Thank you Father Michael and Abba Seraphim - Printable Version
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Thank you Father Michael and Abba Seraphim - Mark Fletcher - 17-02-2007
God is good. Today I received wise, kind and gracious letters from Father Michael and His Grace Abba Seraphim. I would like to thank them both from the heart for these responses which are so encouraging to me.
Although it would be inappropriate to quote from Father Michael's epistle, I hope that His Grace will not mind me sharing the following words with members of the Fellowship, in the hope that they may help others too.
Quote:I am glad you feel called to become Orthodox and I believe and hope that it will meet your spiritual needs and bring you to a closer relationship with God. Father Michael Robson is a wise counsellor and you will gain much if you place yourself in his care, whilst the two subdeacons at Chatham, Peter Farrington & Dr. Michael Kennedy, will also give sound advice, so - although the community there is, as yet, quite small - it offers much. By making this request you have embarked on the first step of a pilgrimage which will continue for the rest of your life and I pray that you will receive many blessings. We know, however, that Satan will seek, through snares and delusions, to turn you away from the right path and I pray that God's grace will strengthen and support you throughout.
In his poem 'A Young Man's Exhortation', Thomas Hardy writes:
Quote:If I have seen one thing
I sense from the two letters I received today, that the two writers have realised the Kingship of Christ in their own lives. I feel truly grateful to them for their kindness to me. Thomas Hardy may not have found Christ the King for himself (I do not know) but I am certain that British Orthodox Church clergy most certainly have.
Spiritual Leadership - John Charmley - 18-02-2007
Thank you for sharing this with us.
We are blessed in the BOC; we may be small, but our spiritual leaders are of great stature, and we are guided by Him, through them.
Abba Seraphim's words about the Evil One are so right. You will be assailed again by him, and you will need to be vigilant in prayer. For myself, I have found the Jesus Prayer a great aid and comfort - and having adopted the practice of crossing myself before I pray every morning and evening, I have found that a great protection. To some it may sound silly, but it isn't; in this battle you need the best armour and the fewest chinks possible.
Even so, you will stumble as we all do; that, as Abba Seraphim says, is exactly the moment at which to remember that you can repent and try again; the temptation from the Evil One is to despair as say - oh well, I may as well jack it all in!' That's the point at which the Adversary lets out a cheer. So call upon the Risen Lord to forgive you and to strengthen you in all goodness - then get back in the ring and try to make it through to the next round!
I am sure that many of us are praying for you and for Marian.
Thanks - Mark Fletcher - 18-02-2007
Thank you so much for your wise words, encouraging thoughts and prayers. The 'Sign of the Cross' is sometimes referred to as a 'Sign of Power'. As long as it is made with faith, belief and right intention, then I think it must have great potency and effect, whether one realises it fully or not. The Bible makes it quite clear that there are 'spiritual nasties' we must avoid. I suppose the most potent of these spiritual nasties actually pretend to be angels of Light and messengers of some new truth or revelation for mankind. There must have been (and are) countless false Messiahs of one kind or another that people "fall for" through ignorance and foolishness. Thanks again.
Signs - John Charmley - 18-02-2007
Indeed it is so.
For me, one of the greatest things it knowing that being within the BOC means knowing that I am being guided aright according to the Holy Tradition of the Church.
Today, for various reasons, going out to Babingley was not possible, so, instead I went to my own University, where there is a Coptic Service at 9.30. I emerged 3 and a half hours later feeling that I had been in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Although parts of the service were in Coptic and Arabic, it didn't matter; a nice young man next to me helped me find my place when I was lost, and I was made so welcome. Fr. Makar, the Coptic priest is yet another of transparent goodness and holiness, and to be in his presence is to feel blessed. As at Babingley, I just came out feeling spiritually nourished and refreshed.
Perhaps it is just the zeal of the new convert (although since I am not a great one for zeal, I doubt it) but there is something very special about the Coptic Church, as about the BOC, and the synergy between the two seems to generate a very good 'energy'.
May you be guided aright, and in His time come safely to harbour.