts and increases.
Joy is the food of the soul, through which it can resist and trample its enemies, and without it, becomes weak and defeated.
So, I pray not because this is obligatory or ritual, but rather love, I love to speak to God, my Father and my beloved.
I said: I didn’t notice this difference, Father, between spiritual life and the pleasures of the world. I think that if we, as young people, had realized that we would have sacrificed the ephemeral time and began to tire in the spiritual life, but all that has come to us is that throughout our lives, we will continue to tire in the spiritual life, the narrow road and the gloom of the face, and there is no such thing as comfort, freedom, joy or enjoyment that you say about, but strive, fatigue, tears and many sorrows here in life, and there in heaven we either arrive or never arrive, which making inside us a heavy burden, and not accepting spiritual life.
He said: Indeed, my son, misconceptions, or incomplete concepts of the spiritual life, which made it heavier, bored and sad, and made people alienated it. But let us return to the words and teachings of Christ, to look at the saints and their joy, to be free from Satan’s tricks, lies and intimidation, and not to listen to the words of people who have not experienced or lived spiritual life, they’re trading in piety and pretending to be religious (1 Timothy 6:5).
“It shall come to pass in the day the LORD gives you rest from your sorrow, and from your fear and the hard bondage” (Isaiah 14 :3), “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 29 – 30), “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8: 10), “So that you surely rejoice.” (Deuteronomy 16: 15), “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4: 4), “Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalms 37: 4), “For then you will have your delight in the Almighty, and lift up your face to God.” (Job 22: 26).
I said: Forgive me, Father, as you are based on the verses, they are also based on verses?
He said (smiling): We don’t deny the verses on which they are based, but we return to them at the first stage “the stage of Forcing” and fatigue, but not all the life is tired, not all the life with Christ is bitter and bored.
But at the beginning, the person lives according to the body, he needs a change to live according to the spirit, at first, the body prefers sleeping and laziness, but after a period of forcing and habituation, prayer becomes all the time, but the whole life becomes a prayer, and attending the Mass, the source of joy and consolation, even if the body is tired or sick, you find the person without any pressure go to the Mass and prayer, with joy and pride, and if you say to him, “Take a rest, you’re sick!” He says, “I’m relieved, I’m happy just like that”.
Whoever confines life with Christ to the first period of fatigue and pain, either that he only knows this stage and never exceed it, or that Satan uses these thoughts to intimidate people from spiritual life so that they don’t walk in it.
I said: Isn’t the period of fatigue here on earth, and rest is in the heaven?
He said (smiling): When The Lord Jesus said to his disciples “But I will see you again and your heart will rejoice” (John 16 :22), he didn’t say when you died, but on earth, and when the Apostle Paul said “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4: 4), there were people living on earth, and he was in prison, and The Lord Jesus said, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8: 36), he didn’t mean after death.
I said: Forgive me, Father, I have two questions.
He said: Go ahead.
I said: How can we be happy in distress?” As you mentioned, the Apostle Paul was in prison and said, “Rejoice!”. There is no distress in the stage of longing and pleasure, or what?
He said: As long as we in the world, the distress exists, and it is for all people, believers and non-believers, but when man grows in spiritual life, his nature becomes stronger, and his relationship is deeper with the Lord who dominates the world, who gives confidence, faith and joy in distress. Like a child who carrying 2 kilos, he feels it so heavy, but when he becomes a young man, he doesn’t feel anything, so as children in the spiritual life, the distress tire us, but when we grow up we don’t tire, but realize the importance and benefits of distress, and these we will explain in details later.
I said: Great. The second question. You talked about freedom a lot, does “when the Son frees you, you will be free” mean that, when I enter the stage of longing, I will not make a mistake and be completely free from sin?
He said: At the beginning of spiritual life, there is an external war of Satan and the world, and an internal war of ancient nature, but when we grow in spiritual life we are liberated internally (and that gradually, begins with the entry into the stage of longing) but the external war still exists, but when man is liberated internally he rejoices and feels blessed and strong, and also if he is lazy or feels pride, he will fall again, and these are the wars of the stage of longing.
