I post this with permission from Lazarus of Hyacinth at the Oasis Blog (http://lazarus-oasis.blogspot.com/).
He is very insightful and I appreciate the manna God provides through him.
The three main characteristics of the illness that has entered the human soul:
1. Ignorance. Cut off from the Uncreated Light. Existence in darkness and delusion. Inability to rise to contemplation and communion. Existential alienation, no personal relationship with God. Things of God seem foolishness, even a torment. Movement of Grace resisted.
2. Forgetfulness. No remembrance of God, no remembrance of contemplation, prayer, or communion. The soul is not directed towards the Divine and the spiritual life, but only towards the things of this world. For these, God exists as intellectual “idea” only, there is no existential experience of God and there may even be outright denial.
3. No desire to remain in a constant state of prayer. The “normal” state of man, as intended by God, is to be in a state of unceasing prayer, a state of contemplation and communion. True theology (theosis) comes from unceasing prayer, from the practice of the spiritual life and virtues, which, finally, results in existential encounter, and not from philosophical and metaphysical ideas.
When we speak to others about the spiritual life, it is necessary that some degree of Grace precede us in order to prepare the ground. This is why it is said to not give what is holy to the dogs, or to cast pearls before swine. There are some who will simply not receive the Gospel.
Unless God has given us the ability (as He often does with the Saints and Elders) to see into hearts, we cannot know for certain how prepared that ground is. In a personal situation with someone, we are wise to proceed, then, with a certain compassion and delicateness, and not just hit someone right over the head with a bat, expecting a real “come to Jesus” moment will happen immediately. Arm twisting is not the Christian way, and we cannot know but that someone must first go through certain things on their path to Grace. It may be that the seed we plant today will only sprout and grow in time, perhaps watered by another. The proper approach is to pray ahead of time that your message will be well received, and then to keep on praying! Then, doing all that we should have done, and in a proper manner, we leave the ultimate outcome in the hands of the Holy Spirit.
On the other hand, those who express a genuine desire to listen, who may even eagerly seek our help, are likely already benefiting from a certain amount of Grace. Again, prayer is our best chance for success, for we can only strive to be humble vehicles, and are certainly not ourselves the source of Grace. Everything must be done with compassion and love.
Posted by Lazarus of the Hyacinth at 10/05/2010 01:16:00 PM