What I am about to say may seem counter intuitive, but to become spiritually healthy really means that we must first acknowledge that we are spiritually unhealthy. Is it not what we say every week in the communion prayers, “the greatest of sinners, of whom I am the first?” St. John Maximovitch points it out well when he says “The power of God is effective when a person asks for the help from God, acknowledging his own weakness and sinfulness. This is why humility and striving towards God are the fundamental virtues of a Christian.” If we want to become spiritually healthy we need to be consuming proper spiritual food, that is feeding our hearts and minds with truths about who we really are and what the spiritual battle is really about. St. Joseph the Hesychast says “In order for one to realize his weak nature, he must encounter many great temptations. And then, through many trials he is humbled and learns true humility. But it takes time. Humility is the truth.”
These are not popular thoughts in today’s society, but then again today’s society is not the epitome of spiritual health. Perhaps society does point out our ‘sins’ which are true enough, but it’s prescription is less than redemptive and healing. For sexual sins and addictions, it says ‘don’t be repressive’, ‘express yourself, this is who you are.’ For social inequities, we are offered Government imposed solutions. For unwanted pregnancy we are offered abortions. We are told to express our outrage and anger, not “love one another, and lay or lives down for one another”.
The Orthodox way is a life of asceticism and repentance. We are redeemed through the Body and Blood of Christ, in His Church, the hospital of the soul. The cure for “Fallen Human Nature”, isn’t always so obvious, it takes great spiritual wisdom, not to make the situation worse.
There is no Utopia on Earth, there is only pain sorrow and suffering. The Bible tells us the Kingdom of God is within you. Paul writes in Romans 13:8-ff. 8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”[a] and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
The Day Is Near
11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Do not wait for this world to heal itself, it has lost its balance. The Church is vilified and reduced to one corrupt institution among many, but if we throw out the Church, we throw out the baby with the bath water, that is Christ. Yes we are fallen, and capable of horrible things, but getting rid of the hospital doesn’t heal the patient. We must find the “Pearl of Great Price” and sell all that we have to buy it. Christ is the Pearl of Great Price, and ‘life’ is found in Him.