Let Us Shrug Off A Dead Religiosity
According to Professor Mark Silk of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., “The real dirty little secret of religiosity in America is that there are so many people for whom spiritual interest, thinking about ultimate questions, is minimal,”
Increasing numbers of people are concerned only with new cars, mortgages, entertainment, or their favorite rock band or football team. They are totally unconcerned about spiritual matters. Even those who were raised in a church, and who regularly participated in the life of their church, shrug off their obligations to God, preferring as they do to sleeping in on Sundays, or spending their leisure time in the pursuit of social engagements, or sporting events. Such people even begin to question their faith, having withdrawn themselves from the abounding grace that had previously sustained them. They begin to question if the Church is relevant to them, or even if God really exists.
Having become their own gods, these people have surrendered to a secular world view, where self-fulfillment is everything and where pride rules supreme. Saint John Climacus even tells us that such pride has “already pitched its tent; because a fall is an indication of pride.
“Having become minimalists in the area of religion, such people slowly sink in the quagmire of secularism, and the ultimate atheism that follows. Surrendered to the hazardous behavior of absenting from the grace filled Mysteries of Christ’s Church, they sink into the mud of a life devoid of meaning, surrendering themselves to material pursuits. Ultimately they find that life hasn’t been very fulfilling, and they wonder why.
In the ongoing pursuit of material and carnal pleasures, they spend countless hours in health clubs, toning their bodies in an attempt to stave off the aging process, while seeing no need to prioritizing the very pursuits that have eternal value. Finding themselves asking the question, “is that all there is”, is it any wonder shrugging off religion has led to an empty feeling within, an inner nothingness?
When I was a young man I was a long distance runner, and a weight lifter. As an old man, after arthritis had set in, I decided to resume weight lifting and hiking. I was surprised at how quickly my muscle tone returned, and remembered the truism that muscles have memory.
The soul is like that. Just as muscles rebuild themselves when we make the effort to exercise, so too the soul is quickly restored to health when we avail ourselves to the healing grace that abounds within the Church.
Given all this, why not make a resolution to commit ourselves to a reformation of our life? Let us commit ourselves to regular church attendance, to keeping the fast periods, and reading spiritually uplifting works of holy elders. Let us commit to praying more.
We should not worry that we’ve not been attentive to our spiritual life in the past year, but with zeal and commitment bring about a spiritual revival within our hearts. Let us make this year one of spiritual empowerment, knowing that with God’s help, and the support of our Christian friends and family, this will be the best year yet. Let us shrug off a dead religiosity that has given us nothing, and embrace Christ, Who will give us everything.
With love in Christ,
About the author
Fr. Tryphon is the Abbot of the Monastery of the All-Merciful Saviour, which was established in 1986 by Archimandrite Dimitry (Egoroff) of blessed memory. The Monastery is under the omophore of His Eminence Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.