Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The much anticipated provocative post...

Well...perhaps not...but at least I could begin with what I consider to be the most fundamental question of life: What is man for? As an Orthodox Christian, I have a venerable tradition to draw from, which provides context and content to life...but many of the answers that one can find (in patristic writings, liturgical texts, hagiography, and so on) offer answers that require a certain amount of interpretation. Of course, one could answer that man is made to be united to God...and this is, of course, ultimately true.
But how does this work? Most specifically, what does this mean for me as a Christian living in the world? Am I to attend solely to myself (as if this were even possible) and not worry about others? Of course, one might answer, yes, in fact, this is exactly what we are called to...look at how most of the Saints separated themselves for years, so as to acquire the grace of God and thereby be able to provide other people with a vision of a life transfigured...a life truly "in Christ." And in one respect, this is true.
At the same time, for better or for worse, I spend most of my life doing other things...mostly neutral perhaps, sometimes more virtuous, sometimes less so. Although the virtuous and the sinful things I do have the greatest effect on me spiritually (or so one would think), they tend to take up the least amount of time...sadly, I have not yet been granted unceasing prayer. Most of my time is spent with the neutral aspects of my life: sleeping, eating, working, recreation, and so on. Certainly all of these neutral things may be done to the glory of God, but are they? And how to make sure that they continue to be glorifying?
Finally (for now, this post has rambled on long enough), what is the hierarchy of values that inform one's life (and thereby provide some kind of criteria for evaluating the answer to the original question regarding the purpose of man's life on earth)? Certainly, belief in and a life dedicated to Christ and His Church inform all other things. What is second, though? My guess is that for one called to monastic life, it is his/her monastic vocation...and for one called to marriage, it is his/her vocation as a husband/wife/father/mother. Third? This is probably where most of the dialogue belongs...is my own salvation third in the hierarchy of values? Is the salvation of my brother/sister completely tied to my own salvation? Would this place his/her salvation on the same level as my own as regards my personal responsibility and the hierarchy of values? Christ's words and the patristic tradition would seem to support this..."My brother is my life" as Saint Silouan says. If this is the case, what does this mean for me? for how I order my life? for the decisions I make? for the way I spend my time?

2 Comments:

Anonymous Bonaparte said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:59 PM EDT  
Anonymous Jaki? said...

Ummm, I accidently hit "next blog" when I was on my friends site, and here I am. You have no profile, you have no location, you have no background, hobbies, nothing listed.... You are only the words that you write... and ... that is strange. On God... I think that we are created to bring God glory. How is that... well, yeah.. some saints hid away and spent their time with God. Jesus spent time with God, He also spent alot of time with God's people. With heaps of people. He surrounded himself with losers and loners. We met His glory admist the tired and the lost. We are to be dedicated to His Chruch. That is.. His people... I don't think that your brother and sisters salvation depends on you. I think that God does that saving... I think that Your job is to love them, and bring Glory to God by using the amaziing gifts that He has given you, and thinking of Him in all those normal things that you do in life. ... ok... I could go on... But... I feel like I am preaching to someone I don't know... and I am I guess... but I really didn't beed to preach. I too am trying to love God more, and living with my entire family that will not hear about Christ, my prayer is that in me they may see Him, but then I feel that I mess that up all the time as well... anyways... as I babble... keep blogging.. I liked your entry.. I will check you out agian.. when I have time.

12:19 AM EDT  

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