I will be a guest on Ancient Faith Radio with Elissa Bjeletich on Dec. 15th for her live call-in show. To listen live, you go to ancientfaith.com and on the right-hand side just a little way down the page, you click on the “Listen” button below “Talk” or “Music”. That creates a little popup player window to listen live.
The Hospital for the Soul
For those of us who lived outside the Church for a season, in my case 25 years, or have been unable to receive Holy Communion for a time, being in church and receiving the sacraments are such precious gifts and mandates for sanity.
Seeking out healing in the life of the Church
Orthodoxy offers a very precise way in which to enter into communion with God. It is a way that must be learned, for simply “becoming Orthodox” will not lead the seeker into an inner life that will transform, and enlighten. Membership in the Church is simply not enough, for the Church is not about beautiful services, icons, or mystical theology. As a hospital for the soul, the Church is a place wherein we can receive healing for that which ails us. It is the place where we can be cured, and made whole.
Like the emergency room of a local hospital, a patient can’t simply walk in, and expect to be healed. They have to submit themselves to examination by the ER staff, who will ask them to describe what is going on, where they are hurting, run tests, and, finally, prescribe the necessary medication that will bring about healing.
Within the hospital of the soul, that is the Church, her priests act in the same capacity as the ER personnel. They interview the patient (parishioner), and examine the heart to find the sickness, and recommend the cure. The priest becomes the therapeutic guide, recommending what the patient (seeker) can do in order to be made whole.
A prayer rule, the daily reading of the Holy Scriptures, frequent confession and reception of the Holy Mysteries, are all part of the Church’s medicine that will bring about the cure. Just as the doctor will prescribe the proper dosage, after getting to know his patient, so too, does the priest prescribe that which will help his spiritual son or daughter.
The spiritual life is something that needs to be learned, perhaps more so now, than at any time in the history of our world. As godlessness increases, so do the obstacles to spiritual progress. The degradation of the whole of our society, and the depths of depravity that have become a normal part of our age, have made this a dangerous time. Go it alone spirituality can leave one vulnerable to spiritual delusion. We all need a trusted and experienced guide who can help us avoid the pitfalls of the pride and self-will that would lead us down to perdition.
Love in Christ,