Saturday, May 23, 2015

{Fr. Roman Braga} ~ on "spirituality"

"And now, a few words on "spirituality", which you have repeatedly asked about. I live Orthodox spirituality through the liturgical cycles. I strongly believe that the Holy Spirit is in the Church. When I told you about the monks of Cemica and Condritsa, I was speaking about some great unknown men. There were among them great spiritual monastics whom no one knew about. I do not think "elders" are some "gurus" to whom people go to see them performing miracles or hanging on pillars or living as animals in the clefts of rocks. I think that true spiritual elders live in the discipline of the Church, in obedience and humility. The Spirit of God is in monasteries and in churches, together with the monks and priests incorporated in the monastic and liturgical life, not in isolated individuals. Monks are tempered like steel in humility and obedience. I know that there are people looking at them like wonder workers, anxious to see something miraculous, and they classify them as good or bad by how they "perform". There was a woman in Iasi who once came to Father Bartolomeu Dothan and asked me if he was a saint. I told her, "I do not know, madam." She replied, "The world says so." And I said, "It might be." And she said, "If he is a saint, why does he not perform some miracles?" She came to such a humble man to see miracles! I am not comfortable with this idea about the spiritual man. Spiritual men are not some spiritual elite, detached from the regular life of the Church. When we mention them, we say "St. Seraphim of Sarov". Sarov was a monastery. We speak of a man incorporated in a discipline. The same thing with our Romanian saints like "St. Chiriac of Taslau". Taslau is a monastery with a fixed discipline. "Iosif of Bisericani", another monastery, "Onofrei of Sihastria", "Paisie of Neamts", "Daniel the Hermit of Voronets", "Ghelasie of Rametsi"... all these are remembered by their monasteries which had a fixed discipline and rules; these men were incorporated into this discipline. The Spirit is there where the monastery is, where the Church is. Their spiritual exploits are obedience and community discipline."

~Fr. Roman Braga, 

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