Friday, July 20, 2007

Notes from the first talk

Relationships with God and with each other
Fr. John Koen
My Life in Christ Conference, July 11, 2007

Our relationship with God will determine our lives and our relationship with others.

We need to be sure of our relationship with God to have healthy relationships with others.

Relationship is a tie or connection.

We exist within God; He is everywhere although we cannot know God’s essence.

Can’t get away from Him even though we try [I thought of the movie and play “Wit” and the Runaway Bunny here.]

We have to look within ourselves to find God.

God must come first in marriage.

God blesses marriage.

The image of God is a given; since the Fall, the likeness of God is not a given.

Christ has called us all together; he calls us each to seek the uncreated light.

Modern churches have lost the goal of transfiguration [substituting in its place the goal of salvation].

We are called to a state like that before the Fall.

Orthodox halos are a symbolic representation of the uncreated light [which certain saints exhibit even during their lifetime].

[Uncreated light] is real and real for us.

We are called to be like the saints.

Spirituality should be real and practical.

How do we attain that state? Through the Church, not the organization, the network of believers throughout the world. West made a mistake in separating ourselves from the saints; they were ordinary people; they are still alive and with us.

“God became man that Man might become like God.” [St. Athanasius]

For those of you who are called to be married, you will find the right person.

Put God first. Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven and all these things shall be added unto you.

Joyful martyrdom and suffering.

If you truly seek God, you will find what you need.

The keys to salvation are baptism and communion; these are the strongest interfaces of God and man; we partake in the energies of God when we partake of communion.

Saul persecuted because he thought he was following God and giving his whole heart to Him.

We have to seek God passionately and intensely; you need passion and intensity to master anything [Here I thought of Dorothy Sayers: Jobs, if you’re not taking trouble with something, it’s not your job.]

Church is full of sinners; it’s a hospital searching for the Physician.

The Church is not a social club or an organization; it is an organism.

We are all called to serve, not just priests, monks, choir leaders, etc.

With the fullness of intent and desire to follow Christ.

Trusting in God is a challenge.

No false monasticism [within marriage].

Seeking actively is good, but remember God first.

Don’t let troubles fester in your heart and become bitter.

Confess regularly.

Have a spiritual friend, someone in whom you can confide.

Some things take awhile to heal; you must be patient with it and struggle on.

[Fr. John talked about saints who are special to you so I made a list of some of mine.]
St. John Maximovitch
Grand-Duchess Elizabeth
Fr. Seraphim Rose
The Royal Martyrs
The Theotokos
St. Seraphim of Sarov
St. Ephraim of Nea Makri
St. Herman of Alaska

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