Learning to Pay

From the time of Jesus Christ, the Holy Apostles and early Patristic Fathers, the Church has always centered its worship: work, moral and ethical approach on the virtues to which each of us must struggle toward in this life for the life to come.  In order for this to happen, as both Holy Scripture and the holy fathers point out time after time, the Christian struggler must daily be involved in all life as acts of Repentance, Forgiveness and Thanksgiving which involve meditation, prayer, confession, penance, absolution and participating in the Holy Mysteries of Communion.

Because of Protestant America's turning toward synchrestic ecumenism in these later times, the very word "WORSHIP" oft times bring to mind such thoughts equal to that of a specialized form of entertainment that can be found in many a theater.  Yes, this is what some have offered as their opinion and their belief as a result of their going to view the on-going activities and actions of those churches, even many of the "Catholic" (Roman) Churches today.

In the minds of most true Orthodox Catholic Christians, "WORSHIP" has a vast different meaning and understanding that allow no room for ideas and thoughts of a Sunday 'Entertainment' session as exists in most Protestant and some Roman Catholic churches.

Those who are practicing Orthodox Catholic Christians, East and West, have little difficulty in recognizing the holistic implications for the next life while in this life.  Protestant, on the other hand, have trouble with this understanding because they were raised and became accustomed to such in their daily diet and habits of thought, words and actions that are inconsistent with a true Christian struggler's understanding.

A Christian learns early in life the Ten Commandments of God, as do Protestants:

  1. I am the Lord your God; you shall have no other gods before me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself graven images.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it Holy.
  5. Honor your father and mother.
  6. You shall not kill.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness.
  10. You shall not covet.
From these Commandments, we learn that  Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, the Word of God made flesh, teaches us many things that are not only consistent with the Ten Commandments, but go further.  Therefore if one is truly "Christian" (of Christ, Jesus) - - - then it is He that is the prize of great price.

Therefore a true Orthodox Catholic Christian gains an understanding of the Ten Commandments through pain of heart struggling for the virtues which teaches us:

That PRIDE is the lack of humility not befitting a creature of God, meaning those who profess Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Yet, we find that false pastors, priests, bishops and self-proclaimed bishops are filling the ranks of churches who follow (practice) such ego oriented attitudes and approaches which limit and inhibit Holy Spirit in our lives, being more the very things they claim to protest.

GREED is the having of too great a desire for position, power, and money (gold and silver), but also for such worldly goods that encompass an individual's self-image by any means.

One may LUST, as referring to the sexual passions of the flesh, the desire for things and people to gratify one's own propensities of the flesh.  Lust is the impure and unworthy desire for something not only evil, but those things which lead one into evil thoughts, words and actions.

To allow one's self to have or hold ANGER would seem to be a part of the human condition.  Remember, that in man's community of understanding, the human being, as flesh, is an 'animal'.  Anger is a result of one's animal instincts, animal nature, which can and should be brought into submission to the Will of God: brought under control by the honest daily struggle of the individual; to be intentionally eradicated by the honest struggler in this life our of pain of heart for the Glory of God!  Anger is a form of violence which eventually leads to physical violence beyond the mental and emotional violence of thoughts, involving even lust!  Even Greed!  Even Pride! and more!

These things lead to, and sometimes lead from, GLUTTONY!  this is often viewed as a habit of eating or drinking too much, but actually involves much more.

Gluttony is the desire and action for wanting too much sex, clothes, food, money (Greed), control over others, and worse.  Gluttony can be, also, the desire for one to want to make themselves appear more than what they are.  One of those desires involves self-image.  Being concerned, overly so, with how one impresses others instead of being self at all times, everywhere.  To want to make one's self appear to others out of context from that of the real self is not only a form of gluttony, but of greed and vanity to increase either political or religious, even social... standing over others; to enhance one's image or to increase in one's self image toward others that which is does not truly exist.  In short, failure to EARN that which one desires, but to attempt to take by force of will, not God's, that which one does not truly deserve.

When we consider these various grievous sins, we don't always recognize or realize that each one is tied to, and actually interacts either directly or indirectly (or in tandem) with the other sins.

When we realize these truths, we may also realize that SLOTH is there also.  Sloth is viewed as a laziness that keeps us from doing our duty to God and Man.  Sloth is more than narrow definition given by us and by the Church.  It can be habitual, an action (or lack of it) in which we refuse or purposefully ignore doing for God and/or Man (another) that which we can do for ourselves in the home, in worship, and in society, even at work.

While we haven't presented these grievous sins in any particular order, we have saved ENVY as the last of the Seven Grievous sins for a reason.

Whether conscious or unconscious, Envy has been found to be a primary factor for why the other sins manifest in ones self.  Envy of the appearance of others; their ability to 'magnetically' attract others, to obtain money, to have a more pleasing appearance, to have material wealth in property or other things, to have knowledge of things more than others; all of which causes for one to believe that which they lack in 'self-esteem' AND worse.  So many of these sins are alter egos of the other and interact in the individual.