He said: As long as we in the world, Satan will not stop his wars with us, but at the beginning of spiritual life, when the war is inside and out, man become so tired and says “It’s all over my head”, but when the war is only from outside, the person relaxes from within, feels joy and a constant connection with Christ.
All the virtues that we possess with fatigue, if we neglect to do them, are lost with time.
St. Isaac the Syrian
The first war is
The War of Complacency
I said: And after a person reaches the stage of longing, and a sense of God’s love, he will be complacent?
He said: Yes, but complacency is different from the complacency in the stage of forcing, because I don’t yet realize the importance of prayer and attachment to God, but the complacency in the stage of longing is the result because I became better than many, because I realized and knew everything, so the person starts to slacken depending on his awareness and his first feelings.
Majid is one of the top students in high school, he entered the faculty of medicine. But he is complacent, relying on his superiority, fame and potentials, so he didn’t hear the advice and didn’t care, he is one of the first in the country, and he isn’t interested in studying this simple and trivial subjects for him, so when he entered the exam, he wasn’t ready, so he failed. That’s why the Bible says “See then that you walk circumspectly” (Ephesians 5:15), “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12), “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8), “Watch and pray” (Mark 14:38).
I’m going to tell you a story that happened to someone, It’s a little weird, but real?
I said (smiling): Most stories are weird, Father?
He said: A person who said that at the beginning of adolescence the devil began to fight him with evil thoughts and looks – like any one of us – but he was praying and fasting a lot, so he came up with the idea that he became a saint and that evil looks can’t tire him, but that a spiritual ray comes out of his eyes to sanctify people and scenes, and don’t effect on him, but he affects and sanctify them, and instead of running away from the pitfalls he began to look for them to be sanctified, and after a while he began to tire, without knowing the reason.
At the same level, young people who are complacent in preserving their senses, say they will not fall into sin.
I said: You mean that the person is hiding, Father, so he looks at the ground and doesn’t greet anyone in order to stay good?
He said: There no need to be upset or to matter enlarge. It’s simple, everyone knows himself, who feels that he fights with desires, starts to check his behaviors, instead of falling gradually, without knowing. St. Anthony says “Don’t fill your eyes from the face of a woman”, and The Black Saint Moses says “Don’t hold your companion’s hand unnecessarily.”
I said: Maybe, about looking is accepted, but what about touch (your companion’s hand!) it’s a little weird!
He said: Believe me, it’s not weird, there is a war called the war of homosexuality in (Genesis 19:5) and (Romans 1:27) and it begins with touch, and this we will discuss in detail and know its causes and how to overcome it?
Start by behaving with precision, so you aren’t becoming in a range of enemy arrows. The person who walks in the street with a little money and a cheap mobile doesn’t worry much, but who walks with thousands of pounds will be attentive, and who walks with millions of pounds and some jewelry on the way to the bank is more attentive and alert and doesn’t walk in suspicious streets or places where dangerous and take guards with him. Thus, whoever grows in the spiritual life is more careful and precision, but let me tell you, this is an indicator of growth.
I said: How is that, Father?
He said: Whoever follows without scrutiny, this does not grow in the relationship with God, or even if he has depth, he is in danger.
I said: Does this mean that someone who grows and enters the stage of longing becomes more complicated, or begins to bother people and despise them?
The Pride War
He said: Exactly, my son, this is the second war:
Whoever begins to realize the glory of Christ and the depth of prayer and the sweetness of living with God, Satan will not fight him with laziness, because it will be an obvious game and will not fight him with bored, because he tasted and knew the meaning of grace, but he fights him with pride and tells him “You become good, you knew the meaning of grace and freedom you….”, and he is honest in all his words.
I said: Honest!!!
