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Please Pray For Me - Mark Fletcher - 04-03-2007 09:03 PM

Having attended Divine Liturgy today, and feeling "buoyed up" by the encouragement of others, I have decided that I will spend my time from now until Pentecost (which is 27 May 2007) trying to gain a true spirit of repentance, in particular for my homosexual activities and tendencies. Should God grant me Grace to do His Will, I will petition Father Michael Robson and Abba Seraphim to accept me as a Catechumen by letter at Pentecost 2007. This appears to me to be the earliest decent time to do this.

I feel that this is what the Holy Spirit wants me to do. Please pray for me. Your kind thoughts, good wishes and prayers would be most welcome as I ask for Grace in coming to terms with this aspect of my life.


Prayers - John Charmley - 04-03-2007 09:24 PM

Dear Mark,

You remain in my prayers.

Please rest assured that we all struggle with sin; homosexual tendencies are no different from adulterous ones in the eyes of the Church. The difference, I suspect, is in the eyes of this society. Because it has become the tendency to identify a 'gay community', this has led to people defining themselves by their sexuality - but surely there is so much more to people that that?

Sin comes with our inheritance of the consequences of Adam's fall, and if we were not sinful we would not need to be saved; it is not the tendency to sin that marks out Christians, it is what I see in your posts - the desire to repent and make an amendment of life.

The question for you, dear Mark, is where and how that can be done best? Here, the Church has a role. Through prayer, through trying to walk in His way, and through the help of your fellow Christians, you can gain the help you need to live the way you know you want to live. That you repent is a great first step.

But please, do not think that if you fall back, that is it; it happens. The more you turn to Christ the more Satan will try to tempt you, and I would be amazed if you get through the next few months without being tempted; and I know from experience that Satan relies upon the despair at failure to pull you back into his orbit.

Pray, follow a routine with Our Daily Life so that you integrate your daily life with God; keep reading; and keep in touch with the Church and your friends here.

I am sure that many of us are praying for you - and admiring of your determination and courage in doing what you are.

Christ died and rose for you - and He knows you are a sinner - but He loves you that much; as my youngest step-daughter might say - 'how cool is that?'

In Christ,

John


Many thanks - Mark Fletcher - 05-03-2007 07:48 AM

Many thanks for your sensitive and caring posting, John, and for its suggestions. There is in fact no such thing as "the gay community", only a collection of selfish individuals in varying degrees of moral degradation who are being called to repentance, just like the "heterosexual community". As His Holiness Pope Shenouda III points out, such unpenitent people (of all kinds) do not really deserve "the human right" to belong to truly Christian churches as members. Their only "human right" in the eyes of God and the Church is to be led to repentance by others like yourself and the other "saints" ("called-out ones") who (whatever their faults and weaknesses) repent and "call out" to others to do the same. This call is universal and does not discriminate between people, as you so eloquently state above. May God lead me to Repentance and Salvation in the most precious name of Jesus Christ. Thanks again.


Prayer - John Charmley - 05-03-2007 08:29 AM

Dear Mark,

Your whole series of posts shows how strong is your repentance, and that is the first great step towards spiritual health. Unless we stand penitent before God and ask for forgiveness, we cannot begin the long journey.

We know from the parable of the Prodigal Son that if we do repent and go to meet Him, He will come to meet us, and He will forgive us; but the Prodigal had to realise his sin through suffering and had to decide to go back to his Father's house; so it is with us.

There are times when the memory of some of my sins brings tears of sorrow to my eyes, and for a long time I thought that they had separated me from Him; but thanks to His Church and His love, I came to see that they were only a barrier if my pride and Satan's will kept them as such; He called me to repentance in His love; what I had to do was to admit my sins and to amend my life - which meant admitting that without Him and His Church I could do nothing. It was not that I did not have the will to amend my life - I lacked the tools with which to do it.

I stand perpetually in awe of His love for me and for mankind. Then I think of what I would do to help my own children, and I realise it is the earthly echo of His love; pale and weak as it is, compared to His Divine love, it is, nonetheless, of the same ilk. How, as His child, can I not at least try to follow His way, when I know that if I do, it is for my own good?

May you come to Him Mark as He wills, and may your friends here be a permanent source of love and support for you as you live the Christian life.

Bless you,

In Christ,

John


Thank you - Mark Fletcher - 05-03-2007 10:38 AM

Thank you again for a most helpful posting which moved me. After praying about this subject today, I realised the following. Please advise me if I have "got this wrong" in any way.

In repentance, all God is asking for is a little willingness. He is not asking us, of course, to become perfect under our own self-effort or through some heroic act of will. All He needs, all He requires, is a little willingness. He asks us to open (as it were) a chink in the armour which is the sinfulness of our Adamic nature through which He can insinuate the Holy Spirit, like a Fiery Arrow of His Love.

He is not asking us to perform miracles, but to open ourselves to His Grace.

Grant me a little willingness out of the Treasury of Your Grace, and do not abandon me when the secrets of all hearts are disclosed, O Holy God.

Thanks again for your superb posting.


Repentance - John Charmley - 05-03-2007 11:01 AM

Dear Mark,

You are quite right. We cannot become perfect through any act of our will, we can only determine to stand before Him in humility and apologise and promise to try to do better - and to ask His help in that. It is, I think, sinful pride to imagine we can do anything ourselves in this line - except repent and try, with His help, to do better in future.

What matters is that one places one's trust in Him, and that one strives in His holy name. If we try any other route we shall surely fail, for He is the way, the truth and the light, and without Him we fail.

Pray for me, a sinner. If any of us thinks he is without sin, he deceives only himself. Remember what He says in Mark 2:17:
Quote:17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.

You are right, what matters is that you repent in His name, and work to amendment of life in the same.

In Christ,

John