Law Enforcement Specialist, Laborer, Farmer, Secretary, Wife, Husband, Son, Daughter, Judge, Lawyer, Bishop, Priest, Pastor, Monk, or Nun... ALL of us cannot, at some point in our lives, if we profess and claim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior... not a one of us can claim that we are exempt of sin-less!  No one except the most ludicrous of persons would avoid or exempt themselves or deny this truth! No One! No one is exempt in spirit and truth!  Yet, there are those who, claiming they have these frailties and faults in themselves, show by their actions that they deny these truths for themselves because they are using the proverbial 'rose-colored' glasses of the mind's eye as to how they view themselves which is a great sin!

To overcome these sins, to eradicate them from self, there is only one way and one way only!

True repentance involve confession, meditation, prayer, strong prayer coupled with a very specific form of penance depending on the sin(s), and definite forgiveness of self and by self toward others and asking forgiveness from others who may be involved in the sin whether by thought, word or deed (action).  And, only in the Church can this be accomplished for the Church is the alter ego of Christ, Jesus, when the duly ordained priest is present in the Holy Mystery of Penance as Christ, through Holy Spirit, is present.

Ironically, if you are someone who is in a position of prominence and authority who has experienced rejection by those of either your parish, church or jurisdiction; consider wisely all that has been said thus far.  You, as a human being, are just as guilty as the average every-day person who comes to you for counseling.  You need to resolve within yourself these very same issues, through the very same avenue as the average person.  You need to resolve these issues before you dare give counsel or hear the confession of another!  You must truly struggle with yourself to overcome these character flaws in spirit and truth!  Confession alone will not wipe out the habitual forms of the sins, but will prepare to arm you with those tools that aide in their eventual eradication of such sins mentioned.

If you, as a lay person, are making comparison by association of those sins with others; DO NOT GO TO THE EXTREME of making vocal or written judgments against anyone.  But should you feel that such befits someone who may be a priest or clergyman known to you personally as your father confessor or a teacher or spiritual elder, or anyone in lawful authority; flee from them and go to another who is not afraid to admit error in themselves.  Go to them whom you truly know is humble, not arrogant, to them who are not superficial.  Deny yourself further association with those whom you flee from until they have taken positive action to correct those sins in them self as you would correct in yourself the same, if present; lest you fall into the same or more grievous pit of sin.  Uncorrected, unrepentant, unforgiving; they will eventually manipulate you, whether intentional or not, into a greater fall.

Worship is not a Seventh Day activity alone.  Worship  is an every day activity which is culminated on the Seventh Day through true worship as a community in the offering and participation in Divine Liturgy where all the faithful worship God in Spirit and Truth!

One needs to be concerned with what worship really is, and what it means beyond giving lip service alone; requiring a full commitment and participation in true worship with the heart, the mind and the soul where all the elements of confession, repentance, penance and forgiveness are manifest out of sincerity, not just actions or an exercise for sake of appearance to please family and society.  True Worship on Sunday is not a time for entertainments in Church settings.  But a full commitment to true worship in spirit and truth is required!

Do not be like the Protestants who manipulate Holy Scripture (especially the Old Testament) to arrive at false conclusions that worship allows for such entertainments in Worship: speaking gibberish tongues not sanctioned neither by the Church (Seven Ecumenical Councils) nor the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ and the Holy Apostles.  If God wanted entertainment, it is very much doubted He would need human entertainments for worship which we can be sure is disgusting to His sight on High as compared to the Glory given Him by the Holy Archangels, Cherubim and Seraphim.

In Orthodox Catholic Christian Churches where it is said lies its attraction to spiritual beauty on earth, it is those things done that have been perceived in the light of the Cross of Christ and experienced with mental and emotional tears from the heart by which the individual opens himself before God, joining himself with his fellow brethren to become wholly filled with peace as a foretaste of the experience of the Kingdom of God!

It for this reason that the Divine Liturgy offered is in itself oft times felt to be a creation of the heavenly atmosphere on earth once the Liturgy is understood, along with its Biblical and historical formation, participate in by the communion of the faithful.

In order to truly worship in spirit and truth, one needs to recognize that there is a definite continuity and unity between the Old and the New Testaments, as well as between the whole Bible and the Life of the Church which is the faithful themselves who take to heart the words and teachings, the very life of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

To understand the New Testament means we cannot ignore the nineteen centuries of Israel's history that prepared His coming and which are recounted to us in the Old Testament.  In the same way, the person of the Lord, Jesus, can only be understood today through the revelation of the Spirit.  It is Jesus Christ who fulfills the Old Testament, thus it is Him, His life and Teachings which must take precedence in our active daily struggles (thoughts, words and actions).

We can enter into communion with Jesus Christ only insofar as we live in and with Him in and through the Church.  This double reality provides us with a method that is lived and practiced in worship and in so far as is possible, according to one's own nature and degree of ability in daily life today!  This Worship is in Spirit and Truth!

True worship must therefore come from the heart and soul in the true Church.  Not hand clapping, speaking gibberish under the false belief it is of the Holy Spirit (for it is not), hip gyrations and the feeble instruments of human invention which are surpassed by that of Heaven's own!  For those churches who allow human entertainments before their altars, during worship, and even after - - - where the altar of God is defiled: they mock God in spirit and truth.  Worship is in vain!  They unknowingly worship Antichrist in mockery to God!  In return, their vain worship is reward enough and thus they have become like Judas Iscariot who received his pay!

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