He said: Yes indeed, man has really improved and began to realize freedom, joy and depth, but Satan doesn’t tell the whole truth. All this talk is true, but with the grace of Christ and by the power of Christ, but he alone is weak and poor, and also one of the indicators of growth in spiritual life is That anyone who approaches The Lord Jesus has his image, the Lord Jesus is friendly and humble-hearted, and who approaches him, takes his image, the Lord Jesus was merciful and accepted the weak and the sinners. So, anyone who grows his heart is widening and loves everyone and prays for them, helps and encourages them to pass the stages of growth, and be like the big brother who helps his little brother to walk, but who despises his brother because he is young and still crawling, the grace is away from him and becomes a source of fatigue for his brothers, and to the Lord Jesus and the Bible says ” God resists the proud ” (1Peter 5:5), so the grace vanishes from him, and enters into a severe war, and this we will discuss when we talk about the dead mouse, which is the most difficult war in spiritual life.
And know, my son, that these stages are overlapping, so it is possible on the stage of Forcing, to taste some of the pleasure and spiritual joy, and it is possible after you reach to Habituation, you’re getting a little slack, that takes you back to the forcing stage again, it’s overlapping stages, but there are general features of each stage, and know that the stage of Forcing, expresses a great love for Christ that may be more than the other stages.
I said: How is this, while I’m without feelings and without focus?
Reaching a high spiritual level is not a goal in our worship, but we worship with gratitude, because the spiritual level does not concern us and it does not occupy our minds. Rather, whenever we look to who slain for us, we long to be slaughtered for love in him, this is true worship.
St. John Chrysostom
He said: In the pleasure and longing, you enjoy being with Christ and his love, and company with him, and peace, joy and tears, and in the stage of Habituation, you are used to it and you can’t pray, you feel guilty, but the forcing stage, you don’t feel love and pleasure if you pray, and you will not feel guilty if you don’t pray, it means that you pray, that you are forcing yourself, and doing what Your body and soul don’t like, all that for the sake of your longing for a true relationship with Christ, this is a proof of your great love, as it expresses your seriousness and your true need for a relationship with Jesus, ” It’s not random”, I try to pray and if I don’t benefit, I will not pray again “ I will pray, whatever happened to me”. But those who don’t persevere, and get bored quickly, take nothing at all, because this doesn’t matter much to them. Look, my son, in the study period, we wait and be patient more than 16 years to get a certificate, and in order to have a real relationship with Christ you don’t Want to be patient! God loves you at any point. But In the stage of Forcing, you need more support and help.
I said: Oh, I didn’t think that the stage of forcing was that important!
He said: We still have an important term in the stages of prayer that we go through sometimes, which is “the silent”, and do you know what is it?
I said: I don’t know exactly what it is, but I have heard it before?
He said, smiling: I don’t know it either, but I know that they say when a human doesn’t speak or react to speech or events! (He doesn’t respond).
I said: Yes, that’s what I know, too, but what does it have to do with the spiritual life?
He said: There are times when there are tears, prayers and feelings, other times, no feelings, no emotions, just words. While Other times come, there are no feelings, no emotions, not even words, in front of you the Gospel and next to you the Agpeya (book of hours), and you can’t, but even the simplest speech, you can’t say.
I said (surprised): Fine, these are periods I go through, Father, even if they are on distant days, but it’s come to me, what should I do?! These are periods when I am very spiritually tired, and I think that God is far from me, or that I’m the one who stayed away from him!!
He said: No, son, this is a very normal stage in the spiritual life and we all enter it, but because many don’t know it! they feel guilty and think that they are far from God and that he is mad at them, but in these periods you sit in the church, or in your room, sit calm just look at the image of Christ, and say to him:
Today I’m “silent” I can’t talk, but I miss sitting with you. You talk, Lord, is it every day I speak? You speak today, Lord.”
I said: Is this a prayer, Father?
He said: Yes, my son, this is a very strong and acceptable prayer, make sure, my son, that Jesus loves you all the time, and tells you; I love you even if you are like “The silent”.
Prayer is not just words, the tear of the eye is a prayer, the heartbeat is a prayer, the feeling of the presence of God is a prayer.
Pope Shenouda III
Once a businessman was in his office at home, he was too busy with phone calls and writing reports, and he was surprised by his 10-year-old son sitting with him in the office. And he said; “Do you need something, my beloved?” He said; no, thank you, Daddy. He said; “Do you need to talk to me about something?” He said; no, Daddy, I just came to sit with you for a while. The father said to him; “But I’m so busy now!” The son said; no problem, it’s enough to be next to you, Daddy. So, the father embraces his son. Who came not to ask for something or to take advice, but only to be next to his father!
