I received a bit of advice from a priest, who is somewhat strict and conservative, and had, in the past, suffered greatly for his ways with little support from his bishop (in fact, his bishop wasn’t at all pleased, nor impressed, with his traditional stance). As he was doing quite fine in his new parish I wondered what the secret to his new success was. He revealed it to me one day when he simply said, “Don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed.”
These words of caution don’t imply solely to a priest-parishioner situation but can be useful to us all in our spiritual lives.
I was asked to direct my readers to the Mystagogy blog where a plug for a new book by Fr. Alexis Trader, Behind Ancient Christian Wisdom and Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy: A Meeting of Minds, was posted a few days ago (here) and continues today on Fr. Jonathan’s Second Terrace blog (here) and will continue per the following schedule:
Post #3 – March 28th: http://voxstefani.wordpress.com/
Post #4 – March 31st: http://www.bombaxo.com/blog/
I read a little from Fr. Trader’s book (chapter nine is available in PDF on orthodoxinfo.com – click on image for access) and found a technique suggested by the Saints in avoiding situations when we would normally get angry which was similar to my priest friend’s from above. Namely, Fr. Trader writes:
“… Saint John Cassian suggests that those who find themselves becoming impatient or angry should practice imagining that they are hindered, wronged or injured, but respond as the saints would—with perfect humility and gentleness of heart. Saint Nicodemos the Hagiorite likewise recommends that believers prepare themselves before going somewhere or coming into contact with irritating and exasperating people by imagining that others curse them and dishonor them, but that they weather it all with thanksgiving and peace of mind. Saint Theophan the Recluse expands this method to include all the conceivable encounters and imaginable feelings, desires, and reactions that a person might experience. He suggests reflecting on potential attacks at the beginning of the day and mentally planning how to react in a way that is in keeping with the commandments of Christ…”
Check out the links and order the book or suggest it to a friend or library.