In the Orthodox Church

Scheduling our lives

Father Teofil Părăian, who is no longer among us, has left us a spiritual schedule, which he recommends for Christians:

1.      Going to church on Sundays and Celebrations

“I cannot conceive a Christian not going to church, particularly and Orthodox Christian not going to church on Sundays and Celebrations, especially to attend the Holy Liturgy on Sundays. Two hours for God, if I believe in Him, isn’t too much. And if you can’t find two hours for God once a week, it means you don’t have a God. Don’t consider yourself a Christian anymore, because you aren’t.

2.      Praying in the morning, in the evening and at meal time

“If somebody can start and end a day without God, then they don’t realise their relation with God. If you believe in God, then you should know that He cannot be neglected. If you neglect Him, you don’t have Him.”

3.      Read two chapters of the New Testament everyday

“For your mind to be filled with good thoughts, because the mind is said (by the holy fathers) to be like a mill and it grinds what you give it. Therefore, if you give it good thoughts, it grinds good thoughts, but if you give it bad thoughts, it will grind bad thoughts. In order to multiply your positive thoughts, it’s necessary to have a positive thoughts fountainhead, for Our Lord Jesus Christ says: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Mt. 12, 34) or For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts (Mt. 15, 19). So, the mean thoughts come first. But the positive thoughts have to be placed in our minds and we can find them in the New Testament, in the Bible, in the Services the Church performs, in the spiritual books such as the Philokalia, the Sayings of the Desert Fathers or others like The Unseen War, The guarding of the five senses.

4.      Keeping your mind away from bad thoughts by praying without ceasing

“The mind is guarded by praying without ceasing, by repeating the prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!”. You can say other prayers as well: “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us and on Your world!”; “Glory to You, O Lord, glory to You”; “Great are You, O Lord, and wondrous are Your works, and no word will suffice to hymn Your wonders.”; “My hope is the Father, my refuge is the Son, my protection is the Holy Spirit: 0 Holy Trinity, glory to Thee.”; “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Who hast set thy glory above the heavens.”(Ps. 8, 1); “Lord, make your belief stronger!”. We could formulate our own prayers to repeat, the important thing is to have our mind busy praying, so that the thought that aren’t suitable with the prayer disappear, the bad thoughts, for everything a man does starts first with the thought, therefore, multiplying the good thoughts will lead to nice talking and good behaviour. If we discipline our mind, we discipline our life.

5. Fast in the fasting days

In the Orthodox Church everything is equal. Fasting is compulsory, but not everybody can fast and those who can’t must know this a duty they aren’t accomplishing and they have to find other ways to compensate. Fasting is more than a diet, but it’s based on an alimentary diet. You cannot fast without fasting food. Of course fasting means restraining yourself from delights, especially the ones which do not go together with what we know God wants from us. But mainly, it’s about our everyday food. Fasting helps us discipline our bodies, restraining our fornication wills, calming physical energy and, at the same time, to get in a Church discipline. He who fasts may hope he will do other good works, but he who doesn’t fast, is very unlikely to be able to accomplish other Church commands.

The recommendations of father Arsenie Boca:

Along with this schedule, which is the base of a Christian’s life, father Teofil has added other five recommendations, made by father Arsenie Boca:

  1. Oxygen – living in the cleanest air possible
  2. Glycogen – having a balanced diet, not too much food, not too little
  3. Sleep – father Arsenie recommended at least 6 hours of continuous sleep daily
  4. Saving your hormones – don’t make a waste of sexual energy, abuse can tear
  5. Having a Christian life belief – which means not bothering about other life beliefs (yoga, zen etc.)
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