Thus, Jesus will be so happy with you, my son, if you sit with him, even if you say nothing, and embrace you as this father did with his son.
Christ is more merciful than any father
I said (While I’m full of joy because Jesus loves me even if I’m “Silent”) : Thank you, Father, for explaining to me something important that was causing me a terrible feeling of guilt. And I’m not going to say I want practical training at the longing stage, because I haven’t reached it yet, but I’m asking again, because I want to get to it, is it really possible or just for the saints, and how do I know I’ve reached it?
He said: First of all, there is no practical training for the stage of longing, but there are indications, at this stage all life becomes a prayer, as the Bible says: “But I give myself to prayer.” (Psalms 109: 4), also says: ” That men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). Also: “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5: 17), ” Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.” (Psalms 119: 97).
The first indicator of the longing stage:
All our matters, become a prayer, which means, I do it for Jesus.
I said: by the way, Father, you said that you’ll tell me a story, “For Charlie” when you mentioned a term “For Jesus” but you haven’t told me yet.
He said: I like your present mind, son, and that you don’t forget anything, especially about stories, and I hope it’s in all our training as well.
As for the story “For Charlie”, in the second World War there was a soldier from France named Charlie, fighting with the Allied Forces. Charlie’s father has a restaurant in France, so any soldier Comes down on vacation and enters the restaurant, pays nothing. When the soldier tries to give him money, the father refuses and tells him; “may lord be with you, with Charlie and with all of you”. The other soldiers know, so whoever has a vacation, he went to visit the restaurant of Charlie’s father, “because he knows that he won’t pay anything”.
I said: In France, too!!
He said: Everywhere like this, One day a soldier went to the restaurant at 9:00 Pm, surprisingly, he found it closed, It was supposed to close at to 10:00 Pm, He knocked on the door, so Charlie’s little brother came down- their apartment was above the restaurant- He said to him, “Daddy closed the restaurant early today because he is a little bit tired” The soldier said: I wanted him in a different matter not for the restaurant”, the boy came in and went out and said, “Daddy apologizes, he can’t meet anyone today”, So he said, tell him, I have a letter from Charlie I want to give it to him, The boy entered with a shout “Daddy, Daddy, he is from Charlie’s side, with a letter from Charlie”.
The father quickly came down and opened up to the soldier, took him in his arms and said; “How are you? And how is Charlie?”, the soldier reassures him and said, “Charlie is with me in the same battalion and he’s okay, and he sent you this letter”. Quickly the father opened the letter “I’m Charlie, how are you all? I’m fine, I need your prayers, and this is my friend in the army, he is just like a brother; Please take care of him for Charlie.” They served him dinner and asked him to stay with them this night, he said, “thank you all they are just two days and I should go to see my family.” They got him to the train station, and when they wanted to buy him a ticket, he said, “I have one,” the father saw it and said “This is a second class,” so he told his son to book him a first-class ticket, So he bid farewell and thanked them says, “Thank you for your love and your effort”, they said, “Don’t mention it, it is nothing, for the sake of Charlie”, “May Lord be with you and with Charlie, too.”
Thus, when I love Jesus, I live for him. He created me and made me live in this life to work on it and to fruit and glorify his name, all what I do is for him, as if He was with me. Actually, He is with me, I do it for Him, so these things make me happy, no matter how heavy and tiring they are.
I said: Is there a biblical basis for these things, Father?
He said: Yes, son, the Book says: “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15). And after the fall we were expelled from paradise and we became in misery and tiredness but Christ turned this misery into joy. He said: “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”, verily all our things we do for the Lord have a great and profound meaning. The Apostle Paul says: “I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.” All our things we do for the Lord have a great and profound meaning, the Apostle Paul says: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
So, our lives are for Jesus, our lives have a great and profound meaning, when you Offering a glass of water to a friend is different when you give it to a priest, when to the bishop or to the Pope himself. The glass of water is the same, but the meaning is different, for those you have given it to. So, when you offer all your life to Christ, all your small and simple work you do for Christ, here you begin to enter the stage of longing.
