Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile

Advanced

Re: Finding a Spiritual Father

This forum is currently read only. You can not log in or make any changes. This is a temporary situation.
July 06, 2002 01:22AM
Dear Friends in Christ,

I've seen a couple of the postings on this thread and wanted to respond. It's a good question, and unfortunately in our days a more difficult one than it should be.

James wrote about his disappointing experience in finding a spiritual father, and sadly this is one of the "signs of our times." I believe it was St. Kosmas the Aetolian (18th century) who said that in the last days, a man would have to walk "eight days" to find another living person. Perhaps this has a more literal meaning than I am about to refer to, but one of the meanings of this prophecy is, I believe, the fact that in these later times, it will be very hard for faithful Orthodox Christians to find other faithful believers and especially spiritual guides. This is not the first time in the Church's history that this has been the case. For example, in St. Kosmas' own time, while much of the Orthodox world (in Greece, Serbia and other Balkan countries) was under the yoke of Ottoman Turkish oppression, Orthodox Christians were forgetting their faith and finding it increasingly difficult to find true spiritual guidance. St. Kosmas left his monastery (H.M. Philotheou on Mt. Athos) to wander around Greece and Asia Minor and re-evangelize people and make them aware of their faith. Another example can be found in the book "The Way of the Pilgrim", which describes a faithful Russian Orthodox Christian's journey on foot across Russia in search of spiritual guidance and "prayer of the heart". Sorry for the "history lesson", but all this has direct bearing on the question, since we are also living in times in which spiritual guides are very hard to come by.

So what do we do? One of the things is to find spiritual guidance in reading -- especially writings of the early Church Fathers and the Lives of the Saints. There are so many sources to draw from, both ancient and more contemporary. However, with more modern writings, it's sometimes hard to know how much is really Orthodox and how much has been influenced by other things.

Another thing is to try to find a nearby monastery and develop a spiritual relationship with one of the monks there, especially a priest-monk who can also be a father-confessor. Many times parish priests are too busy or not well-equipped to be true spiritual fathers, whereas a priest-monk might be able to fill that role.

Finally, the best advice I can give is: pray! God does not abandon His people, and if you ask in prayer, with a pure and contrite heart, for Him to send you the right spiritual father for you, He will do it. I can tell you from personal experience that this is the case. I won't bore you with the details of my own story, but at one point 6 years ago or so, I had to move. I was leaving behind my spiritual father whom I had really been close to and helped by, and was so worried about what I would do. I prayed on this for a long time -- I mean months -- but eventually I met my current spiritual father. In fact, it was as if he was sent right to me. One day in my new parish, out of the blue, our parish priest announced that a certain priest would be coming to hear confessions before Christmas that year. I went to see him, and the moment I saw him I knew that he was the one I was looking for. He became my spiritual father as well as my wife's, and we count our blessings every day to have found him.

Anyway, I hope this helps a bit. I know it's not easy, and may even be very discouraging at times. Like James said, sometimes you can even begin to think that these things are not real -- just nice stories. But don't believe that. They are real, and there are some excellent spiritual guides out there. The thing is that you have to have the patience and the determination and the sincerity to "walk eight days"....

My Christ our True God enlighten your path and guide you to a holy and god-pleasing spiritual father.

In Christ,
Damian
Subject Author Posted

Finding a Spiritual Father

Isaac July 05, 2002 03:19AM

Re: Finding a Spiritual Father

James July 05, 2002 12:57PM

Re: Finding a Spiritual Father

James July 05, 2002 02:12PM

Re: Finding a Spiritual Father

Damian July 06, 2002 01:22AM

Re: Finding a Spiritual Father

Isaac July 06, 2002 10:47PM

Re: Finding a Spiritual Father

ron July 07, 2002 12:54AM

Re: Finding a Spiritual Father

Damian July 07, 2002 01:45AM

Re: Finding a Spiritual Father

ron July 08, 2002 12:04AM

Re: Finding a Spiritual Father

Isaac July 08, 2002 02:57PM

Re: Finding a Spiritual Father

ron July 09, 2002 12:28AM

Re: Finding a Spiritual Father

garry January 07, 2004 02:16PM