Question: What is the meaning of prayer? I keep asking the Lord for something, but nothing happens. I pray and pray, nothing changes. Am I doing something wrong? Perhaps, what I am asking for is not pleasing to God? I am asking for a sick man to be healed, but he is not feeling any better, no matter how much I pray.
Answer: In the Gospel there is a parable of the annoying widow and the unjust judge. It is about a poor widow who kept coming to a judge asking him to protect her from her opponent and grant her justice. For a long time the judge refused to meet with her and satisfy her request, but eventually he said to himself, “She will not leave me alone until I do what she says, so I will grant her justice”. It is easy to see why this judge, who had neither fear of God nor respect for anyone, did not want to respond to the poor widow’s requests. Obviously, she had nothing to pay him with or perhaps what she had wasn’t enough. Why did he finally respond? Because she kept bothering him and eventually he would rather get rid of her than have her following him around.
— Geronda, how do spiritual laws work?
— I’ll explain: just as there are physical laws in nature, there are also laws in spiritual life. For example, the higher you throw some heavy object, the harder it will fall down and break. This is a physical law.
In spiritual life, the higher someone exalts in his pride, the worse his spiritual fall will be. The degree of “personal injury” in this case will depend on the extent of personal pride. Thus, a proud man rises, reaches a certain limit and then falls and breaks his face. “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12). This is a spiritual law.
There is however a significant difference between physical and spiritual laws. Physical laws are relentless and cannot be changed, while spiritual laws come from the All-Merciful God and therefore they can be altered by His mercy. That is to say, if a person immediately notices himself becoming proud and says, “God, nothing that I have is truly mine, but I am proud, forgive me!” he is spared from damage, because his fall is preceded by contrition of heart and repentance.
Self-Absorption, the Cancer of the Soul (by
Archimandrite Iakovos Kanakis)
Self-absorption is a cancer in the soul and has been so from the time of the first human beings until today. It can be defined simply as love for yourself. ‘Is that bad?’, it might be asked. The problem is that you love your ‘old’ self.
How do I know if I’m self-absorbed?
According to Saint Païsios, gluttony, egotism, stubbornness and jealousy all have self-absorption as their starting-point. More simply: ‘…out of self-absorption, some people seek their own comfort, their ease, and they don’t care about others. Some are very particular about their food or their sleep in case their health suffers. Others demand to be take seriously and if they don’t get just the right amount of recognition fall into dejection, reacting badly and protesting’.
How do people become self-absorbed?
It starts from a very young age. Customs, events even celebrations are at the bottom of the cultivation of self-love. The day a person was born is given a special place, rathe