Then your life has meaning, everything you do, no matter how simple, becomes very great, because you present it to God Himself, so Jesus become your life. (Deuteronomy 30:20) “In him was life.” (John1:4), He came to give us life (John 10:10). So, your life becomes attached to Christ, as it’s written: “That you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life” (Deuteronomy 30:20). You rejoice in Christ and you start to taste the kingdom and the new life, so your life becomes not just rituals and prayers that you are forcing yourself to do and recited, or just a spiritual system that you put yourself in, but your whole life becomes a prayer, you can’t get enough talking with Jesus, in all your work you find him next to you, he is a permanent and beloved friend.
(I interrupted my father and said to him): And is there really no boredom at this point?
He said: This is the second indicator of the longing stage.
I said: What is it?
He said: The second indicator is:
Increase The time and not get bored of praying.
I said: Is this possible, Father?
He said: Have you seen anyone who’s engaged before (means, in the engagement phase)?
I said: yes.
He said: Did you see him how he talks for hours and not getting bored? If such a love takes hours, what they say in those long hours, and this is a limited human relationship; What about God who is unlimited and his love is vast and endless. The more you know him, the more you want to stay with him, he has a lot to tell you, he has the never-ending to tell you, the closer you get to him, the deeper you find out, there’s no boredom.
Like a newly graduated doctor with Dr. Magdi Yacoub, the more he stays with him, the more he learns something new. The student is impressed with his teacher, the student doesn’t want to stop learning and the teacher’s information doesn’t end.
Our relationship with God is not information and words, or just feelings, something that can’t be described or expressed in words. Something in another language that is not written or said, for God is a spirit and those who pray in the Spirit are the only ones who live it and know it. And when they live that, they give up this world and live in it for him, and within them are longing to go towards him for his eternal union, which is never going to an end.
As if a travelling father and his son met after so many years, the son screams and says: “daddy,” and the father screams and takes him in his arms and says: “my son this is my beloved son.” This is eternity, and at the stage of longing we begin to taste it from here (Ephesians1:14).
And when they are in the flesh, they are not sad or depressed, they live for him. Their small things before the big ones have meaning, and they can’t lose the name of Christ for a moment. The image of Christ is imprinted on their minds and their hearts, and within them there is a deep longing and a great love for those who wait for him in hope.
I said: You’re speaking of highly stages for me, Father, Am I really going to reach those stages, or are they just for the saints, and how can I get to them?!
He said: It is for Christians. If you are a Christian, it is yours. Christ’s purpose is to unite with him, to love him with all our hearts, all our thoughts, and all our lives are his. And this comes if we accept that “He loved us as well”, love that there is not greater than it. He gave us his life, so we have to give him our lives; we have to accept his life and his love first, He loved us as sinners. And this is one of the difficult starting point we’ve talked about a lot before.
I said: Bear my weakness, Father and tell me more.
He said: We accept that God loves us if we pray, fast, and if we don’t fall into sin for days or weeks, but while we are falling into sin, especially if sins concerning the body, we are impure and rejected, or at least we may be accepted as the slaves. But With regard to open hugs, rich love and the reward of return, “shoes, robes and slaughtered calf,” we have no share in it, “we hope He’s satisfied with us.”
Some people think that they are not sinners like adulterers and those who fall into masturbation and ugly things; they are religious, praying, fasting, serving deacons and Sunday schools. They also don’t feel the sense of love or acceptance, only the patient knows the meaning and importance of the word ‘doctor’, while no matter what a person sound that he appreciates a doctor, it’s abstract knowledge with no feelings and no real awareness, and This awareness or feelings will only be if he enters into a sickness, and the higher the severity of the disease, the greater his knowledge and need for a doctor.
I said: What’s the solution, Father?
He said: For those who feel that they are impure and sinners must trust in full forgiveness, full means 100%, to be confident that every weakness will become a strength point and to wait and beg for it. And to know that God loves them as he loved the saints and will change them as Moses the Black, Mary of adultery and Augustine the dissolute, have changed into Saints.
