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Dan Bădulescu - What do you think would be the most viable approach to church life at present? - Prayer. - Is that all? - You said what would be most viable, because there are more than one, for sure: prayer, confession... - Compared to today's problems, because prayer is always, and must not miss. - And lent, and prayer, of course... - Do you think there is any problem in our confessing attitude? - I connect to this what did the father Arsenie Muscalu say at an ASCOR2 conference:
Fr. Dan Bădulescu and fr. Arsenie Muscalu
The Conference of the Orthodox Laymen Associations from Romania The Association of Orthodox Christian Students from Romania
2 We must fill ourselves with the Holy Spirit, because if we should not do it, even if we know all the conspiracies, then you're going to lapse, in spite the knowledge. But the grace enables you to go all the way and even gives you what to say, as He said: "Do not worry about what you speak and what you do...». When the time comes, then you'll go ahead and say what you have to say. So, acquiring grace of the Holy Spirit is in all ages, it is universally valid. And once we have acquired some knowledge of a particular case, it must also be confessed; everyone must step forward and to confess to his level. The monks have their testimony, we - priests, laity make each of us the confession with the support of the Holy Spirit. - Acquisition of the Holy Spirit requires emptying ourselves. How do you see in today's intellectuals, the elite, this self-denial? - Firstly, for me, the elite of the Church are the monks, not the intellectuals, never; by definition, are monks. So, even if they have also some rots, but monasticism as such, is itself an elite. And the intellectuals can be, let’s say, an elite within the laity, as they use to say; if this would be elite. But it can be also artists, and people less gifted intellectual. The Christian elite is the most fervent; is the most spiritual people. The monks have to be spiritual people, because if they are not, then I do not understand why they have become monks. The laymen, means those from the world. We're more worldly. Our ability to be more spiritual is lower than those in the monastery. They say that is equal, but it is not so; not by far. I'm not saying we have no conditions of salvation. We are saved in the world and at home, but being a spiritual people... The great confessors are almost all monks. And so it is fair and right to be. And the intellectuals you talking about were who were saying, who are not monks, you can not ask from them the spiritual measures of the Athonite fathers or hermits. On the other hand, they can give a testimony to the city - that's what they should do - which is their job. So do not ask to someone like Hurduzeu to have the work of father Proclu3, nor me either. I do not have to be nor Hurduzeu, neither father Proclu. I have my work, or you... Each of us should work, it is symphony. Not all are violins and double-basses. There are a range of tools... - Behind the conductor, which should be the law of grace, i.e. our Lord? Behind the conductor there are also some shadows that mimic the conductor. The look of the orchestra player is sometime beyond the shade and take wrong after that one and says that he is the conductor. - The desert fathers said once what was the greatest virtue. And there was not humility, but discernment. And here is an example: St. Paul, when he was Saul of Tarsus, had no discernment. He had a great zeal, but completely blinded by it, having no discernment to see who is Christ, who persecuted him. They were killing St. Stephen, his face light, and he (Paul) said yes, yes, very good... So what does this thing show in him? What sin? Complete missing and spiritual blindness; the discernment that, instead of seeing the martyr, saw a villain, an enemy of God. So it is blatant case of lack of discernment to a great Apostle. Then, this confirms that what we have said the parents in the wilderness is higher and humility, and obedience, and everything else. So was with St. Paul. He, in the moment of discernment was enlightened and turned on. The persecutor became the Apostle to the Gentiles. But what changed him? Only discernment, because he had already the zeal of faith, he was just, but was not discerned the spirits. - Would God have given to him this gift of discernment if he was not just? - No. And an eager one, God loving, probably capable of sacrifice, he would be sacrificed himself if necessary. He had all these, plus the love and the other that he had spoken. But discernment, in my humble opinion, made from Saul to Paul. Discernment is not a human work, own; you can not be wise, only the Spirit gives discernment. And we go back to Father Arsenie. Acquiring grace, then it strengthens the discernment too, and when we swim in this sea of information... and real conductor,
A romanian hermit.
3 and those who pretend to be conductors... we begin to discern who's real conductor. For by our own human powers we are deceived, we are like Saul. - It seems to me that this effort of the Romanian intelligence it too much trying to specialize in dark glasses, to see in the dark. Here's the problem; we all suffer from different problems, different diseases, rather forgetting that we must seek remedy. We know what's the cure, we were told. As we are a unit and gives us only this remedy which is Christ. So, seeking the light, we shall understand also the works of darkness and we'll stay away from them. So, I think, how to receive this discernment, how shall we show that we want it? Trying to find a place among the different dark games, or looking at the light, being accustomed with it? - Another advice from the father Arsenie... He says that we should not give so much importance to the work of Satan. We also have a bad tendency to give them more momentum and they actually... look: Metropolitan Corneanu did this..., that one did this, that one did that... We find ourselves permanently in chatterbox of this kind that we should not give them much scope. I mean, we've seen, we've found out and then move on further. Let us not poison ourselves with them and do not necessarily give full attention to these negative aspects, which will multiply. They tend to overwhelm us. And we will not get rid of them; because tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow dies Corneanu and another one comes. No escape... Because it's not a person, but a metastasis. The Church body is attacked by a generalized cancer and we are approaching the end times and all these things will get worse; we have to be convinced that as we go into a bad state and we have to be like the Saint Siluan who says "keep your mind in hell and not despair." Because he was not remained with his mind in hell, but still to God, i.e. the eye and the anchor. My hope is the Father, the Son is my refuge, my roof is the Holy Spirit. And then, even if you're in hell with your mind and realize that things are bad - and not delude ourselves that it will recover – they, civilians, still have some hope that, being organized, can save something, especially political. I'm not that optimistic, I think things are bad injured and we do not anchor in human and organizational solutions, to save the company. I do not see this saving. - I think we need a self-denial. We know that the saints confessors from communist prisons rejected everything... - We are not at their level, because if we undergo a phenomenon Pitesti, we cannot bear this. We have a measure... are much more helpless and then we can not compare with those. And then, let us at least confess at our level of possibility. They are models, but we can not compare to them, or to father Calciu, or Justin or those ones who passed through the prisons and survived, so far and we are physically and morally - are much smaller in extent. We do not have their measures. They say that the latter ones will be greater then the former, but I do not know how to say, I see myself less in every respect and do not know if I receive the grace to endure torture as martyrs. And even so, with these steps that we made, as much as we can afford. Persecution is not as yet started as it was in their times. It is allowed a certain freedom, a degree of expression and we must seize, as Seraphim Rose said. He says something like that: "Speak now where it is still possible to speak something important", I said "it is worse than we think".
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