Friday, June 17, 2022

Questions and Answers 198 - 203

Question 198: I noticed while I was recently in Greece that many monasteries and churches are difficult to reach, often requiring hikes up hills and mountains and climbing many stairs. Is there a reason for this?

Answer: "Monasteries are built on high ground, for people to climb upward," according to the words of a contemporary Elder. In other words, effort and toil are required for our own spiritual ascent as we strive to live a life pleasing to God, and for this effort we are rewarded with spiritual fruit, namely divine grace. The Christian (and even more so the monastic) way of life is not a casual stroll; it is a laborious ascent.

There are also historical and practical reasons for this. The higher and more secluded a monastery is, the more monastics can focus on their goal of living their lives completely dependent on God's will. Visitors are therefore minimized to those who truly want to go for the right purpose. Furthermore, the locations historically often offer natural safety and protection during war and pirate raids.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Questions and Answers 191 - 197

Question 191: How do I know I am reading the Bible, the Holy Fathers and the Lives of the Saints the correct Orthodox way?

Answer: If you are often wiping your eyes from the tears streaming down your face and your heart is moved with joy while reading, that is a sign you are on the right path.

Question 192: What do I say if a Muslim says to me that we both believe in the same God?

Answer: Just tell the Muslim how wonderful it is that they believe Jesus Christ is God, because Islam typically does not acknowledge the divinity of Christ.

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