If they don’t have this confidence of forgiveness and the confidence of acceptance, but also the confidence of change and waiting for it, so they don’t expect anything from themselves and they will remain impure. The demons play with them and humiliate them, and they may think that they are humble, but this is not humbleness, but the humiliation and a loss that grieves the heart of Christ and hurts him. Because He came to save, to free, and to turn the sinners into saints and wicked to righteous.
I said: And, if they fall again?
He said: Did I say that they will be justified in a moment! Did I tell you to raise your hands up and you have got rid of sin and you will never fall into it!! The spiritual life is a way, not a step, a life that is lived and not a moment of feelings that affects you, and feelings gone while we stay in our frustration and despair, and we think that God tricked us.
He said the righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, means, that we will walk in the path of holiness, with hope to change, but on the way, we are accepted and our sins are forgiven, to strive with all our strength and to call on God with all our energy, to escape the causes of sin with all our means, and if we fall, we say it’s our mistake, Lord Jesus, and accept full forgiveness, and we strive again.
So, God pleases me and say don’t be afraid, my beloved, I’m with you to continue the road and it will be a day when I will relieve you of all your tiredness and all your drops. You will pass by the forcing stage, habituation, then you will reach the longing stage, then your life will be heaven on earth. Just be patient, with your patience you get the wreath, and with hope you get complete joy.
I said: Whatever my sin was, Father?!
He said: Whatever your sin, adultery, homosexuality, atheism, masturbation, ugly words, impure thoughts, struggle and walk in the road, and trust that Jesus became your guarantor. “By so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.” (Hebrews7:22). He’s the one who guarantees you access. “Therefore, He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews7:25), leave yourself in his hands, don’t worry or afraid, and don’t expect salvation in a moment, this is an illusion, my son; you will not reach the stage of longing in a moment.
The beginning is really in an instant, I rejected and disbelieved Satan and all his ways and all his works, but I’ll strive and say “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy (sin): when I fall, I shall arise” (Micah7:8). I die in striving, better than to live in falling.
Don’t be satisfied or content until you reach a real relationship with Christ, a real longing, so don’t be deceived by Satan when he tells you, “This is a stage for the saints only,” No, it’s a stage for all Christians, those who have something to do with Christ.
I said: Those who feel they are hopeless and sinners, what about those who don’t feel that because they are servants, and they pray and fast?
He said: Those are more difficult than the first ones.
I said: Is it harder than who falls into impure sins, Father?
He said: Yes, my son, Jesus himself had difficulty dealing with them.” Because they think that they are righteous, but, of course, they say ‘sinners’ just to be humble, and so on. I mean they couldn’t say they are saints, but they feel they are better than others, the impolite bad people.
I said: Is there a solution to such a situation?
He said: First, to remember that everyone is corrupted, we are all corrupt, and there is no need to be proud, and If we say that we don’t make mistakes, then, the right is not in us. Forgiveness is in the blood of Christ, not by our personal striving. If there weren’t God’s mercy and grace, then everyone is mortal, and it isn’t by repeated prayers or fasts.
Secondly, to remember that the condemnation is a sin and not only the condemnation of speaking, but also condemnation of thought. The Pharisee condemned the publican in his mind and not in front of people. Condemnation is not only sin, but great sin, because it expresses the existence of pride which the Book said about “God resists the proud” (James 4:6), and He doesn’t say;
God resists the impure and the adulterers, on the contrary, he was accepting them.
And this is the third indicator of the longing stage:
I said: What is it, Father?
He said: The third indicator is
No condemnation and a broad heart to faraway people.
Who grows in spiritual life, approaches The Lord Jesus, in which his image is imprinted and becomes looks like him, and the Lord Jesus was kind and affectionate to sinners, even those who were caught doing the sin!
