Kevin Basil (signature)

Spiritual Warfare, or Grass is Grass, Man!

Next article: Witness to the Gospel
Previous article: Talk About “Dazzled by Destroying Heresies”!

Written by Basil on 09/10/2003 6:02 PM. Filed under:

Share with your friends and followers:

This is in reply to Seraphim’s post on depression and a followup post.

With regard to the quote from Fr. Alexander of blessed memory (and James’ question), it was in the context of a private journal that we don’t really know for certain that he would have wanted published. So there are some things that can be quite edifying (and I was certainly edified), but there are many things that are simply confusing or depressing. As his son, Serge, writes in his introduction, we must remember that these are, above all, the private thoughts of a priest who is human. A saint, perhaps, but still a man.

However, we should note that true despair — that is, not simply depression, a state that we often have little control over, but the volitional choice to believe that God does not always intend the best for me regardless of the circumstance: true despair — is sinful. And absolutely relevant in any discussion of depression in the context of confession or spiritual direction by a priest.

Seraphim, I think mother is probably asking those questions to help you focus the attention of your energy on yourself and your beloved, and not on others. Just a guess. However, I think that her questions and your reflections on father’s counsel form an interesting interplay together. After all, they’ve both been drinking the same water for years, right? 😉 I think what she is getting at is that the only way to attack the spirit of discontent is to stand and fight — typical monastic wisdom. That spirit will always deceive you with advertisements for greener grass. THERE IS NO GREENER GRASS. “God is with us, through his grace and love for mankind, always, now and ever and unto ages of ages, amen.” That’s a typical concluding blessing. “Wherever you go, there you are.” That’s Buckaroo Banzai.

I think that whenever a change in locale presents itself as the answer to my problems, a red light should come on. Whether that means another job, another parish, another spiritual father, another place to live, another school… whatever. The list goes on forever, ad infinitum. Change my external circumstances, and things will be better. I’ll be happy. I’ll have more money, more time, more friends. In truth, it is myinternal orientation that is always the root problem.

I faced this very conundrum recently when I was considering whether or not to join the Navy. I finally decided that God knew what was best, and he might be willing to share this knowledge with me. So, I tentatively pursued this direction, continually asking God to close doors that should be closed, and open doors that should be opened. I believe that he did, and the rest is old hat.

Now that I’ve joined up, I am hunkering back down. Do what is necessary for today, and don’t try to look beyond the next few steps. After all, the lamp doesn’t shine much further than that anyway. Having made a major decision like that, it’s time to stick with it, until it is as clear as the writing on the Babylonian prince’s wall that something else is needed.

Now, I’m old enough to know that my experience may not hold any wisdom for you. In fact, you may not give a damn, and simply sharing may be quite intrusive, since you didn’t ask for my opinion. But I thought I would share anyway. I certainly don’t have anyway of knowing what you should do next. That’s up to you and your wife, of course, in the counsel of God and his people.

Share with your friends and followers:


The URL to trackback this post is:

5 Responses to “Spiritual Warfare, or Grass is Grass, Man!”

  1. alana Says:

    Well put! Goodness, we’ve all grown up, haven’t we?

  2. James Says:

    Yeah, very good points.

  3. JoelThomas Says:

    Excellent honesty.

  4. Luke's short neighbor Says:

    Luke alerted me to your blog site. Howdy! I can assure you that he and wifey have not chosen this new environment with the thought that a change in place would solve their problems. But it was a wise caution on your part. You are right, too, that there is something that needs wrestled with in this situation. We can pray together that He Who is the Light will enlighten. Blessings.

  5. basil Says:

    Mother, your blessing means so much! Thank you for your kind words.