In one of the conference houses the priest in the conference was passing by the rooms at night, and in the corridor there was a guy watching a pornographic movie on the laptop, the father saw him, but he didn’t embarrass him, but he pretended that he didn’t notice anything, and said to him with caring and love words, “Hope to see you in the mass at morning”, then they shook hands, left him and walked. The young man could not bear the love of this father, he could not sleep, and he kept turning on the bed for more than two hours, how didn’t the father reproach him, how didn’t he embarrass him, but invited him to the Holy liturgy?! And he told himself, “This is a wonder love. I have just attacked this father in the meeting and I was trying to embarrass him with questionable questions, and I was coming to the conference to spread the ideas of atheism! He didn’t rest until he went to the father, woke him up and apologized, confessed and gave repentance, so the father took him in his arms and told him to share in the Holy Communion in the mass.
I said: Great love. And honestly, we the young people resist who resist us, and those who accepting us, we love. But what is the remedy of condemnation and non-acceptance?
He said: The most important treatment is not just a cure, but also protective. That everyone should take that, not only those who are in the stage of longing, but also those who are in the habituation and forcing stages, too.
I said: What is it, Father?
Asposide of the spiritual life
“God, let me know the ugliness of my sin, and let me accept your love.”
He said: It’s what we’ve mentioned before, which is the “Asposide”, that’s to say every day, “every day, not some or most”. Every day with good morning, “God let me know the ugliness of my sin and let me accept your love”. Those who are at grim wars say it 50 times a day, and we will add the “dead mouse” treatment after we take it.
I said: I notice you, Father, focuses on short prayers and repeating them certain times?
He said: First, because short prayers are clear, specific prayers and requests, in many times we ask and after the prayer we feel that, “I don’t know what I’m asking or waiting for.” But short prayers, (I asked for this and want this and waiting for this) – (Love_ Humility _ Purity _Peace_…etc.)
As for repetition, it is in the Holy Bible, the Bible says: “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalms1:2). And also, God recommends Moses and says “Speak in the words of this law, when you sit, when you walk, when you sleep.”
And to Joshua, “To speak the words of this law, day and night.”
Repetition expresses insistence, such as a friend of the night, the woman and the judge of injustice. Repetition expresses great need, while those who don’t need, ask once or twice, then forget, while other things distract him, but those who need it don’t forget. The patient doesn’t forget his need for treatment or the hungry his need for food. As we are forcing ourselves in the first place and committing ourselves to certain demands, and with growth and Gradation you will find yourself doing it joyfully and constantly it becomes a reflective reaction.
I said: What does a reflex reaction mean?
He said: When you connect it to frequent things you do, like good morning with washing your face, by time whenever the water comes on your hands you find yourself saying “God, let me love you….” Even in the evening, when you sleep you find yourself remembering to introduce repentance and trust in forgiveness, and when you eat, you say, “Lord, fill me with the Holy Spirit”, when you descend the stairs, you remember the hymn of forgiveness, and so on; We will take a lot of practical training when we talk about the secret of the prayer response.
I said: Oh, the curriculum is not just spiritual, but it has psychological parts.
He said: Human’s life is an integrated life physically, psychologically and spiritually, and God takes full care of us in all our lives, and we have to deal with ourselves on that basis. Therefore, the subject of the link and the subject of repetition is very important, and each training has a psychological, spiritual depth that we have not discussed, but this is a fact, my son, and this approach are an experimental approach that many have tried before it becomes a practical approach.
For example, when I told you spiritual “bullying”, I said 50 times a day. Have you kept doing that?
I said: Yes, Father, I’ve been doing this for a couple of days, then I’ve forgotten. I thought you were just encouraging me and it’s not a literal exercise.
He said: No, son, every training has meaning and depth, not encouraging talk or entertain. Please go back to the “bullying”. “I don’t care. Jesus loves me.” When you repeat it, you find yourself taking strength against despair, the worries of life, Satan’s wars and the fears of the future. You will feel a true love for Christ, the Holy Bible says: “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans10:10). When you confess with your trust in Christ and his love, you take a strange power and grace.
Frankly, this training gives healing to the reluctant, frightened soul which has been affected by harsh upbringing and trauma from people.
Please try it and also don’t forget the Asposide training, and the rest of the things we agreed on. And Always remember, that practical things won’t benefit if you just read it and don’t try.
I leave you now and next time we complete the mystery of the prayer response.
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